Pinterest is further investing in creator tools and video with today’s news that it has acquired the video creation and editing app Vochi for an undisclosed sum. The company will be bringing in both the IP at Vochi and its 40-person team, including its founders, to expand Pinterest’s set of video creation tools and to help its creators make more dynamic videos.
Over the past year or so, Pinterest has been attempting to shift its focus away from being just an image pinboard — a home to static images used to inspire purchases and plans. Instead, Pinterest now sees its potential as a platform for creators who can share their ideas in video format — whether that’s recipes, DIY craft projects, home décor ideas, beauty tutorials, fashion ideas or anything else. To capitalize on this activity, Pinterest this spring launched Ideas Pins — a video-first feature that lets creators tell their stories using editing tools like voiceovers, music, transitions and other interactive effects. More recently, Pinterest rolled out a new way for users to browse these videos in a TikTok-like “Watch” tab, where it encouraged participation with $20 million in creator awards.
Pinterest also introduced its own original video content, Creator Originals, and has been helping creators make money from their videos by tagging items for sale, participating in affiliate shopping programs and engaging in brand partnerships, among other things.
With Vochi, Pinterest says it will have the ability to bring even more quality video to its users.
The Belarus-based video editing app was founded in 2019 by Ilya Lesun, Anna Buglakova, Vasily Kasnitsky and Sergei Malyutin, and incubated by Andrei Avsievich and Yury Melnichek from Bulba Ventures. The app leverages a proprietary computer vision-based video segmentation algorithm that applies various effects to specific moving objects in a video or to images in static photos. Its effect lineup includes a “motion” effect to highlight movement, a “glitch” effect, a “clones” effect, those that change the light and shadows, or those that add animated objects to videos — like a burst of butterflies or neon shapes, and much more.
“To get this result, there are two trained [convolutional neural networks] to perform semi-supervised Video Object Segmentation and Instance Segmentation,” Vochi CEO Ilya Lesun explained to TechCrunch in a July interview. “Our team also developed a custom rendering engine for video effects that enables instant application in 4K on mobile devices. And it works perfectly without quality loss,” he had noted.
The app also offers filters for photos and video and other traditional editing tools. As of earlier this year, the app had around 500,000 monthly active users, around 20,000 who had committed to a paid subscription.
Pinterest told TechCrunch it was interested in Vochi because its technology is aligned with Pinterest’s investment in video as a format to help creators express themselves, and it appreciated how quickly the effects could be applied to video.
“Our vision is to create a place where Pinners can go from inspiration to realization, and having more creator tools can help us further this vision,” said Bin Liu, head of Creators Engineering at Pinterest, in a statement. “We’re excited to work with Vochi’s talented team to bring more video creation tools and quality content to our more than 400 million Pinners around the world.”
The Vochi team will continue to work in Europe and the Vochi app, for the time being, will remain a standalone experience instead of being removed from the app stores. (The company’s vochi.app website referenced on their App Store listing was not functioning as of this morning. It appears they had moved to another website, vochi.com, but didn’t update their app’s listing page with the correct information.) Pinterest declined to detail how it will later integrate Vochi’s technology into Pinterest directly, but a smart assumption would be that Pinterest would eventually offer its own video creation and editing experience within its flagship app.
Prior to joining Pinterest, Vochi had raised $4.2 million in funding and was on the path to a Series A. Investors in its most recent round included TA Ventures, Angelsdeck, A.Partners, Startup Wise Guys, Kolos VC and angels from companies like Belarus-based Verv and Estonian unicorn Bolt.