Israeli startup interview series by Startup Intelligence
Wibbitz provides web developers with a plug-in which automatically transforms static web content into an interactive video. The company was one of the five winners at Seedcamp Tel Aviv 2011, an early-stage micro seed investment and mentoring programme. Startup Intelligence caught up with co-founders Zohar Dayan (CEO) and Yotam Cohen (VP Business Development) to find out more.
Wibbitz was started in response to what its founders observed as a change in the way people consume content on the web today. “Users now want their consumption of content to be more intuitive”, Zohar explains. Wibbitz answers this call by enabling web producers of content like images, headlines, and body text to easily convert these into a dynamic video format. The upshot for the web user is the resultant visual overview of any given website’s highlights.
Co-founders Zohar and Yotam are both business graduates from IDC Herzliya. The idea for Wibbitz was hatched while they were both enrolled on IDC’s Zell Entrepreneurship Program, the comprehensive business education course for outstanding students funded by legendary entrepreneur, Sam Zell.
Prior to this, Zohar, a programmer by background, had already built up a track record as an internet entrepreneur, most notably starting up KosherDine.com, a popular online guide to Kosher restaurants. By contrast, before IDC Yotam was an army naval officer and commander of a combat ship, an experience he says is the source of the organizational expertise he brings to the company. All subsequent additions to the team, which now includes a chief technical officer, a chief developer and a “client-side master”, have been friends and collaborators from previous projects.
Wibbitz’s original distribution strategy was to focus on “long tail” publishers; not the relatively few blogs getting tens of millions of hits but potentially, as Zohar puts it, “every blogger in the world”. As a means of achieving such a widespread level of adoption, Wibbitz has created a self-service tool which allows web content producers to create their Wibbitz-powered interactive videos in a matter of minutes. Indeed this tool is one of the key differentiators between Wibbitz and its competitors (e.g. SundaySky) and will help it to scale. Going forward, the company will also be targeting larger web publishers and is currently in talks with some Israel-based major players.
At the moment the offering is free, but there are plans to begin monetizing in two ways: by adopting a freemium model whereby web publishers can pay for extra features and by integrating advertising in an arrangement which will see web publishers and Wibbitz share the ad-revenues.
The impact of being a winning entry at Seedcamp Tel Aviv has been entirely positive. “We were connected with great mentors and their feedback showed we are on the right track”, says Yotam. So far, the company has been totally self-funded but following their recent successes it is currently working on its first round of external funding.
As for the long term vision for Wibbitz, Zohar wants it to be “the ultimate way to consume content in a ‘lean back’ way across different platforms”.
Contributed by Startup Intelligence. Startup Intelligence provides free content to tech entrepreneurs and writes about them
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