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Elevator Pitch: SpeakerText

SpeakerText adds transcripts to online videos. Can it raise $500,000?
Wordplay CEO Matt Mireles, a former journalist, got the idea for SpeakerText after searching for a way to link his articles to video footage.

The Pitch: "Our software lets you search for quotes within an online video, just like you would search for text in a document. We link the video to a synchronized transcript. Viewers can click on the text to jump to that point in the video. Right now, we have a few hundred users, who can either upload their own transcripts for free or pay us to transcribe the videos for them. Our goal is to develop partnerships with video sites and blogging platforms like WordPress to create transcripts for video bloggers. We're raising money to expand our engineering team and to license a voice-recognition tool that automatically generates transcripts."

CO-FOUNDERS: Matt Mireles, CEO; Björn Liljequist, CTO

LOCATION: New York City

EMPLOYEES: Four

LAUNCHED: January 2010

2010 PROJECTED REVENUE: $500,000

2011 PROJECTED REVENUE: $2 million

PRICE FOR BLOGGERS: $5 to $50 a month, plus $20 per hour of video for transcription

PRICE FOR BUSINESSES: $500 to $20,000 a month, plus a share of ad revenue

FUNDING SOUGHT: $500,000

The Experts Weigh In

Add More Features
This market is very competitive. There are companies that already provide similar services to enterprises. It may be valuable to target individuals, but that approach will take a lot of volume to scale. I'd want to see at least 25,000 users in the first year. I also think SpeakerText should think about augmenting its services, perhaps by adding tools for video syndication and tagging, to help engage customers faster. The more frequently customers are using SpeakerText, the less likely they will be to try competing services.

JON CHAIT
partner, Dace Ventures
Waltham, Massachusetts

Develop Partnerships
SpeakerText's service could be an interesting publishing tool. The challenge is accuracy. If SpeakerText can't deliver 99 percent accuracy in transcription, it won't work. Paying people to go through the transcripts and clean them up becomes expensive. I think the company needs a partner, such as Hulu, that can showcase the technology and prove that there is a compelling use for it. SpeakerText should focus on adding value to premium video content, which has a more proven revenue model than video blogging.

RICHARD DE SILVA
general partner, Highland Capital Partners
Menlo Park, California

Find a Buyer Quickly
I believe textual search in video will soon be a standard feature. YouTube already converts uploaded transcripts into video captions, and Google has voice-recognition capabilities, so it's only a small step from there into video search. I have seen SpeakerText's product, and it's a nice tool. But I think the company will have a hard time getting bloggers to pay up to $50 a month, especially if Google begins offering a free tool. SpeakerText's best bet is to bootstrap, get some customer traction, and go for an early sale to a strategic buyer in the online video space.

DAVID S. ROSE
chairman, New York Angels,
New York City

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IMAGE: Mackenzie Stroh
Last updated: Apr 1, 2010




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