SundaySky came out of stealth mode today, announcing its first round of institutional funding. Globespan Capital Partners and Carmel Ventures led the $8 million investment round for this Israeli start up, previously backed by Yossi Vardi.
I’ve been waiting for this announcement for quite a while, after hearing feedback from a friend who saw the company’s demo and described it as ‘game changing’. SundaySky spent the last couple of years developing technology that makes online video more accessible to content publishers who want video on their website. Through its DynamicVideo™ platform, the service extracts content from the target website and molds it into high-quality professional video clips. The clips are generated on the fly, and remain current with the ever changing content of the website. So, imagine a site like TripAdvisor, with thousands of images and text for hotel destinations. Using DynamicVideo, each hotel could have his own automated video slide show accompanied with a professional ‘voice over’ narration.
SundaySky is initially targeting three verticals:
- eCommerce – the most obvious use for SundaySky’s technology is the ability to increase conversions and differentiate online retailers. Features include product videos, infotainment video featuring the product’s features, price and deals, users’ reviews as well as product comparison videos the encourage impulse buys.
- Social Networks – In order to help social networks increase their distribution and user acquisition, SundaySky offers social network users the ability to produce a personal clip using their own pictures, create video invitations, broadcast a personalized news cast updating users on changes in their network
- Media Publishers – one of the most important features for a media publisher is the ability to leverage existing content. SundaySky gives content-rich websites the ability to better engage with visitors by presenting video clips with top stories, polls, user-generated content, sponsorship messages and website-specific items.
So what’s the difference between SundaySky and slideshow technology like Animoto?
SundaySky offers a hybrid model: a combination of a creative team as well as an automated process. In the first phase, SundaySky works with the client on the concept, enabling the client to choose from a set of templates, graphical assets and visual and sound effects. Then, through an API, the DynamicVideo™ Platform seamlessly integrates with any database or content management system to extract the dynamic content and incorporate it in the video. The end solution is interactive videos, including clickable links which direct users to appropriate pages in the website or to other video clips. In addition, the videos are always fresh – using the content that appears on the web page.
In the words of Yaniv Axen, founder & CTO at SundaySky who emailed me about the announcement:
You can think of our technology as the PHP of online video: instead of manually producing static videos, we enable automatic generation of videos, based on dynamic data from the website’s content repositories and complex server-side business logic.
For example, E-Commerce websites can present product highlights video, in which reviews, rating and prices are always in-sync with the website’s data. They can also offer a comparison video which generates a comparison between two or more products on the fly.
Jonathan Seelig of Globespan added :
“When I first saw SundaySky’s technology, I had the same feeling that I had when I was shown my first dynamically generated web page a full decade ago. At the time, I thought that dynamic web pages would revolutionize the web – and they did. SundaySky is in a position to do the same thing for web video content.”
SundaySky was founded in 2006 and has a headcount of 25 and it is based in Israel with a NY Sales and Operations office. The team is comprised of video technologists with vast experience in multimedia synthesis and processing algorithms – including the two founders of the company, Shmulik Weller and Yaniv Axen, who met in their military service and both worked at Veon, a video company sold to Phillips. The creative team includes directors, designers, animators and script writers who bring videos the professionalism of a TV production.
Watch the demo: