With the proliferation of user generated content, including visual content like images, brands, publishers, and developers alike are each looking for a way to build the most media-rich apps and websites. Enter San Francisco-based Chute, a Y Combinator alum that pivoted from being another photo-sharing app and later raised $2.7 million in seed funding from Salesforce and others. The company recently partnered with NBC News to release its new Mobile Reporting platform. Through the platform, staffers and reporters were able to capture and publish photos directly to NBCNews’ website while on hand in Washington, D.C. for Inauguration Day.
“NBC staffers for the very first time are actually walking around with a brand new iPhone app that lets them take photos and publish straight to NBC News,” said co-founder Ranvir Gujral in an interview with BetaKit. “We basically used Chute to launch a mobile reporting app that any news room, any news organization…any sports team can leverage. It’s their own staffers and their own team using this as a mobile reporting technology.”
Chute’s SlideChute solution has the startup already working with media companies including CNN and National Geographic in addition to brands like Live Nation to let them collect user-generated content through hashtag-driven campaigns, with the idea that they can control the visual experience on social sites like Facebook and Twitter, their mobile apps, and their own websites. The mobile reporting platform is an internal tool that lets publishers build custom mobile apps for their reporters on the ground to instantly publish visual content, which integrates directly with Twitter and creates an image URL that returns viewers back to the publishers’ site.
In addition to its solutions for publishers, the company also provides developers looking to build in any form of photo taking, sharing, or aggregating capabilities with software development kits (SDKs), an API, and several drop-in components to streamline the development process. Although it doesn’t yet charge developers, down the road it will based on the number of API calls and other engagement metrics. On the publisher end, it licenses the company’s technology based on the number of images it serves and the platforms they are looking to integrate, so the more they use Chute, the more they pay.
Though there are other platforms and apps like Cont3nt, Spread and Rawporter meant for citizen journalists, enabling them to submit their photos and other media content, Chute’s tool, although currently focused on internal staff reporters, could also be just as easily distributed and used by the average person on the ground. On the brand side, startups like VenueSeen, which recently opened up its API, allows companies to leverage photos generated on Instagram to run campaigns, while companies like gazeMetrix look to use image recognition technology to help companies engage with their consumer advocates.
Gujral said the company’s end-to-end solution, which is already being used to power content collection and generation on everything from LED screens in sports stadiums all the way down to television and everything in between, is what continues to set it apart. With smartphone-equipped journalists and everyday individuals continuing to generate content at an unprecedented rate, Chute’s technology gives companies both big and small the ability to tap into the trend, though whether this new reporting app will become the next big thing for reporters remains to be seen.