Vidku, the Minneapolis-based startup that raised over $17 million in 17 days, just launched their video sharing app for iOS and Android. The app allows users to create 17-second videos, with the ability to pause and live-flip while recording, and share them with specific people or groups.
“Vidku is a video-centric platform that allows you to share with who you want, when you want,” said Charlie Miller, co-founder and Chief Design Officer.
While Vidku draws similarities to other video sharing platforms like Vine and Snapchat, users have much more control with Vidku, Miller said. Mainly, the user has the ability to create groups and share videos within that group rather than broadcast to many people. Users can also un-share videos at anytime.
“For me, there are a lot of different Charlies. There’s late night Charlie with friends. There’s parent Charlie, with two kids. There’s co-founder Charlie, with lots of employees,” Miller said. “Vidku lets me cater my videos to each of those groups.”
In beta testing, the team sent it out to over 500 friends and family. What emerged were groups for a variety of purposes: drinking, vacations, fantasy football, birthday parties, politics.
“It creates a safe place to share your voice,” Miller said. “With other social media platforms, you have to be careful of how you position yourself. On Vidku you never have to posture. You really can be yourself.”
Vidku also emphasizes the creative control given with a longer video of 17 seconds – chosen in part because Vidku comes from video + haiku (5-7-5 format) – and the ability to pause mid-video.
“Video creators want longer videos. Consumers always want shorter,” said Nate Edwards, Vidku’s Vice President of Mobile Development. “This provides a balance of quick, powerful video.”
Early users seem to agree.
“It’s the best parts of Snapchat and Instagram,” a user commented on their iTunes page. “This app is going places.”
The Vidku Story
The idea for Vidku spawns from an existing app called Flipgrid, which Miller designed as a way for teachers to post discussion questions and get video responses from students.
As Flipgrid gained popularity around the world, with over 10,000 teachers and more than 1.5 million students users, Miller began to see that more and more, people were using it for social purposes.
With the idea for a new video sharing platform in mind, Miller formed a rock star team, including Phil Soran, former Compellent CEO and co-founder of Xiotech, and Jim Leslie, founder of data center IT services firm Midwave (sold to Datalink in 2011).
In February, they had one of the most successful Series A funding rounds the Midwest has ever seen, led by Arthur Ventures and resulting in $17.5M in funding.
Now, Vidku is on an aggressive road map, Miller said, starting this week with their launch. On October 14, they are throwing the official launch party in Fargo, featuring a 17-second video talent show.
Over the course of developing Vidku, Miller and his team have found its value in unexpected places. For instance, in the office, one employee who was particularly quiet began filming “Vidkus” that earned him the title “comedian of the office.” Another, who plays in two regionally famous bands, shares Vidkus from the stage, giving his coworkers a peek into his weekend life.
For Miller and Edwards, they’re able to share videos of their kids, with each other, or with grandparents. Those videos can be watched again whenever they want.
“We’re creating moments that are lasting,” Miller said. “To us that is the most exciting part.”
Learn more about Vidku here.
Photos courtesy of Vidku.