With 30,000 advertisers in 8 months, Video marketing platform Virool lures in $6.62 million "seed round"
Virool co-founder Alex Debelov knew his paid video distribution platform -- turning a profit shortly after launching-- had tapped into a hungry market, but he didn't realize exactly how hungry it was until he hired a salesperson.
Eight months into the launch of Virool, and more than 30,000 small businesses, musicians, filmmakers and brands had signed up to try out the inexpensive, self-serve tools. A campaign costs as low as $10, as opposed to the $60,000 to $100,000 entry points of competitors like Sharethrough and Unruly Media.
But Debelov had never actually spoken to any of his 30,000 customers. He'd been too busy building out the self-serve platform to look up for a minute, even though some of those customers were already spending $20,000 to $30,000 on video promotion. So when he finally hired an account executive and told him to call up some clients, he was pleasantly surprised -- the sales associate closed $60,000 worth of business in his first week.
Today Virool announced it raised $6.62 million in a seed round of funding from a long list of angel investors. Here they are: Thomvest Ventures, Menlo Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Yuri Milner, Phenomenon Ventures, TMT Investments, DominateFund, FundersClub, as well as angel investors Sam Altman, Paul Buchheit, Troy Carter, Dave McClure, Farzad Nazem, Erik Moore, Mike Collett and Garry Tan.
The company is calling it a seed round, which feels a little silly at $6.62 million, but okay! Virool in December raised a $500,000 seed round from another, equally as long, list of investors that included crowdfunding site FundersClub.
The money will go toward exploding Virool's growth. After graduating from Y Combinator this summer, the company had what Debelov calls a "negative burn rate." The company has remained profitable but Debelov says the new funding will allow him to hire and grow more aggressively. He wants to push quickly into international regions.
There is clearly a place for an affordable, self-serve option in this market. Content creators want to distribute their longer form video content, ie., anything but pre-roll ads, and the vast majority of video content simply gets lost. Virool focuses on five market verticals: branded videos, movie studios launching trailers, musicians and labels, and app developers with demo videos. The company currently reaches 750,000 people every day and more than 22 million per month.
Virool is launching a new marketing stunt alongside it's funding news, appropriately, in the form of a viral video. It is using its own platform to get one million views on this video in 48 hours. As of the time of publishing, it had 10,000.
Lastly -- Happy Valentine's Day! -- Virool has offered a coupon code for $50 of Virool credits to 1000 customers at checkout -- use the code Valentines2013.