MediaCore, a company which launched a year ago with the mission of allowing any business to roll out its own private YouTube, is refocusing its efforts on the education market, and has raised an additional $1 million in funding to achieve those goals. The funding, which comes from private angel investors in the U.S. and U.K. including Alex Khein and Pierre Andurand, brings the startup’s total raise to $1.5 million, but it’s not the only news MediaCore has today.
The company has also acquired a video encoding platform called Pandastream, has partnered with SchoolTube, and has hired Alan Greenberg, Apple’s former Head of Higher Education in Europe and Asia, as its Director of Education.
MediaCore initially wanted to help businesses provide a platform for video in the enterprise, and started with a focus on the SMB market. It saw some adoption by businesses who signed up to help train their staff using the product, but it also saw growing adoption in universities and K-12 schools. Reacting to the way customers were using its product, the company decided to shift its focus to target the very specific needs of those involved in educational efforts – whether in businesses or in schools.
“One of the things we realized in the six months of playing in that SMB space,” says CEO Stuart Bowness, “is that there are a lot of companies playing in that space. And a lot of big companies, too….so what we started really challenging ourselves on, is ‘how do we differentiate?'” Reacting to some pressure from customers, including the University of London, the team realized that it was the education market, in specific, that could use more innovation.
“Out of all the things we’re working on now, the most important thing we could possibly be working on, is solving how video works in education,” says Bowness. With MediaCore, the company wants to simply the entire process of doing so, including capturing the video, managing the video, storing the video, and then delivering the video to students in a protected environment.
Bowness notes that one of the issues with video in education is that many schools block YouTube, which is where a lot of today’s educational content is found. “YouTube is blocked in about 80% of U.S. K-12 institutions, and it’s blocked in a lot of corporations too…it isn’t perceived as a safe place to send kids to learn,” he says. “or employees as they can get distracted.” So on MediaCore, teachers can privately share video with students, other teachers, or parents, as need be. In addition to commenting, they also have access to view real-time analytics around those videos.
Now the company has signed up video-sharing site SchoolTube as a customer, which takes the MediaCore user base to 5.5 million students per month, and has notably attracted some key talent with hiring of Alan Greenberg. Part of his role will be to set up the new Educator-in-Residence program, which will help teachers and professors better understand how they can use video as a teaching tool in the classroom.
As for the acquisition of encoding platform Pandastream, MediaCore is not talking about the terms of the deal, only noting that it was profitable at the time, and the team of four has joined the company. Pandastream is still up-and-running as a separate product for now.
The company tells us that its burn rate is low, so it will focus on building more educational features into its product throughout this year, but will likely start raising again somewhere around November or January.