FightMe, a social video app with what may be my favorite startup name ever, is announcing that it has raised $500,000 in seed funding from an undisclosed London investor.
Using a hashtag system, app users can post their own 30-second, unedited videos, and they can also browse other videos and post their own footage in response. Other users then “applaud” the videos that they like, and the videos with the most applause rise to the top. The most popular videos right now (which are showcased on the FightMe home page) include some pretty amazing footage of someone making a basketball shot while also flipping into a swimming pool.
The company was founded by Jamie Lorenz (who also founded the London music venue The Cuckoo Club) and Joelle Hadfield (former head of PR for social network Lulu). There are plenty of other services for sharing videos, and they often come with a strong social component, but Lorenz argued that FightMe’s competitions may spur more people to participate.
“I play the guitar and do a few other things [that could be featured in videos], but I would never showcase any of the things that I’ve learned on YouTube or Facebook, because it’s too much about myself,” he said. “This is a different way for people to showcase their talent in a way that isn’t, ‘Hey, look at me.’”
Since launching in July, Lorenz and Hadfield said they’ve focused on building a community in the United Kingdom (the company is based in London), so they were surprised to see that 48 percent of their audience already comes from the United States. They added that one of the site’s strengths is “urban” performance like beatboxing, rapping, and spoken word, while stretching to include things like parkour.
With the new funding, FightMe is taking the beta label off the app and starting to plan for more expansion in the U.S. — Lorenz said he’s already been spending a lot of time in Los Angeles, so that doesn’t necessarily mean opening a U.S. office right away.
As for making money, Lorenz and Hadfield said they’re looking at a number of possibilities. For one thing, they pointed out that competitions could be a good opportunity for brand advertisers.
You can download the FightMe app here.