ClipMine Improves Videos With Crowdsourced Tagging And Annotations

So this happens to me pretty often: I pull up an online video that I want to watch, only to be taken aback when I realize that it’s 10 or 20 or 30 minutes long. It’s particularly frustrating when there’s just one section or just one quote that I’m looking for. I end up skipping around trying to find that one bit — not exactly a great experience.

A new startup is trying to fix that. With ClipMine, you get searchable videos, with a table of contents.

For example, here’s a curated collection of videos related to startups. With each video, not only can you see an outline of all the big topics covered and jump to the section that interests you, you can also search for every time something gets mentioned (though your success will depend on how thoroughly the video has been tagged and annotated).

Let’s say you wanted to see Y Combinator’s Sam Altman and Asana’s Dustin Moskowitz talk about starting a startup — but you’ve already got an idea, so you really want to know how to turn it into a viable product. Well, you just find the product section in the TOC and skip ahead.

To be clear, ClipMine isn’t trying to build its own video player. Instead, it sits on top of players like YouTube. (You can also install a plugin to see the ClipMine player anywhere you see YouTube videos.) Founder and CEO Zia Syed said his aim is to build “the personalization engine, the metadata layer for the video ecosystem.”

The initial annotations were created by the startup’s editorial team, with help from the company’s algorithms, which automatically suggest annotations. Over time, ClipMine is hoping to build up a community of annotators. Anyone can add enter a YouTube, Vimeo or Dailymotion URL and start creating annotations, or they can add content to an already-tagged videos (though there’s an approval process for popular videos that might attract trolls).

In the initial usage, Syed said that ClipMine has improved engagement rates for videos by around 50 percent. In addition, he said that video publishers can get more data — not just how many people watched their video and for how long, but also the specific sections they clicked on and the topics they were interested in.

ClipMine has raised $2.6 million funding from angel investors including Google board member Ram Shriram, former Facebook vice president Greg Badros, entrepreneur Amarjit Gill and Cadence CEO Lip-Bu Tam.

And hey, if anyone wants to start annotating TechCrunch videos, be my guest.