Tech accelerators in Silicon Beach such as Amplify.LA have done their best to fortify and bolster the local technology industry over the last few years by providing new companies with seed money, office space, mentorship, and networking with VCs and other entrepreneurs.
Now, a feedback loop has started to form, with entrepreneurs who joined accelerators in the early part of the decade and since led their companies to exits emerging once again to launch startups.
One such company is Culver City’s Replicated Inc., co-founded in September by Grant Miller and Marc Campbell. The pair founded Look.io, a mobile chat service that was the first business accepted into Amplify’s accelerator back in early 2012. By that June, the company had been acquired by New York’s LivePerson Inc. in a sub-$10 million deal.
Now, Miller and Campbell are back at it with Replicated, a startup that helps enterprise companies tailor cloud-based software to suit their needs.
Replicated closed a $1.5 million seed round last month, led by New York’s Boldstart Ventures. Local firms TenOneTen Ventures and Mucker Capital also participated in the round, as did local angel investor Tom McInerney and Amplify Managing Partner Paul Bricault, among others.
“There’s a very strong mentoring community in L.A.,” said Miller when asked what made him want to stick around. “It’s very collaborative. We happened to have great people that can build the stuff here, so we don’t have to be in San Francisco.”
And what did they learn from their first go-round?
“I don’t think we ever expected that we would be able to build things that millions of people were using, and we did that with our first company,” said Campbell. “It’s sort of recognizing that you can build amazing things if you set out to do it in the first place.”
One Santa Monica app maker is trying to make it a whole lot easier for TV, music and sports fans to legally share their favorite clips and highlights with friends online. And venture capitalists are betting they’ll be able to pull it off.
Whipclip just raised $40 million in a Series C financing round led by New York’s Eminence Capital, which has also taken a seat on Whipclip’s board.
Downtown L.A. venture capital firm Greycroft Partners also participated in the round, as did talent agency William Morris Endeavor and law firm Ziffren Brittenham, two major Hollywood players that have invested in several entertainment-related tech companies over the past year.
Whipclip allows users to find and share clips of just-aired TV shows and sporting events as well as search for specific moments from past programming.
Whipclip material can be shared within its proprietary app, but building a social network to compete with Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat isn’t easy. In order to solve that problem, clips can also be shared on other platforms. The company said its videos have been viewed more than 10 million times during the last three months within its app and on other websites.
“We think most of our usage will be outside of the app,” said Richard Rosenblatt, Whipclip’s chairman and chief executive who co-founded the company last year with Ori Birnbaum. Rosenblatt also founded Santa Monica’s Demand Media. “We’re also discussing with Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr how we can enhance our experience there.”
Whipclip has secured partnerships with major broadcast and cable channels, including ABC, CBS, Fox, Turner, A&E and Bloomberg. The company has also signed deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music, and has roughly10,000 music videos accessible to users.
In addition, it also works with dozens of Web publishers and allows those sites to embed Whipclip videos in news stories almost immediately after they air on live television. A variety of content is available, including reality competitions, comedies, dramas, talk shows and sporting events.
“Whipclip has empowered our editorial team to insert high-quality, licensed content directly into everyday stories, giving our storytelling a completely new dimension,” said Colin Digiaro, president of Culver City digital publisher Woven Digital, in an emailed statement. Woven owns sites such as Uproxx and BroBible.
The arrangement is free for publishers, and Whipclip plans to use some of its new cash to build out tools and features that will make it easier for editors at those sites to find and manage content.
Though content owners are not compensated now, Rosenblatt said Whipclip plans to roll out an advertising model in coming months that will allow all parties to generate money from video views.
“We’re the only app right now that has the legal right to share these TV shows,” said Rosenblatt.
Staff reporter Omar Shamout can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 549-5225, ext. 263.
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