There’s money in them loops — apparently. Coub, the Russian startup that lets you create and embed looped, 10-second video clips, has raised a new round of funding. Now seeing 50 million unique viewers per month (up from 8 million a year ago), the company has added $2.5 million to its coffers, courtesy of Vaizra Investments, the fund headed up Lev Leviev and Vyacheslav Mirilashvili, the co-founders of Russia’s Facebook competitor VK.com. It follows a previous $1 million funding round from local VCs Brothers Ventures and Phenomen Ventures.
The site, which lets users upload videos or extract them from YouTube or Vimeo, clip them to 10 seconds and loop them with music, competes to some degree with something like Vine or Instagram’s new-ish video functionality, as well as other video ‘re-mix’ upstarts, such as the UK’s StepUp, which we recently profiled here on TechCrunch.
However, whereas Vine and Instagram are all about short video clips filmed and uploaded by users, Coub places more emphasis on clipping — a maximum of 10 seconds in length — and looping existing content pulled in from Vimeo and YouTube, as well as adding an optional music soundtrack. The result is more akin to a music video, but, due to its short, looped nature, also has the ‘appeal’ of a humble GIF.
“When someone asks me the difference between Coub and GIF or Vine, I show them this Coub,” says co-founder and CEO Anton Gladkoborodov. “If it was a GIF, it wouldn’t have sound. In Vine you are filming by yourself while Coub is part of the remix culture. The content is the difference. You can’t make this in GIF or Vine.”
That said, Gladkoborodov notes that Coub and GIFs have “similar” usage, and the popularity of the GIF medium shows that the startup is moving in the right direction. “Both GIF and Coub are part of the same culture, which is gaining strength,” he says.
Today’s new funding will be used by Coub for expansion — it’s already opened and office in New York — and to add to its current web and iOS app. “In terms of product development, our main focus is on mobile,” says Gladkoborodov. “We are working on an Android app now, in addition to a couple of new exciting features, which will be launched soon.”
Meanwhile, on the thorny issue of monetisation, he had this to say:
We are experimenting with different forms of monetization in local markets to find the best solution for the clients and for our audience. For example we work with some movie studios as a part of their marketing activity and have involved our community to create Coubs from movie trailers, which generates millions of views. Coub is also a discovery platform: it helps users find new music, movies and games. So the content creators can use Coub as a source for a new audience.