Posts filed under ‘veeker’

Interview: Rodger Raderman, co-founder of Veeker, on mobile content services

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Every now and again we get some truly passionate people on inbabble.com. Our interview with Rodger Raderman, co-founder of the mobile content Veeker, is one of these times. Rodger gave us an insight into why Veeker is unique, their recent funding round, and deals with NBC. For an online demo of Veeker follow this link. Read the interview below and you cant help but be excited for Rodger and the Veeker application.

Can you give a quick summary of veeker and why it is unique to other mobile content services please?
Raderman: The first version of Veeker was a mobile content service, but we do not see ourselves that way any longer. A few weeks ago, we launched Veeker 2.0, a video and picture messaging service. It’s a different paradigm—uploading a video or picture to a channel for others to view, versus sending a video or picture directly to a specific person as a message.

Mobile content services like Kyte, Zannel, and Radar work on a channel paradigm. For Kyte, it’s like a personal, online TV channel. For Zannel, it’s multi-media micro-blogging. For Radar, it’s more of a private channel. For each of them, the flow is the same: you create an account, upload mobile videos and pictures to your channel, and others can see these by viewing your channel.

With Veeker, you send video, picture, and text messages from your mobile phone directly to the mobile phone, email account, and/or Veeker account (if they’re registered) of a specific person.

The flow is different. When you join Veeker, you populate an address book with your contacts’ mobile phone numbers and email addresses. Veeker automatically creates an @ veeker.com address for each of your contacts. Then you can send video, picture, and text messages from your mobile phone to any contact’s @veeker.com address. You also can send webcam messages to them. That person will receive your message on the mobile number and email address you provided for them. Plus, the video/picture/text is saved for you in an online Sent Folder.

I record a video on my phone for one person, and send it to that person exclusively, from my phone to their phone, instantly. That’s messaging. It’s the natural evolution of text messaging. You can’t do it with a “channel” paradigm, and it is our fundamental differentiation.

I understand you recently recieved some funding ($2.5m?) … how do you intend to use the funds?
Raderman: We have received a total of just under $2.5M in funding, over the course of about a two years. Some of this came from angels, and some from Meritage Funds and Labrador Ventures. We never announced our Series A round when it closed last March. When Liz at GigaOm reported it recently, many misread this to mean that we just banked the funds. That’s not the case.

We have been using the funds primarily for product development, to build Veeker 2.0. It’s very robust technology, enabling not only sending videos and pictures from mobile phones to individuals and groups, but also cool things like sending webcam messages to phones, publishing videos and pictures to widgets, and more. If you look at our technology and platform, we feel like we’ve developed quite a bit of value for very little money. For example, none of the companies mentioned above have anything on us technologically, and they all have spent quite a bit more money.

We’re just about to begin looking for a series B round, and are being very, very careful with the money we have in the bank right now. We feel this space is still quite immature, and are planning for a marathon rather than a sprint.

What is your longer term plan to generate revenue (advertising, subscriptions etc). How far off is this in your business plan?
Raderman: We’re generating revenue now via B2B partners ranging from media conglomerates to consumer goods companies. We’re finding high demand amongst these companies to use our video and picture messaging platform to incorporate user-generated media (mobile and otherwise) into their online and off-line offerings. And, also, to communicate back to those people. The use-cases range from movie promotion to citizen journalism. Each of these deals is some combination of service fees and advertising revenue share. In the short term, these kinds of deals will be our focus for revenue generation. Over the long term, on the consumer side, our plan is to continue offering a basic free service, supported by advertising. And, upsell to various premium services.

How are you distributing Veeker – just via the web and direct to consumers… or through other means? (I note a recent deal with NBC… is this key to the way forward)
Raderman: There are three prongs to our distribution strategy: 1) via B2B partnerships, 2) via product development and viral growth, and 3) via widgets.

The most exciting B2B relationship we have right now is with NBC News. We power the citizen journalism efforts for each of their owned and operated stations, in major markets like San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Philidelphia, Miami, etc.

NBC San Diego received over 2500 pictures and videos from their viewers sharing their experiences of the fires. That is a remarkable number. I made a blog post called “6 Factors That Make Citizen Journalism Work for NBC”for those that are interested:

http://blog.veeker.com/2007/10/sandiegofires

In terms of viral growth, Veeker 2.0 is a very open system. It ingests content from phones, from email, from webcams, and outputs it to phones, emails, widgets, and, of course, Veeker.com. As email is open, and TXT messaging is open—meaning, others don’t need an account to receive an email or TXT from you—so Veeker 2.0 is open. And since we’ve launched it, we’re seeing triple digit growth.

In terms of widgets, we’re big believers. Ours is a video message widget that you can embed on any webpage. Others can record a webcam message with it, and that will be delivered straight to your mobile phone and/or email. The widget also immediately can display any webcam video recorded on it, or video or picture sent to it from phone or email.

If I understand correctly Veeker does not require an application download or web access, just the ability to send multimedia messages. This must be great for consumer adoption ( i.e. easy to setup). Can you give our readers and consumers stats or useage stats (most popular media, number of subscribers, growth rates?)
Raderman: Yes, we we use the software everyone already has. A web browser on their computer and an MMS client on their phone. It couldn’t be easier. Since we relaunched, we’re seeing triple digit growth, which is validating.

What is next for veeker in both features/ functionality, and in a businesses sense?
Raderman: As I mentioned, we just completed a rather long product development cycle. So, we’re iterating as necessary from here. Small things like being able to reply from the phone, more granular organizational and archival features online, easier customization for our partners.

We feel like we have a very solid core. Right now, for us, it’s primarily about generating revenues on the B2B side, while working to make the consumer side of our business catch fire.

October 30, 2007 at 1:14 am 2 comments


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