This NYC Startup Just Launched a Shazam-esque Product for Movies



It has happened to all of us. You’re at the movies and a great trailer comes on…but you missed its title. At this point you don’t want to disturb the people sitting next to you, and you want to text your friend to check out the trailer for himself. The solution? MOVIEQU. With trailer recognition software you can identify the movie’s release date and all sorts of shareable information to whomever you want. Already partnered with MovieTickets.com, MovieQU is looking to broaden their horizons and provide the ultimate movie watching resource.

CEO Rakesh Nigam lets AlleyWatch in on the app that all movie go-ers alike should be falling in love with, as well as their plans for the future.

Tell us about the product or service.

We are a mobile app that allows you to recognize a movie-trailer (for an upcoming release) using sound. One tap recognizes the trailer, adds the release date to your calendar and allows you to connect socially.  You can search for movies and add them to your QU too. Further, we’ve created a social connection that allows you to see what your friends have in their QUs and go watch those movies together. We’ve built it on iOS to start. Like many mobile first products, we needed to choose, and we chose iOS but the Android version is coming right behind.

How is it different? 

The sound recognition is fast, accurate and innovative. But more importantly, it allows us to connect with people whilst they are actually in the theater watching the trailers. That gives us an advantage over any other ‘trailer-tracker’ options. It allows you to remember the trailers at the precise moment when you see them, at the theater, or at home. By the time you have watched the trailers, the movie (you are there to see) and left the auditorium, the majority of the audience cannot remember the trailers they liked, let alone the release dates. MOVIEQU solves that problem. I’ve always felt it was critical that you captured that intent at the time it happens. Trying to do it afterwards introduces the opportunity for distraction and forgetfulness.

What market are you attacking and how big is it?

We are starting with the theater-going audience – which in 2014, was 229 million people in the US and Canada alone (68% of the total population). There are different sets of demographics in that number, and we have done analysis to know the largest groups that make up the frequent movie-going group. Soon, we can extend that to the home entertainment audience too given the number of options that now exist for watching movies at home. Being able to feed people their QU based on the trailers they’ve watched and tagged will be an advantage.

What is the business model?

We have to operate in both B2C and B2B spaces. Provide a quality experience for the consumer to make them want to use our app and come back to it. The business end is our back-end infrastructure collecting a big data set on a number of levels (the most basic of which is the demographics interested in a movie). That is powerful. We want to be able to assist the marketing such that we can positively affect the theatrical marketing campaign mid-flight (if needed). If you consider when you last went to the movies; you will have liked one or two trailers but you didn’t tell anyone. You did not contact the studio, nor did you tell the theater. That is what happens. With MOVIEQU, we want to be able to bridge that gap and help more people enjoy movies.

What inspired the business?

We had the problem of not remembering trailers ourselves. We had raced to sit down with our popcorn and drinks in hand and saw a trailer we liked, but it all happened too quickly. Before we knew it, the trailer had ended. We missed the movie name and quickly realized that there is no way to find out what the trailer is. You can’t google it nor can you ask an attendant – you either pay for another ticket OR you use something to capture it at that time. That is how we came up with the concept. The first thing we did was ask others whether this was a common issue. Our simple research (asking friends and other people in the auditoriums) led us to realize that not only were we not alone, but that everyone we spoke with said they would use a product like that. That was all the encouragement we needed and we set about drawing, designing and coding to get a proof of concept built.

What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?

I think three words sum up the next six months. Acquisition, retention and fun! We just launched at the end of July, so we are focused on customer feedback. We need to see what people like or dislike and focus our roadmap on that. Everything we read talks about how you should not wait too long to launch, and that if you have fixed every bug at launch then you waited too long. Well, I sort of subscribe to that, but you must also get your MVP into a working state – whatever you release must ‘hang together’. There are other features we have planned that round off the experience, and make the whole process from trailer tagging to ticket purchase seamless. We believe this, with some bells and whistles, will help drive our users back to the app. Oh, and we want to have fun on the journey! What is the point of having your own company if you can’t have fun. Allison, my co-founder said that she had done a 16 hour day on MOVIEQU but had not felt like she had ‘worked’ at all!

What is the one piece of business advice that you never got?

I was lucky to know people around me so got a ton of advice, however, the one thing I would say to people is to know when to switch off. You need to recharge. The start-up scene can be stifling. You want to learn from everyone and rather than thinking about what you’ve done, you constantly fear about the things you aren’t doing – not helped by the press/media, who fuel your paranoia with all the success stories. So, working at the right pace, working out when to do something else, just to re-energize, is crucial. Figure out what that is for you and try to observe it.

If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?

That’s tough. I don’t think there is just a single person I think I must meet, although I do think I’d love to hang out with Jimmy Fallon. He constantly makes me laugh! On a more serious note, I do enjoy speaking with other co-founders. I find that I learn so much from hearing about other people’s experiences. Often, you find some common ground – they may have experienced the same issues and have overcome them too.

Why did you launch in New York?

It’s our home, it has a massive movie go-er scene AND it’s got a discerning tech presence. With so many moving parts, we felt it was important to be able to ‘pound the streets’ if necessary. We’ve done that, with our customer research and street marketing. Being able to do that in NY has been so important. We recognize that the market in NY may not be totally representative of all cities we need to conquer, but as long as we know that, I think we will be fine. So, as the song goes, if you can make it here… (you can make it anywhere… its up to you…)

What’s is your favorite restaurant in the city?

Oh…. L’Artusi (west 10th between Bleeker and Hudson) – it is a wonderful Italian-inspired restaurant (part of the Epicurean Group) and we’ve been going there ever since it opened. The food is excellent every time. They really understand customer service, making everyone feel special. Oh, and make sure you see Jeb.. He is awesome!

About the author: AlleyWatch

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