The Hunt For An ‘Instagram For Video’ Is On, And Socialcam Wants The Crown

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By all accounts, Y Combinator’s latest Demo Day held last month for its Winter 2012 class was a biggie. With 66 companies presenting their apps, it was pretty impossible to name a startup that was the clear star of the group. But judging from the industry and investor buzz over the past few weeks since then, Socialcam, a mobile app for shooting, editing, and sharing smartphone videos, has emerged as one of the standout companies from this latest YC batch.

So we were pleased have the chance to talk with Socialcam’s co-founder and CEO Michael Seibel last week when we visited Founders Den, the co-working space in downtown San Francisco. Watch the interview above to hear Seibel talk about how Socialcam looks at growth just two weeks at a time, why his team chose to work in Founders Den rather than renting out its own office, why now is an extremely good time to be a tech startup founder, and more.

The Instagram Effect

Of course, something big has happened since we sat down with Seibel: Now that Instagram has been snapped up by Facebook in an eye-popping $1 billion deal, it’s become even more clear that the excitement around apps like Socialcam may just be getting started. Tech investors are now looking even more feverishly for the next big hit in the mobile media space — an “Instagram for video” play. Socialcam stands out in part because its team has already had one proven success, having been born last year as a spin-out from the well-known video sharing website Justin.tv. Socialcam was co-founded as a standalone entity by Justin.tv founder and namesake Justin Kan, former Justin.tv co-founder and CEO Seibel, and former Justin.tv senior engineer Ammon Bartram. Seibel and Bartram now serve as Socialcam’s CEO and CTO, respectively; Kan pulled away to work on his own Y Combinator Winter 2012 startup, Exec.

Beyond the credentials of its founding team, Socialcam seems to have gained some good traction with real-world users. The app surpassed three million downloads on iOS and Android way back in December, and Siebel said the app saw 300 percent growth in its daily active user count in the three months leading up to YC Demo Day. Also in his Demo Day pitch, Seible noted that his company was set to close an angel round of around $1.5 million. In our interview above, however, he was a bit more mum on all numbers having to do with the company. He did promise, though, that there will be more news out of Socialcam that he can confirm “soon.”

The Larger Landscape

Socialcam is of course not the only startup looking to make shooting and sharing mobile phone videos as easy and fun as possible. Viddy, Klip, Mobli, and even the infamous Color are all in the running, to name just a few. It’s still early to tell which apps will be the winners, but it’s safe to say that this week’s Instagram deal has turned up the heat for all the players involved.