Chute is a Y Combinator-backed startup that helps publishers and brands incorporate photos and other media (sometimes submitted directly by users, sometimes aggregated from social networking sites) onto their own websites. Now it’s offering similar functionality for real-world locations, thanks to a new feature called Chute Live.
For example, according to co-founder Ranvir Gujral, the Cosmopolitan Hotel has launched a “Pop Up Wedding Chapel” along the Las Vegas Strip, and it’s encouraging people to post photos of themselves on Twitter or Instagram using the #PopUpChapel hashtag. (The photos can be of real or fake weddings, but c’mon, it’s Vegas — do it for real.) Chute then pulls in the photos and displays them on screens throughout the chapel, including a “massive” one facing the Strip.
Chute Live customers could also build their own applications to allow event attendees to submit their photos. Gujral said that in addition to the Cosmo, Chute Live is also being used by the House of Blues, the Palms Hotel, and the NBA for this weekend’s All-Star game.
It’s a busy few weeks for the startup. It recently announced a mobile reporting platform too, creating an app for NBC News reporters (for starters) to post photos from the presidential inauguration directly to the NBC site.
I spoke to Ryan Osborn who leads the digital media efforts at NBC, and he said the company’s partnership with Chute (which is broader than just covering the inauguration — in fact, NBC used Chute to project photos on Rockefeller Plaza on election night) is still in the experimentation phase: “I think we’re going to continue to learn from Chute and continue to figure out the solution.” Still, he had high praise for the Chute team, particularly their “drive to succeed” and the speed with which it can take an NBC idea and turn it into a product.
As Chute continues to roll out new functionality, the company is starting to give a broader sense of its ambitions. Back when it raised funding from Salesforce.com and others, we called Chute “Twilio for media content” and when I met with Gujral a few weeks ago, he outlined a similarly broad vision for the future.
“Wherever there’s image content being used I think we will be the conduit for it,” he said. “Wherever visual content exists, we will control it. Our large, audacious founder claim is that if you’re not Google, Facebook or Netflix, one day your media infrastructure will live on Chute.”