Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. This week, TechCrunch’s Kate Clark sat down with Eric Yuan, the founder and CEO of video communications startup Zoom, to go behind the curtain on the company’s recent IPO process and its path to the public markets.
Since hitting the trading desks just a few weeks ago, Zoom stock is up over 30%. But the Zoom’s path to becoming a Silicon Valley and Wall Street darling was anything but easy. Eric tells Kate how the company’s early focus on profitability, which is now helping drive the stock’s strong performance out of the gate, actually made it difficult to get VC money early on, and the company’s consistent focus on user experience led to organic growth across different customer bases.
Eric: I experienced the year 2000 dot com crash and
Facebook today announced a series of changes to the way it ranks videos on its social network, which determines how widely they’re distributed. According to the updated guidelines, Facebook will now prioritize videos that focus on original content, those where users are engaged for longer periods of time, and those where users return repeatedly to watch more.
The company wants to feature more high-quality videos, and less of those that feature “unoriginal or repurposed content” from other sources where there’s been little value added, it says. That seems to imply a bit of crackdown on the prolific video memes — those that lift someone else’s content (sometimes without proper credit) and then publish it to their own Page to cash in.
Facebook says it’s also now going to demote videos from Pages that are involved in Sharing Schemes. These are programs run by unethical content mills which compensate other Page
Most of the strategy discussions and news coverage in the media & entertainment industry is concerned with the unfolding corporate mega-mergers and the political implications of social media platforms.
These are important conversations, but they’re largely a story of twentieth-century media (and broader society) finally responding to the dominance Web 2.0 companies have achieved.
To entrepreneurs and VCs, the more pressing focus is on what the next generation of companies to transform entertainment will look like. Like other sectors, the underlying force is advances in artificial intelligence and computer power.
In this context, that results in a merging of gaming and linear storytelling into new interactive media. To highlight the opportunities here, I asked nine top VCs to share where they are putting their money.
Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. This week, TechCrunch’s Brian Heater and Lucas Matney shared their key takeaways from our Robotics+AI Sessions event at UC Berkeley last week.
The event was filled with panels, demos and intimate discussions with key robotics and deep learning founders, executives and technologists. Brian and Lucas discuss which companies excited them most, as well as which verticals have the most exciting growth prospects in the robotics world.
“This is the second [robotics event] in a row that was done at Berkeley where people really know the events; they respect it, they trust it and we’re able to get really, I would say far and away the top names in robotics. It was honestly a room full of all-stars.
I think our Disrupt events are definitely skewed towards investors and
Just days after Google and Amazon buried the hatchet over their longstanding streaming feud, Google has made another interesting inroad in its bid to bring yet more ubiquity to its YouTube-based premium video efforts. Today, Verizon (which owns TechCrunch) and the search giant announced a new partnership where Verizon customers will be able to subscribe to YouTube TV through their accounts to watch “on whatever platform they choose,” in the words of Erin McPheron, Verizon’s head of content strategy and acquisition.
That will mean, in Verizon terms, getting a YouTube TV stream if you are a 5G wireless home customer as part of an internet bundle, or as part of your Fios subscription if you are a customer of Verizon’s fiber-optic TV, telephone and internet service. It sounds like there will be other options to come. “Verizon will also offer unique, high-value YouTube TV promotions to customers across platforms,” the
Google and Amazon are burying the hatchet to better serve users of their respective streaming video platforms, the companies announced this morning. In the months ahead, the official YouTube app will come to Amazon Fire TV devices and Fire TV Edition smart TVs, while the Prime Video app will come to Chromecast and other devices with Chromecast built-in.
Prime Video will also become broadly available across the Android TV partner ecosystem, and YouTube’s sister apps — YouTube TV and YouTube Kids — will come to Fire TV later in the year.
Google says YouTube users on Fire TV will be able to sign in, have full access to their library, and play videos in 4K HDR at 60 fps on supported devices.
Prime Video app users, meanwhile, will be able to stream from the Prime Video catalog, including Amazon’s original programming, 4K videos, and access their Prime Video Channel subscriptions.
It happens to the best of us*: You get high, thinking you have plenty of time to come down before regular life intrudes. And then you remember that dentist appointment you can’t cancel. Or your mom calls and reminds you that your uncle’s funeral is today. The temp agency texts you that you just got a lucrative gig and…
Sick of pausing and rewinding YouTube tutorials to replay that tricky part? Jumprope is a new instructional social network offering a powerful how-to video slideshow creation tool. Jumprope helps people make step-by-step guides to cooking, beauty, crafts, parenting and more using voice-overed looping GIFs for each phase. And creators can export their whole lesson for sharing on Instagram, YouTube, or wherever.
Jumprope officially launches its iOS app today with plenty of how-tos for making chocolate chip bars, Easter eggs, flower boxes, or fierce eyebrows. “By switching from free-form linear video to something much more structured, we can make it much easier for people to share their knowledge and hacks” says Jumprope co-founder and CEO Jake Poses.
The rise of Snapchat Stories and Pinterest have made people comfortable jumping on camera and showing off their niche interests. By building a new medium, Jumprope could become the home for rapid-fire learning. And
Ironically, the feature is a tool designed to fact check topics that generate misinformation on the platform. It adds a small info box below videos that provides third-party factual information from YouTube partners — in this case Encyclopedia Britannica.
YouTube began rolling out the fact checking “information panels” this year in India and they now appears to be available in other countries.
This week’s banishment of host Scott Rogowsky was merely a symptom of the ongoing struggle to decide who will lead HQ Trivia. According to multiple sources, over half of the startup’s staff signed an internal petition to depose CEO Rus Yusupov who they saw as mismanaging the company. But Yusupov then fired three core supporters of the mutiny, leading to a downward spiral of morale that mirrors HQ’s plummeting App Store rank.
TechCrunch spoke to multiple sources familiar with HQ Trivia’s internal troubles to piece together how the live video mobile game went from blockbuster to nearly bust. Two sources said HQ recently only had around $6 million in the bank but was burning over $1 million per month, meaning its runway could be dwindling. But its early investors are reluctant to hand Yusupov any more cash. “
Employees petitioned to remove HQ Trivia’s CEO Rus Yusupov
In the past, Roku seemed to be more of neutral platform compared with streaming media player rivals like Amazon Fire TV or Apple TV. The company gave everyone else’s content equal footing through its add-on channels and in Roku search, as had nothing of its own to promote. That’s changing with the rollout of Roku OS 9.1, beginning today. The update adds a feature that automatically plays back The Roku Channel’s movies and TV shows at times; another that better showcases the channel’s free content in genre-focused searches; and one that introduces a new navigation menu with offers for other Roku products.
These features arrive alongside other changes like a new guest mode and easier sign-in to subscriptions.
Among the more innocuous changes are the new guest mode and automatic account linking.
Roku in January first announced an “auto sign out mode,” which allowed guests to sign into subscription
We live in the subscription streaming era of media. Across film, TV, music, and audiobooks, subscription streaming platforms now shape the market. Gaming and podcasting could be next. Where are the startup opportunities in this shift, and in the next shift that will occur?
In the transcript below, we dive into the core investment thesis that has guided him for 20 years, how he went from running a fish distribution to running a VC firm, his best practices for effective board meetings and VC-entrepreneur relationships, and his assessment of the
T-Mobile and Viacom this morning announced a deal that will bring Viacom’s TV channels – like MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount and others – to T-Mobile’s new mobile video service planned for later this year. The agreement will allow T-Mobile to offer live, linear feeds of the Viacom channels as well as on-demand viewing.
To date, the carrier’s mobile video plans have been murky. Last year, T-Mobile acquired the Denver-based startup Layer3 TV in order to launch a new over-the-top video service in 2018. It missed that window, saying that it needed more time to work on features and make “quality improvements.”
The company later said that it didn’t want to offer another Amazon Channels-like “skinny bundle” consisting of individual subscriptions to various channels, but wanted to offer something more differentiated where customers could create their own media subscriptions in “smaller pieces” like “five, six, seven or eight
Twitch today announced the launch of a new feature called “Squad Stream,” which offers a way for up to four creators to go live and stream together within one window. The feature will allow creators to grow their communities by teaming up with others, as it gives streamers increased exposure by playing to a wider range of fans.
Helping viewers find new people to follow is an area of ongoing interest for the company which has, in the past, faced accusations from smaller streamers who complain they just broadcast to empty channels, and have trouble growing a fan base.
To address this, Twitch today offers a feature called Raids, which allows creators to work together to grow their respective communities by driving traffic to each other’s channels. Squad Streams is an expansion on that as it’s actually allowing streamers to broadcast together. That is, instead of redirecting traffic, they’re sharing
Zoom, the video conferencing startup valued at $1 billion in early 2017, has filed to go public on the Nasdaq as soon as next month.
The company joins a growing list of tech unicorns making the leap to the public markets in 2019, but it stands out for one very important reason: It’s actually profitable.
Zoom was founded in 2011 by Eric Yuan, a co-founder of WebEx, which sold to Oracle for $3.2 billion in 2007. Before launching Zoom, he spent four years at Cisco as its vice president of engineering. In a conversation with TechCrunch last month, he said he would never sell another company again, hinting at his dissatisfaction at WebEx’s post-acquisition treatment being his motivation for taking Zoom public as opposed to selling.
Zoom, which raised a total of $145 million to date, posted $330 million in revenue in the year ending January 31, 2019,
Facebook usage has declined for the first time in a decade, while video-centric apps like TikTok are being touted as the future of social media. Entering this redefined playing field comes Firework, a fast-growing social video app whose clever trick is something it calls “reveal videos” — a way for creators to take both horizontal and vertical video in one shot from their mobile device. Video viewers can then twist their phone as the video plays to watch from a new perspective and see more of the scene.
While Snapchat pioneered the idea of vertical video, newer companies are trying to free viewers from format constraints.
For example, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile streaming service Quibi is pitching its ability to offer an ideal viewing experience no matter how you hold your phone. As Quibi CEO Meg Whitman explained last week in an interview at SXSW, the company has
Not all the bots on Twitter are spammers or democracy hackers. You may recall seeing requests to the Thread Reader app bot to “unroll” a long thread into readable copy, for example, and in more recent days you may have spotted Twitter users tagging a newer bot, @this_vid, on tweets with a video file attached. The handy bot (aka DownloadThisVideo) offers a way to download both videos and GIFs from Twitter’s site for easier offline viewing.
The idea for @this_vid comes from Shalvah Adebayo, a backend developer born and raised in Nigeria, and currently living in Lagos. Shalvah says he got into development back in 2013, during his final year of secondary school (high school).
“There was a kid in a lower class that people talked about in awe — ‘he knows programming!,’” explains Shalvah. “I had no idea what it was then,” he continues. “I watched
Time travel back to the early-2000s, and a list of the world’s most respected brands might be surprising.
Tobacco company Marlboro is still one of the top 15 global brands with a value of $22 billion, while companies like Nokia and AT&T also help to round out the group.
Aside from Microsoft, the tech companies at the time were mostly focused on hardware and services. HP was considered a top global brand at the time, and even IBM was still making PCs until the year 2005.
The Platform Revolution
How times have changed.
In today’s animation from TheRankings, you can see how the list of the top 15 global brands has evolved over the last two decades or so.
The visible shift: as soon as Google hits the rankings in 2008 (2:21 in video), it becomes clear that the money is on