What does it take to grow your business from 10K views last year to 15M today? Kyle Michelson, Founder and CEO of Streamup, a leading community of streaming video content producers, has a credible opinion on the subject matter and shares with us his insights from the impressive growth at his startup.
Tell us about the product or service.
Streamup is a community for streaming together. We make it fun and simple for anyone to host entertaining shows for their followers. Think of it like the next generation of television – it’s more than just passive viewing, it’s about the shared experience of watching together and interacting with the broadcaster.
How is it different?
Live streaming is typically thought of as live video, but that’s a very small component of why viewers tune in. Streamup’s north-star is the experience of watching and chatting together simultaneously more than it is about whether the content itself is live.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We don’t only want to replace other live streaming platforms. We want to replace television. Even with key demographics moving online and numbers declining – TV is still a $41B industry in the US alone. And yet when viewers are asked in market surveys why they continue paying for the bill, the most common response is because of live programs they can’t get elsewhere and the shared experience that creates – e.g. watching live sports together.
What is the business model?
We’re laser focused keeping the experience of using Streamup immersive and will make every effort to avoid ad-based models. One particular model we intend to implement is tipping, whereby a viewer can tip a broadcaster to show appreciation and interact with the show. For example, a musician can be tipped for performing a song you request. Think of it like Kickstarter in that respect – you get the experience you pay for. Already on competing services such as Twitch, top broadcasters can make over $240K/yr from streaming for an hour per night and the service takes a cut. We can and will do better.
While studying at LSE in London I realized I loved their dry sense of humor, but I wanted a way to experience it back in LA. That gave me the idea to create a group video chatting community where you could meet people in any part of the world. Unfortunately, there was very little demand so we tested and tested to see what would work. It turned out that by dropping the group video chatting feature and focusing solely on one person streaming we wound up catching fire. Within one month we grew from 10K monthly viewers to 60K and 12 months later we’re now up to 15M.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
Launching native apps for iOS and Android and implementing our first steps toward monetization.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the community who would it be and why?
We’re fortunate that our growth has afforded us many VC options. Therefore, it would likely be a strategic in the entertainment industry.
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
It means being in the epicenter of entertainment for a company that’s acutely focused on entertainment. There’s no better place for us.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
Without a doubt it’s showing how much value there is in existing industries, which have been established here. When you look at companies in NY many focus on media, fashion, advertising – in SF it’s social, big data. Here we can leverage off entertainment, the aerospace industry, and more. That should be the selling point.
Where is the best place to watch the sun set in Los Angeles?