New Y Combinator Video Startups: Zencoder, Embedster, NowMov, Embedly

OK, so let’s just get this one thing out of the way. There are startups named both “Embedster” and “Embedly” in the current batch of Y Combinator companies, which gave demos this week for investors and press after participating in the Mountain View, Calif.-based startup incubator program for the last three months.

Embarrassingly similar names aside, here are quick blurbs on the four video-related companies out of 26 that presented, both Embedster and Embedly among them.

Zencoder: This startup pitches itself as Amazon Web Services for video, with cloud-based on-demand transcoding. Like competitors such as, Zencoder actually uses AWS to power its service. Customers include Posterous and On2, which before it was bought by Google used Zencoder to build a cloud-based encoding service, Flix Cloud. The companies maintain a tight relationship. Zencoder is launching this week and currently seeking funding. Zencoder thinks video transcoding is a $500 million market, but eventually also plans to tackle powering video delivery and advertising.

Embedster: This startup, which has already raised a “small angel round,” promises to monetize any embedded video or link to a video on a site. So if you’re someone like Perez Hilton, who drives an enormous amount of traffic to videos embedded on his blog, you could derive some value from generating all those views. Embedster will add a pre-roll to any videos on your page with a line of JavaScript. The problem is, Embedster users aren’t getting a cut of revenue from the content creator or the content host — this is additional advertising layered on separately — so I can imagine hosts like YouTube and their partners might get a little testy. It’s a tricky issue (remember the Dutch music publishers instituting an “embed tax” last year).

Nowmov: This company is trying to create an “easy lean-back TV experience” by using real-time data about what people are sharing to create a video playlist (kind of in the vein of ffwd’s Twitmatic). Given the iPad’s about to be released, Nowmov could have pretty good timing, but I’m not quite sure there’s much there yet. Core this company’s pitch is the fact that two of its founders were former Apple engineers on iTunes and H.264 projects.

Embedly: This company is a search engine for embed codes — so if you search for “Will Ferrell” you see all his videos available on sites across the web — which sounds terribly useful for a person like Liz Shannon Miller, but I’m not sure exactly who else. “We feel that embeds are the future, and we can embed anything,” was the pitch.

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