Posted: May 01, 2008
Tech startup of the month: VideoBloom, IncBy Eric Peterson
Company: VideoBloom Inc.
Where: Greenwood Village
Founded: Q4 2006
INITIAL LIGHT BULB
The serial entrepreneur behind VideoBloom doesn’t stay in one place for too long.
"Every four years, five years, there’s a new project," said Antoine Toffa, the company’s founder and CEO.
In 1996, Toffa started Trip.com — which he subsequently sold for more than $300 million — and in 2000 he launched tamtam.com, an online import-export company.
A native Frenchman, Toffa connected with Russian-born "tech guy" Andrei Taraschuk three years ago online. Soon they learned they both were in Denver and of the same entrepreneurial mindset, so they launched a company together, CrabDish, which sells tools and code to Web developers via the website AFComponents.com.
Then in 2006, Toffa looked to the YouTube boom for yet another startup in VideoBloom.
"The first evolution of the Web was bringing text and pictures to the world," he said. "It seems only natural to get more information from video. With the convergence of technologies like broadband and Flash and the popularity of video-sharing sites, it became clear there would be big potential for businesses to use video on the Web."
Taraschuk and Toffa incorporated the company in 2006, and VideoBloom’s applications now get "millions of page views" a month, said Toffa: "We’re growing very fast."
IN A NUTSHELL
VideoBloom is positioning itself as a one-stop-shop for online video, from production to distribution to tracking and monetization. In March 2007, the company launched its first product, VB Platform (now dubbed VB Online Video), which allows users to upload, manage and distribute video, with three levels of service. The most basic — self-service — is free, hosting included, and allows users to essentially do it themselves. For a fee — usually in the thousands of dollars — VideoBloom offers streaming, editing and even production services to clients.
"Businesses use video for marketing, training, product launches, PR, plant tours," Toffa said. "It increases productivity, and it increases communication. It’s a pretty good tool for the 21st century."
Beyond the platform, the company’s products include private label software for companies to create branded video "marketplaces," video players for clients’ websites and templates for all sorts of video-based applications, from video business cards to video-based banner ads. VideoBloom will also take video shot for other purposes and "web-ify" it for clients.
Centennial-based Family Martial Arts Center hired VideoBloom last year to produce a series of video poomsas — tae kwon do routines — for students to study online. "It’s good," said Stan Shields, the school’s owner. "I get very positive feedback from my students."
"Everybody wants video," Toffa said. VideoBloom’s market is wide-ranging, but focuses on three key areas: companies with websites; marketplaces and directories; and Web, media and video professionals.
Toffa self-financed the VideoBloom startup with co-founder Taraschuk. The hunt for outside venture capital "is on the roadmap for 2008," added Toffa.
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