Toronto-based Keek, a micro-video sharing app that allows users to post short videos called “keeks” and share them with friends and family, announced today it has closed $7 million in funding led by Cranson Capital Securities with participation from Pinetree Capital and Whitecastle Investments. Keek plans to use the funding to expand its social video sharing service to meet demand (it added two million users in the last month alone), and invest in the platform and infrastructure to achieve that goal.
The company launched its services in early 2011, and secured a previous round of $5.5 million in its initial seed round in May 2011. ”We started Keek in early 2011 because we wanted to create a social network that was more authentic and personal. We are committed to delivering the fastest, most engaging social video experience,” CEO Issac Raichyk said in an interview.
Keek lets users upload videos, or “keeks,” via a webcam or through their Android and iPhone app, and share them with their social networks. Each video lasts for no more than 36 seconds, and other users can then respond with a video response, termed a “keekback,” with the goal of creating conversations around videos. Users also have access to a robust analytics dashboard that let’s them keep up to date with views, followers, embeds, and subscribers.
Raichyk said the company has yet to formalize any monetization plans for Keek, preferring to keep focused on building the user base. However, the most likely revenue streams will revolve around advertising and other customer engagement strategies for brands.
Video-sharing platforms are quickly becoming a hot commodity, with several social video-sharing networks gaining traction with early adopters and notable celebrities. Some of the more popular networks include Viddy, SocialCam (which was acquired by Autodesk in July), Spreecast, and Klip, which provides a similar dashboard allowing individuals to use video to broadcast themselves to the world and keep up to date with their friends, celebrities, and people of interest.
The closest competitor to Keek would be Tout, another video-sharing app that lets users post 15-second video status updates, which others can then “retout,” reply to, and embed. Raichyk said Keek’s focus on social interaction as opposed to video editing and aggregation gives it an edge over other competitors, despite the size of their traction and user bases.
“Unlike competitors in our class, Keek’s community is logging a massive amount of original user-generated videos and social activity. Keek is fast and extremely easy to use, our 36 second time-frame gives users the perfect amount of time to tell a meaningful story and then share it in real-time with others,” Raichyk added.
Having increased their user base by two million in the last month alone, Keek’s user base is nearing 10 million users in total. With the additional funding under their belt, Keek will be a video-sharing platform to watch as more and more users use their smartphones to capture and upload videos. It remains to be seen just when video will be on par with photos in terms of popularity and adoption, but Keek is betting that it’s just a matter of time.