Hulu’s founding CEO Jason Kilar revealed a few more details about his new mystery startup Tuesday: The company, which previously was code-named The Fremont Project, is actually called Vessel. It’s doing something in the online video space, and its backers include Benchmark, Greylock Partners and Jeff Bezos.
Kilar published a brief blog post about Vessel on the company’s site Tuesday, which promptly became unavailable soon after. The post read, in part:
“We’ve been busy building a service whose mission is to delight consumers and content creators alike. Though we still have more work to do at Vessel, we want to share this brief update and reach out to the creator community. If you are a content creator, particularly a video content creator, we should talk! We have assembled a unique and talented team, with strong experience building and innovating at places like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon. As a team, we are unusually passionate about the intersection of media and technology; we see an opportunity to improve media, particularly next generation video.”
Vessel’s team includes of a number of ex-Hulu folks, including Hulu’s former CTO Richard Tom, Hulu’s former Product VP Lonn Lee, the company’s former Head of Recruiting Megan Healey and its former SVP of Advertising Jean-Paul Colaco. So it would make a lot of sense for Vessel to do something in the video space as well, right?
In theory, yes. However, there have been a number of reports that Kilar was actually trying to build something else — a subscription platform for premium publishing content — kind of like a Hulu Plus for magazine articles, if you will. Word on the street is now that the company had to change course because publishers weren’t to keen on handing Kilar their crown jewels.
So what will Vessel do? Kilar isn’t talking yet, but here’s one clue: I’ve heard that while still at Hulu, Kilar started to think about how to take the Buzzfeed model of pop-culture-infused and social-sharing-optimized content and adopt it for video and the living room. It’s unclear how exactly this would look like, as Buzzfeed is obviously already producing its own videos, and there is of course a chance that Vessel is about something else entirely.
According to Kilar’s post, we’re going to know more before the end of the year.
This post was updated at 3:20pm to correct the spelling of Lonn Lee’s name.