Freeze Frame: AC JumpStart Funding Fuels Vidhub’s Market Expansion

According to eMarketer, there were more than 77 million millennial digital video viewerso in 2015, representing 92% of all US millennial Internet users. Video is the preferred communication platform for this demographic, used for everything from entertainment, to personal communication.

May 10, 2017

According to eMarketer, there were more than 77 million millennial digital video viewerso in 2015, representing 92% of all US millennial Internet users. Video is the preferred communication platform for this demographic, used for everything from entertainment, to personal communication. It is also increasingly being used for online learning, as more educators turn to video as a simple and intuitive way to better engage learners.Shub Sengupta and Adam Zmenak are co-founders of Vidhub, a simple to use video review and collaboration tool. The two met back in 2013 at a 24 hour startup event hosted by Communitech, and felt that instant chemistry that happens when two entrepreneurs are destined to work together.  “I think we placed second or third in that competition. But more importantly, we knew we worked really well together as a team,” says Shub.

Shub, a video producer by trade, was quickly able put a new business idea on the table for the team to tackle -- a platform that would allow clients to provide better, more accurate feedback to video production teams. He explains, “the video production process is not particularly collaborative. Producers typically need to set up and share footage using a video sharing platform such as YouTube or Vimeo. Then clients provide feedback via email, identifying the changes they want - for instance, I’d like to edit this section out, around five minutes into the video. But the process of collaboration is slow and it is usually really inaccurate. To give good feedback, you need to zero in on a precise second, and frame. So often, there’s a lot of back and forth between the producer and the client to get clarification. This slows down the editing time, affects both the video company and the client and often drives up costs and pushes out deadlines.”

Shub describes his brainchild, Vidhub as ‘SoundCloud comment meets Google Docs for video.’ Simply put, it lets people discuss videos online just as you would in person. Video is uploaded to Vidhub directly or from any video platform (Vimeo, YouTube, Dropbox are all supported). Everyone on the team is automatically notified, and is invited to comment. When a person begins typing a comment, the video is paused so the information can be tagged to a frame and specific time. Everyone can see all comments and can collaborate. Comments can also be exported to a PDF, subtitle or text file. A visual heat map running underneath the video allows people to view footage uninterrupted, but exposes where comments are located in each frame.Initially, the Vidhub team focused its attention on the video production world - a market they knew well and understood. After building a solid footing, with customers using the product around the world, they are now expanding into the higher education market. “Video is now heavily used by faculty for online and blended learning, and we began getting inquiries from professors, who wanted to encourage student participation and improve learner engagement,” says Shub.

A focus on the education sector also demands more commitment from the two co-founders, who until recently have run their startup in parallel with freelance work. “We’re beginning now to gear up for buying cycles in schools leading into the fall of 2017. The education market is more hands on, and takes more focus and effort. It is a market that makes very big decisions, but not often. So we felt it was time for us to go full time on this venture.”The move to full time has also allowed Shub and Adam to take more full advantage of the programming and mentorship offered through the Accelerator Centre to allow them take the business to the next level. The company also landed $30,000 in AC JumpStart funding, made possible through FedDev Ontario, which provided the critical fuel for growth. “It was the JumpStart funding that enabled us to finally go full time on our venture,” says Shub. “We had enough revenue to validate but not quite enough to pay the bills. JumpStart made up the difference.”

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