Stupeflix – videos customized on the fly (includes a sneak preview of their iPhone app!)

Sep 5, 2012
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Stupeflix is a team of young technical minds that took it upon themselves to build a really cool technology where you render videos on-the-fly in a server-hosted environment, from a template, where you can drop custom texts and images into. An example: Say Coca-Cola has  a video of a famous singer, you can upload an image of your face, and they will happily render it as the person standing next to the singer. All this while you wait. Or, if a video has some graffiti on a wall, this can be your name, or any text you enter.

As you can imagine, this technology has tons of different uses. In a B2B scenario, brands can use it for promotions (like the Coca-Cola example), with the creative work done by an advertising agency. In a B2C scenario, people can upload their own videos and play around with it (the business model for that is a bit unclear perhaps, unless people would be willing to pay in a freemium model).

The team originally met when working at Exalead. What’s Exalead, you ask? A French (failed) competitor to Google search (good luck with that!). They seriously pivoted just before being crushed by Google into a cloud solution, and were duly acquired by Dassault in 2010.

Having built a prototype of the technology in 2008, the Stupeflix got off to a great start when they won the Seedcamp competition in September 2008. Seedcamp is a European virtual accelerator run out of London.  Winning the Seedcamp competition means they will admit you into their accelerator program, and invest €50k (in return for a 8-10% slice of equity). When asked, Stupeflix CEO Nicolas Steegmann says it was a great deal for them. Seedcamp pushed them to focus on the US market early, even taking them on a trip to Silicon Valley. Apart from meeting some startup celebrities, they also made some excellent contacts, leading to some big sales. By now, they have many big name clients, such as Visa, Google, American Express, Orange, Publicis, Seetchi, and many others.

Another great help in focusing on the US market was co-founder Jeff, who already lived and worked in San Francisco when he joined the team, so that they had local representation on the founder level. This made all the difference – many partnerships, including the one with Google (that got them listed #1 on the Youtube site!) would have been impossible without Jeff a 30 minute drive away from the Google headquarters.

Stupeflix recently launched their API with a self-signup (payment processing powered by hot startup Stripe). Since they do a lot of indirect sales, their API is very important. Previously, they only did ‘manual’ API connections whenever they made a new sale. This new self-signup allows anyone to start using the (paid) API without any intervention – a great way to capture the lower end of the market!

In terms of funding, they are in a good place – they are profitable already, after getting the Seedcamp money, as well as a variety of French subsidies and tax breaks. They are shopping for angel money, but in the US only – a smart move, given that the angel scene is much bigger there than in Paris.

The future – iPhone sneak preview!

Click here to see the video!