Posted: April 01, 2012
Tech startup: CLVR LLCBy Eric Peterson
company: CLVR LLC
INITIAL LIGHT BULB Mike Wagle and his brother Scotty Starkweather launched Kingpin Performance, an automotive e-commerce site, in 2000 and were early adopters of online video and social media for marketing purposes. "We built our business on that," Wagle says. "It was pretty early for video."
After selling Kingpin in 2007, they embarked on a new startup in CLVR. "We thought we’d do what we did very well and solve the problem of monetizing video on the Web."
The company now has 30 employees, with Wagle serving as its CEO.
IN A NUTSHELL CLVR makes online video interactive. "You take any piece of video content, tag any item in the video, and you can associate any action with that hotspot," Wagle says. "A guy’s wearing a shirt (in a video), click on the shirt, and you can buy the shirt. What used to be a branding action becomes a conversion opportunity." In other words, a viral video becomes a viral shopping cart. Users can either do the tagging themselves, or a CLVR employee will do it for them.
Wagle says the CLVR’s video player "is very similar to YouTube. We host it and stream it. It’s just a different video player." Users can still embed videos in all the usual spots, but the interactive element opens up numerous possibilities, he adds. "You can create games — the easiest is a choose-your-own-adventure video. You can have Easter egg hunts and encourage multiple views. It’s just a more interactive and engaging exercise."
There are several pricing models based on per-view and per-click metrics as well as flat fees for longer campaigns. Entry level is around $500, says Wagle, escalating to "tens of thousands of dollars."
The company also offers Google AdWords, social media management and distribution services. New is a search-engine optimization for CLVR’s video player. "You’re going to be able to get in-video search results and see that product in action," Wagle says. "We’re trying to be a complete solution for video, really taking your video campaigns to the next level."
CLVR has worked with Denver-based snowboard manufacturer Never Summer Industries since 2010. "Our social media platform has completely taken off with their system," says Jeremy Salyer, Never Summer’s director of marketing. "They know what they are doing with technology and are very much on the cutting edge."
A recent interactive video on Never Summer’s website (www.neversummer.com) was a big success, Salyer adds. "We were pretty impressed with, number one, the click-through rate and, number two, how long people were watching it."
THE MARKET CLVR is focused on the action sports and lifestyle markets. Current and prospective clients include sporting-goods manufacturers, professional sports teams and marketing agencies. Wagle says education and training are future targets.
FINANCING Wagle self-funded CLVR’s launch and is now spearheading the hunt for $1 million to $1.5 million in outside capital. "We’re really looking to make a transition," he says. "We’re seeing this space heat up."
where Denver | FOUNDED 2008 | web www.clvr.tv
"The paradigm of advertising is changing. The lines between marketing and entertainment are so blurry now. The old model of ‘watch this ad, then watch this show,’ I don’t think you can get away with that anymore. " – CLVR CEO Mike Wagle
Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com