Back in August, Y Combinator debuted its largest (and I’d say most stellar) class of startups to date. One of those companies is now ready to fully peel back the curtain and launch its app into the public fray. Vimessa is a free video voicemail app for the iPhone that allows consumers to send high-definition video messages to any mobile phone number or email address. And, unlike FaceTime, iMessage, MMS, and other video messaging services, the app works on all mobile devices and desktops, including feature phones, smartphones, and tablets.
What’s more, users don’t need to have Vimessa installed or even own an iPhone to receive these free high res messages, they can access them through a simple link. However, because it’s faster to send, receive, and view messages for those who have the app installed on their phones, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone apps are on their way.
Vimessa CEO and Co-founder Peter Clark said that he thinks the value proposition of his startup is that it offers a fast and convenient user experience — one that’s similar to texting — but holds more visual and emotional power thanks to video. Vimessa users can share an experience, show a place, invite others to join them at an event, or just talk about what they’re doing over cellular or WiFi connections. Vimessa also shows which users have Vimessa installed and stores videos securely in the cloud and synchronizes them with users’ mobile devices.
Of course, thanks to MMS, sending video messages via mobile devices doesn’t seem like a new idea, but current solutions have been predominantly focused on video calling. Vimessa thinks that in spite of apps like FaceTime, this live video functionality isn’t really what customers want. Instead, users want to replay and reply to video messages at their own pace. Going slightly against the grain, Vimessa believes, for most synchronous conversations, audio will do quite nicely, thank you.
What’s more, Clark said that coordinating Skype video calls is difficult for people trying to reach international recipients (something that many heavy Skype users know all too well) and traditional voicemails aren’t personal enough. Vimessa takes advantage of the ubiquity of front-facing cameras on smartphones, which has made it exceedingly easy to for anyone to create insta-videos from any location, and hurdles this pain point.
Thus, Vimessa’s ability to send a video message to anyone, regardless of whether or not they have the app installed, solves a major mobile communication headache and gives the app a big leg-up on MMS. It’s also a nice bonus that there is no limit to the amount of video messages one can send through the app. Though it’s important to point out that video messages will “self destruct” after two months; however, users can choose to store their videos “forever” for an affordable $19 per year.
But for Vimessa to really kick ass, it will need to add some key features, like sharing conversation threads on Facebook and Twitter, send pre-recorded video stored on smartphones, group messaging, and video transcriptions.
In the big picture, considering text messages look about the same today as they did ten years ago and the ease of video recording only continues to improve, these kinds of easy, device and platform agnostic video messaging solutions are sure to be a big part of the global communication infrastructure going forward.
For more on Vimessa, check ’em out at home here.