Shakr Media announced today that has raised a total of $3 million in funding to expand its tech platform, which enables small companies to automatically create video clips from snippets of information. This amount includes its previous seed round of $700,000. Shakr’s latest investor is POSCO Venture Capital, which also helped secure matching funds from the South Korean government.
TechCrunch first met Shakr in 2011, when it was a finalist at Disrupt Beijing. Shakr’s tech algorithmically gathers information, photos, and video snippets from online sources and then automatically creates video clips.
Since then, the company has also launched a motion graphics marketplace and began focusing more on the advertising sector, with the goal of making video ads accessible to small companies.
David Lee, Shakr’s founder and CEO, explained that many smaller businesses can’t afford the production costs, which can run into tens of thousands of dollars, for pre-roll video ads on YouTube.
As a result, many are missing out on the marketing opportunities video advertising can give them. A recent ComScore study found that 187.8 million Americans watched 46.6 billion online content videos in March, while the number of video ad views totaled 28.7 billion.
“When we launched in May of last year, we focused on personal video templates. One day, a company that does custom video ad design sent us a few templates for small businesses. A friend of mine who works at Google happened to be in our office at the time, and he pointed out that having a large number of video ad templates could help a lot of small businesses advertise on YouTube, where the rates for pre-roll ads are quite affordable,” Lee said.
Tools like the video builders Shakr offers can potentially revolutionize the online advertising market for SMBs, in the same way Google’s Image Ad Builder made banner ads accessible to marketers with lower budgets almost a decade ago. An example of a video made using one of Shakr’s templates can be found here.
Before 2005, Lee explains, “very few small businesses were using image ad units on Google’s content network. Meanwhile, big businesses were getting great returns from running image ads. Small businesses wanted to run image ads — they just didn’t have the know-how and budget to make image ads. So Google released an Image Ad Builder in 2005, which resulted in SMB uptake of the image ad unit growing to match or exceed enterprise image ad spending.”
Shakr, which has offices in San Francisco and Seoul, is also an example of how quickly South Korea’s startup ecosystem is growing. Lee says video ad consumption–both online and on outdoor digital displays–in Seoul is especially high, making the city an ideal place for Shakr to be.
“GS Caltex, the gas station that I fill up at on my way home, has 3 giant LCD screens running ads for big brands. Every convenience store has 1 to 3 video screens running ads. Video ads running in residential and commercial elevators. Subways and buses even have digital displays running ads and original content. Digital billboards everywhere,” says Lee.”Every day, we see first hand how video is helping businesses tell their stories more effectively.”