Tech Editor-Boston Business Journal
With consumers now taking more photos and video on their smartphones and tablets than ever before, there’s an opportunity for traditional media companies to tap into that market. Some companies have latched on to that faster than others.
The company has raised $5.5 million in funding from a variety of angel investors, including TV personality Katie Couric and her husband, Jay Molner; along with Fay Vincent, the former baseball commissioner ( American City Business Journals, which is the parent company of the Boston Business Journal is also an investor). Burst is now finalizing its Series A funding round, McBride said.
Burst was founded in 2011 and was initially focused on providing an app for consumers to share video over a private social network. About 100,000 people downloaded the Burst app over two years, but the company’s mission changed to focus on broadcasters and brands, Bryant said, more than a year ago (the company still has a consumer component, but it doesn’t actively promote the service).
McBride, a serial entrepreneur, said that broadcasters and other companies want control of their own intellectual property and “there’s people taking video at big events” (think of all those videos that get posted at a Red Sox game or the Boston Marathon or concerts).
“The broadcasters see an opportunity to engage people in the same way,” he said.
McBride said the technology allows users to send a text message to a number that gives those users a unique web address to which they can upload their video.
McBride said Burst has eight paying customers, including New England Sports Network, which uses Burst’s technology to allow viewers of a Red Sox game, for example, to contribute their own video to a broadcast of the game. The network expanded the use of Burst to also include Bruins games recently. And McBride said there are about 20 other customers in the pipeline.
Another customer, music channel VH1, recently used Burst to let viewers of a concert submit their video.
McBride said the startup’s target customers include broadcasters, live event producers, legacy publishers and in initiatives related to video delivered over the Internet to different devices in a consumer’s home.
Although McBride would not disclose revenue for Burst, the company currently has nine employees at its office in Boston’s Financial District and McBride said that number will probably double over the next year.