Mobile video apps like Keek and Vine have made headlines for their simple focus on capturing and sharing mobile videos, with everyone trying to pinpoint which app will be the “Instagram for video.” Kincast, one the latest entrants in the social video space, aims to provide a new way for families to share moments with each other through its iPhone and web apps, taking a similar approach to family-focused social networks Origami and FamilyLeaf, but focusing exclusively on video.
The startup launched in December 2012, and while in beta prior to its public launch it racked up 20,000 users. The design and development of its products were done through a partnership with Indiana-based startup accelerator SproutBox, which also invested $250,000 in Kincast.
“What we’re trying to do with Kincast is frankly be the best way to share kids’ videos with the grandparents, that’s the simplest use case to think of, while being focused on mobile,” said co-founder Raul Mujica in an interview with BetaKit. “It really came out of our own personal frustrations with ‘too long to email’ or ‘too long to text’ warnings or roadblocks while emailing video over the phone, because the files were really large.”
Looking to target parents and families who prefer not to upload their videos to YouTube or Facebook, the default setting of Kincast is private. Users are able to select contacts from their phones and create groups for instant sharing both in-app and via a URL sent over email or text. It also has private video messaging and text chat functionality, in addition to the ability to create video greeting cards for events and holidays.
Mujica said about 70 percent of users are using the service to share videos between family, while the second most common use case is sharing among college friends. Though there’s no shortage of options available when it comes to the social video space with everything from Klip, which also has private video messaging functionality, Streamweaver, which is spearheading the social video creation trend, and Vine, Kincast looks to differentiate in a few ways.
To begin with, recipients of videos shared through Kincast don’t have to set up an account and can chat, view videos, and engage with those using the app, something specifically made with grandparents in mind (though most video apps let users watch videos without having an account). The other factor Mujica highlighted was that users don’t have to put a time limit on their videos, like Keek’s 36-second time limit, with built-in cloud storage so that neither the creator or person receiving the video has to store the video on their device. With that, Kincast specifically looks to cater to parents who film their children’s recitals or concerts through their smartphone.
The service is free for up to 30 minutes of cloud storage and then $2 per month for up to 3 hours, and $5 per month for unlimited storage plus additional premium features. Mujica said they are seeing strong conversions from free to paid accounts, though he wouldn’t divulge any specifics.
The company is currently busy working on a tablet offering geared specifically towards grandparents to make engagement and viewing the videos as easy as possible. Currently available for iPhone and web, Kincast will also look to make the jump to Android, although videos shared through its service are accessible on any device. With more than a handful of startups in the space, each with their own take on social video and family social networks, Kincast’s laser focus on families may prove to help the startup capture a niche piece of the market. But just how big that market is, and how much of it they can attract when there are a variety of other private sharing apps, remains to be seen.