72 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute. One third of online activity is spent watching videos, representing 44% of total media consumption. With such an explosion in engagement, understanding what’s working and what’s not working in your video strategy is critical. Datazoom collects data about video playback and then gives you a seamless platform to synthesize this data whether it be to share with partners, technology providers, or internal use in real time. Taking a data-driven approach to optimizing your video strategy, the startup has pioneered a new class of software dubbed – Adaptive Video Logistics. The platform is already integrated with some of the largest video players including JW Player and Brightcove and also offers an SDK so that developers can build on its core infrastructure for custom needs.
AlleyWatch sat down with CEO and cofounder Diane Strutner to learn more about Adaptive Video Logistics, the origin of Datazoom, its future plans, and its recent funding round.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We raised a $700K Pre-Seed round, led by Brooklyn Bridge Ventures.
Tell us about Datazoom.
Datazoom has created a new category of software called Adaptive Video Logistics for the online video space. We’re focused on solving key problems created by data being collected inefficiently and slowly. Our platform provides an efficient and effective way to collect data about video playback in real-time, so we can make adjustments to video player software in real-time.
It was inspired by well-known problems in our industry – I’ve spent my career in sales, previously running an enterprise global sales and business development team for a video analytics company. During years of customer meetings with the C-suite in the video space, the problem of being able to leverage data was a big issue and continued to resurface. One day, in one of these meetings, I envisioned a way to do things differently and the idea for Datazoom was born.
How is Datazoom different?
It might be shocking, but unlike many other industries, the online video space exploded so quickly that most of the major online media companies don’t collect any of their own data about video streaming. In fact, data collection is a natural by-product of using industry-specific analytics tools that offer end-to-end solutions (data collection, data processing and data visualization). Data in the video analytics world is used for reporting, and not much else, and thus it’s typically minutes (or hours) old.
We’re the first company to dis-intermediate data collection from traditional video analytics functions, and acting as a way to create standardization and synchronicity for all systems that leverage data, with real-time latency. Our data is formatted and accessible by any system, in less than a second.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
We estimate the Adaptive Video Logistics market to be $1.3B today, and will grow to be $2.6B by 2020, in line with the growth of the online video and streaming media industry.
What’s your business model?
Our SaaS platform has a license fee plus usage-based fees.
What was the funding process like?
It was so fun! Just kidding. It took a lot of patience, persistence, and diligence to identify the right investors. It’s also not something you can adequately prepare yourself for ahead of time, and definitely one of those learn-by-doing experiences. You need to get out there and “kiss a lot of frogs,” or croak in the process.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
My biggest challenges in raising capital have been finding the right investors for our stage, and learning how best to tell the Datazoom story. Not everyone naturally gets as excited about video data as I do. Storytelling is a bigger part of fundraising than I first thought, and something that I wish I’d realized earlier on.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Every entrepreneur would like to say that their investors have an excellent understanding of their space, and therefore saw the great opportunity laid out before them, and invested. However, there’s less proof and evidence available when a company is in early stages. I believe the decision to invest in any early stage company ultimately comes from many non-tangible factors as well: industry knowledge, existing industry network and connections, and things as simple as the entrepreneur’s like-ability and passion. The combination of tangible factors (like product stage and customer traction) and non-tangibles ones closed investors for Datazoom.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We’re on a mission to not only educate our industry about Adaptive Video Logistics, but also change how the video industry manages its data so we can all benefit from better streaming experiences. If we can do that, then our business plan milestones like, building up our customer base, will be achieved.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Well, there are really two options in the game of survival: fight or flight. I can’t say that I have any advice on how to identify when one should throw in the towel on fundraising (and yes, I do believe that sometimes you should quit).
There are some things you can do yourself. If you’ve been doing this for months, make an assessment. Who have you had the most traction with so far? What was different about those meetings/calls? What has the feedback been, and have you incorporated it? Are you following-up enough (its a sales cycle, after all)? Use what works, ditch (like, really ditch) what doesn’t resonate well, and go from there.
And then there’s help you can get from others. If you don’t have one already, go find a seasoned advisor who has had success in your industry. Their insight, experience, connections and guidance could be the missing piece. Alternatively, find an awesome accelerator, and know what you want to get out of it before you start. As a rule of thumb, beyond typically making an investment themselves, a good accelerator will coach you on business-building, fundraising and provide you with an ecosystem of investors, all at the same time.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
I’m excited to see the company grow adoption within our industry. We’re now in my favorite (and a more familiar) stage – Go-To-Market. I’ve been waiting to spill the beans about Datazoom for a long time and I’m thrilled share our vision with my industry peers and showcase what we’ve built. Back to life on a plane!
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Blue Ribbon – Do yourself a favor and order the Crème Brûlée for dessert. Also, the kitchen is open till 4:30am, so you can still work late and eat great.