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Saturday, Feb 4, 2023

Developer of Video Slide-Show App Will Go Dark

After nearly a decade of changing products and chief executives, video-embedding slide-show app company Slipp told users via email this week that it “is going away.”

Founded as a network of online shopping referral sites named ThisNext in 2006, the Santa Monica company had taken in nearly $9 million in venture capital from firms including Santa Monica’s Clearstone Venture Partners and Anthem Ventures Partners.

But by 2010, ThisNext decided it had fallen too far behind on social media shopping trends and should make a change. Matt Edelman was brought in from PeopleJam, a social shopping site he founded, to take over as chief executive. Under Edelman, some technology changes were made and ThisNext became profitable, but he told investors it would never give them the venture-sized return they wanted.

So Edelman and investors declared ThisNext a dud and changed the company’s business to a build-it-yourself digital magazine platform named Glossi. The new iteration received a small, undisclosed additional investment.

But Glossi, too, never caught on.

Edelman said investors “were not willing to finance the business in a way that supported the growth of a brand-new product” and part of that was due to internal investor disputes.

Others disagree.

“If anything, the investors have been criticized internally, amongst themselves, for giving it more money,” said Clearstone Partner Jim Armstrong. “The Glossi product was not working in our opinion. (Edelman) obviously feels that an opportunity was lost. If we saw it, we would’ve invested.”

By August 2013, Edelman was out in favor of a chief executive that investors thought had more digital publishing industry experience. His replacement, Rahul Sonnad, founded thePlatform, an online video player. He iterated the Glossi product and took the company in yet another direction, Slipp.

Slipp allowed users to take a series of videos from YouTube and embed each one onto a slide, thereby creating a kind of slide show that can be shared. Slipp never got much traction.

“It’s just a really tough space to break through in, social publishing, with so many offerings and so many incumbents that give you some format of visual posting,” said Sonnad in an email interview.

Now with Slipp shutting down, the company is selling off its assets, including ThisNext, which despite being left for dead five years ago is still generating revenue.

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