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FightMe, An App That Lets You Challenge Others Through Video, Picks Up $1.35M In New Backing

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Apparently, there’s still life in the old social video dog yet. FightMe, an iOS app that lets you challenge others by recording and sharing 30 second-long videos, has raised a further, modest seed round of funding.

New backing comes from VC firm HTG Ventures, Daniel and Raphael Khalili (who also invested in Yahoo-acquired Summly), and David Reuben Junior of Reuben Brothers, who, together, have put $1.35 million into the London-based startup. This adds to the $500,000 FightMe raised back in October 2013.

Described as a “social video network” designed to showcase any talent or opinion, the iOS app (with Android pegged to follow) lets you post your own 30-second, unedited videos, and add appropriate hashtags so that others can browse and discover your videos. They can then choose to respond with a similar themed video, as well as follow you, or share your video.

The app also employs a voting system — called “applaud” — that works like Facebook’s ‘Like’ button and the videos with the most applause rise to the top.

Aside from its focus on “challenges” and video replies, the idea is pretty me-too, you might think, with the social video sharing and messaging space as crowded as ever. Apparently, not, says FightMe.

“We tend to think of ourselves as not having close competitors, though we probably do fit into the social video platform space,” Joelle Hadfield, the startup’s CEO, tells TechCrunch.

“We’re much more specific than something like YouTube, which is a social platform for any type of video at all, whereas FightMe brings purpose to video. Some platforms like Instagram offer video as just one part of their service, and are more about people on ‘broadcast mode’ – these videos are standalone things, but FightMe lets people set a challenge as well as join in, giving others constructive feedback, encouragement and applause.”

However, regarding how well that differentiation is working out, Hadfield won’t talk specific user numbers except to note it’s “early days” and that 10 percent of its users are “active” per-month, and 5 percent per-day, sharing on average 10 videos per-month.

I’m also told the U.S. is FightMe’s fastest-growing market, with around 50 percent of its user base there. To boost growth, the startup is using “brand ambassadors” who are focused on universities and societies, as well running a street team.

“We’re strong believers in the power of word of mouth which is why we’re focusing on our ‘master creators’ who create some of our best content and seed it elsewhere,” says Hadfield. “We are focused on bringing people on board that have large networks and are involved in ‘niche’ communities in the right areas, and they love it because they get to interact with and build up their own audience.”

Revenue-wise, FightMe sees brands using its platform as one avenue, which has already begun. The idea being that companies can set challenges via the app as a means to engage with a hard-to-reach young “urban” demographic.

Explains Hadfield: “Some of the ways brands partner with us include Promoted Challenges, where a business can sponsor a certain challenge, which appears as a promoted hashtag. Users can then upload their video response to be in with a chance of winning a prize whether that be apparel, concert tickets, etc. We work differently with brands according to what they’re trying to achieve, and we make it clear what’s advertorial or not as we don’t want users to feel it’s intrusive.”