Back in July of last year, Animoto, the startup that lets people easily create good-looking videos from user-uploaded audio, video and images, raised $25 million in venture funding, led by Spectrum Equity Investors, bringing its total outside investment to $30 million. As Mike pointed out at the time, were Animoto interested in a quick sale, they would likely have taken an exit in 2009 or 2010. However, the big Series C round seemed to be an indicator that Animoto had other plans, like the goal of turning the company into a giant.
This sentiment was echoed in a blog post today by CEO and co-founder Brad Jefferson, who said that the team is “in it for the long haul,” and although the company’s fifth birthday is sneaking up, they feel like they’re “just getting started.” In short, that means Animoto wants to stay true to its mission to bridge the gap between the high production value (and cost) of film and television and the more amateur look, feel (and lower cost) of UGC.
To make this work, Animoto developed patent-pending cinematic artificial intelligence that aimed to take the place of actual directors and editors, analyzing and mashing up user-uploaded images, video, and audio into cool videos, using the same sophisticated post-production techniques traditionally reserved for TV and film. In October, the startup re-built its creation flow for video slideshows from the ground up to make video creation smarter and easier.
This meant cutting the amount of clicks it takes to make a video in half, as well as increasing the amount of media tiles that can be viewed on screen from 30 to 300 to allow both consumer and professional users (those who use Animoto to upload dozens of photos of video clips) to get more out of the product. The team also updated search functionality, making it easier to sort through the startup’s library of music tracks by category, like title, artist, and song length.
Although growth has been measured, it is on the heels of these product upgrades that Animoto recently passed 4 million registered users and, in March, added over 200K new users, in what Jefferson says is the company’s biggest month to date. Ten percent of the nearly 1 million videos users are creating each month are now being made on the company’s new iPhone app that launched in December. In addition, over the last 12 months, the startup has doubled its staff to over 70 employees.
On that note, Animoto is also today announcing the addition of Brad Garlinghouse to its board of directors. Garlinghouse is the former President of Mobile and Consumer product teams at Aol, where he worked from 2009 until his departure in November of last year. Prior to Aol, Garlinghouse was a Senior Advisor at leading private equity firm, Silver Lake.
And, before Silver Lake, the executive spent five-plus years at Yahoo, where he was the SVP of Communications and Communities, overseeing Yahoo Mail, Messenger and Groups, among others. At Yahoo, Garlinghouse was perhaps most famous for his so-called “Peanut Butter Manifesto”, in which he outlined a smart, if not slightly controversial, vision for getting Yahoo back on track. Unfortunately for the still-struggling Yahoo, it seems that the manifesto fell on deaf ears.
As to why Animoto leadership chose Garlinghouse to join its board? In his blog post today, the Animoto CEO said:
Aside from being a great guy who shares our vision for inspiring people to share their lives using the magic of video, Brad has deep experience with the importance of web innovation in attracting and retaining a thriving user community. Brad will help make our company and products better.
For more on Animoto, check them out at home here.