The company announced Wednesday an undisclosed Series C funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2, whose portfolio spans the buzziest consumer platforms from ByteDance to Cameo.
Using up to 30 "multivariate tests," Jellysmack said it can determine what titles and editing tricks will help videos rack up views and engagement across Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Youtube.
About 200 content creators use the service, like YouTubers like PewDiePie, MrBeast and Bailey Sarian. The startup trims down the length of their videos and edits thumbnails and subtitles. Once videos go live on YouTube, Jellysmack runs paid advertisements and targets "an audience that is highly likely to be interested," said spokesperson MK Glenning.
Take Brad Mondo, a hairstylist and social media personality with nearly seven million YouTube subscribers. A year after joining Jellysmack, the company said his Snapchat followers grew by ten times and his Facebook followers by four.
"Media consumption has pivoted massively in recent years with mobile video content rapidly outpacing TV," Yanni Pipilis, managing partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said in a statement. "There are now 50 million creators but only 0.1% are able to make a full-time living from their content.
The startup, founded in 2016, boasts 10 billion global video views and 125 million viewers across social platforms each month. It also publishes videos on Jellysmack's own social channels, spanning beauty, soccer, gaming and entertainment.
Jellysmack went profitable in 2020, and doesn't charge creators. Instead, it makes money instead through a revenue share model using income generated from the social platforms under their management.
And it wants to go global. The investment from Softbank's CEO and Chairman Masayoshi Son will help the company expand internationally. Glenning would not disclose the amount of this funding round, but prior to it, said the unicorn had raised $40 million.
The creator of YouTube "channels" launched a new online video platform for learning on Tuesday, taught by a roster of iconic artists and celebrities from Madonna to Deepak Chopra.
Bright is the L.A.-based brainchild of Guy Oseary — investor and music manager for acts including Madonna and U2 — and Michael Powers, who was behind "channels." Their new platform focuses on livestreamed, interactive teaching sessions.
At launch, Bright boasts over 200 hosts, whose source of fame and following spans the traditional to the digital. Madonna, Ashton Kutcher, Amy Schumer, the D'Amelio Sisters, Judd Apatow and Deepak Chopra are among current instructors.
"At YouTube, we saw that 20% of video views were learning content from individual creators," Powers said in a statement. "There is an incredible appetite to learn from other people and I wanted to develop a platform that provided more interaction and intimacy."
Initial courses include a "Tell Your Story" guest interview program hosted by actress Laura Dern and "Champions Talk" with basketball analyst Kenny Smith, who will interview athletes about their competitive psychology. The stars of reality show "Property Brothers" offer a course on home design, and Ronnie2K — known for offering tips for winning video games — offers tips on how to build a gaming career.
Hosts on Bright will develop a curriculum and set the schedule, class-size and price, of which Bright will take a 20% cut. Courses will fall into one of six categories: body, mind, culture, home, money and craft.
The company was founded in mid-2020. Oseary's Sound Ventures, which he co-founded with Ashton Kutcher, is the lead investor. RIT Capital, Norwest, Globo and Slow Ventures also participated in the seed round. The company did not disclose how much it has raised.
There's no shortage of competing platforms. MasterClass also sells celebrity-led courses, and just raised a $100 million Series E round of funding. Bright is seeking to differentiate itself by offering live, interactive sessions it bills as more akin to conversations, and Oseary is leveraging his rolodex to power the company.
Powers, intimately familiar with Google-owned YouTube, thinks Bright can provide a boost to creators and celebrities that other platforms cannot.
"The fact that creators don't even know who their core audience is, because these ad-driven platforms won't tell them, means they can't take their business to the next level," he said.
In addition to its 200 initial hosts, Bright says it has over 1,500 more on its waitlist. Apart from a handful of them who are company advisors, they did not receive financial incentives to join.
Bright is the L.A.-based brainchild of Guy Oseary (right) — investor and music manager for acts including Madonna and U2 — and Michael Powers, who was behind YouTube "channels."
Instead, Powers said, what attracted them is the opportunity to expand their business of being a celebrity and strengthen their fan relationships. When Bright users opt-in to updates about a host's courses, they also consent to sending their contact information.
"That allows the creators to then take those people to their mailing list. They can take them to their Shopify shop," said Powers. "Whatever they have going on in their business, they can connect those people into that bigger universe of things they're doing."
It's a contrast to what many other video platforms do, particularly those whose business is selling ads.
"When you have an ad-driven platform from the beginning, the ownership of the relationship of your audience is fundamentally with the platform," said Powers.
"Is a Google sales team going to truly value an individual high-profile creator on their platform?" he added, implying their primary constituent of interest is the advertiser.
Bright is built atop Zoom, using the video chat company's software development kit through its partnership program. Bright will add customized features that, for example, allow hosts to invite users to speak with them "on stage."
Working under Powers, who will be Bright's CEO, is a team with experience at numerous tech companies, including Caffeine, Instagram, Pinterest, Apple and Facebook.
"I was there at the beginning of the creative economy coming in on YouTube," said Powers, "and now it's time for them to go even further."
NASA's Ingenuity helicopter survived its first night on Mars despite temperatures that can reach minus 90 degrees, a sign the craft is well-insulated, clearing a major hurdle for the mission.
NASA's Pasadena-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory is operating the solar-powered helicopter remotely and expects the chopper to liftoff after April 11. The flight will allow us to see another planet from the air for the first time and will be livestreamed on NASA TV, its website at NASA.gov/live, and on its YouTube channel.
"If we are successful, it will prove that aerial flight on Mars is within our grasp," JPL's director of planetary science Bobby Braun told dot.LA. "We're going to start with a very simple flight -- go up, move around a little and come back, and then we'll expand our flights, and go higher and faster."
NASA didn't set a hard date for the launch, partly because it needs to make sure the weather on Mars which can be unpredictable – and the machinery – are right for takeoff.
Ingenuity is basically a tiny helicopter custom-designed for flight on Mars, and its primary mission is to hover over the Red Planet's surface and take videos and photos to send back to Earth. It had been attached to the Rover Perseverance until it was released on Monday.
Over the next day, Ingenuity will collect information about how well it's able to stay warm and maintain power to ensure it can withstand the harsh Mars nights through the entire flight experiment period.
On April 7, the craft's restraints that held the rotor blades together will be released before a battery of more tests are performed. Then, it's take off.
The entire project cost NASA roughly $80 million. JPL announced Saturday that Ingenuity had completed a successful drop from the belly of the Perseverance rover and survived its first night on Mars -- no small feat, since the helicopter is solar-powered.
Braun said that this step could be a small one on the road to sending humans up to Mars to explore.
"There's certainly a very compelling rationale to explore Mars robotically as a means of gaining knowledge and insight, and as a precursor for human exploration," Braun noted.
The Ingenuity mission is a huge collaborative effort. NASA contracted several California companies to help design and develop Ingenuity, including San Diego-based Qualcomm, which created the computer chips used in the rover and helicopter that allow NASA to maneuver it from millions of miles away. Simi Valley-based AeroVironment which was brought on to design the helicopter's custom-made rotor blades specifically designed to take off in the thin Martian atmosphere.
NASA will livestream the launch on NASA TV, its website at NASA.gov/live, and on its YouTube channel. On-demand recordings of the event will also be available on YouTube once the live stream is concluded. A NASA spokesperson said that other recordings from additional feeds will be uploaded to the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission website as they become available.
In order to get the NASA TV channels, viewers will need a Digital Video Broadcast-compliant Integrated Receiver Decoder, since the TV signals are transmitted from a satellite via digital C-Band signals. It might be easier to just check YouTube.
For those looking for raw footage, a clean feed of mission activities will also be available on the NASA TV media channel and YouTube.com/JPLRaw.
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