$1.5 million funding for Meravideo – joke or sign of boom?

Written by: Madhur

On Nov 12th, 2006

Introduction
Recently came across this post at Mashable (thanks Vaibhav for point this out to me) that exposes how Meravideo.com is a rip-off of a $300 product from some software company. And if you haven’t read before, they recently claimed to be close to closing a round of funding worth $1.5 million. The interesting thing that I wanted to discuss here is whether this is a joke (how can you launch a company by buying an off the shelf product and get funded!) or a sign of a boom time (when you can convince investors that doing your laundry online is the next ground-breaking innovative idea to be implemented as a web service).

Reality check
I tried to contact Meravideo to get the real scoop, but there has not been a response so far (rather I did get a response that they would love to chat about this, but haven’t heard back since then). Personally, I think India is not really ready for video right now (I might be wrong, but I would not invest my time/money in doing this type of thing considering the Internet and more importantly broadband penetration and the online ad market, more details here). I know that a simple strategy is to build up a large user base and get acquired by a big company, but then again, would any big company be interested in acquiring such a site that is full of mostly sleazy bollywood videos?

What if you still want to play and try your luck?
Now just playing a bit of devil’s advocate: I do not think that this is a joke as Pete Cashmore of Mashable thinks, I just think this is more a sign of boom time. But lets say you ignore all the reality and are convinced that you can build a large monetizable user base in a short time. What would you do in this type of case when you are just trying to copy a web2.0 idea from the US market and do it for Indian markets. I think instead of building the technology from ground-up, you might as well focus on more important aspects such as marketing and trying to attract more users and innovating ways to get users to generate more and more content on your site, compared to others. The main idea is anyways validated in the original concept, the most innovation that is required in Indian Internet (Web2.0) companies I think is how to get users to come to your site and spend maximum time there and generate content for you (for example, I believe Meravideo is going to try revenue-sharing for attracting users to submit videos). So what’s wrong with the approach of taking an existing product and building on top of it? Think about this – what is the barrier to entry for other players in such a venture? Its not the idea, its not the technology (these are copied anyway from a model that has already worked bigtime). But if there is already a player who has strong foothold (in a small market) – thats a real barrier. After all an investor is much less interested in how you build the UI or the technology, and more interested in the fact that you are able to show them that there is a considerable market and you are successful in acquiring a large chunk of it.

Bottomline
Where I am going with this? The point I am trying to make is twofold:

  • If the news is really true, to me this is a sign of boom that such sites are getting funded.
  • If you are trying to catch on to the boom to kind of just try your luck, it may not be a bad idea to start with some thing existing and add features suiting to the targeted demographics and more importantly focusing on trying out new business models and marketing gimmicks to attract users and spend more time on your site. Of course you can do slightly better by not being as blatant and changing the skin a bit so as to not look as conspicuous, for example like ApnaTube. If you look closely, do you really think they are any different?

Entry Filed under: apnatube,meravideo,web2.0

9 Responses

  1. 1. IndianPad said on November 12th, 2006 at 10:50 pm

    $1.5 million funding for Meravideo – joke or sign of boom?…

    $1.5 million funding for Meravideo – joke or sign of boom? posted at IndianPad.com…

  2. 2. Anonymous said on November 19th, 2006 at 10:06 am

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  3. 3. Joe said on November 30th, 2006 at 11:47 am

    Hi, there is a new online video service called AapkaVideo that allows you to upload and share videos with others with ease. AapkaVideo is a totally free online service and users have to register an account for free just to upload videos.

    AapkaVideo content is aimed at the Indian user, who wants to showcase his creative talents by uploading videos created by him or his favorite videos. After registering a free account with the service, users can immediately start uploading videos. Users can share these videos with friends and family by creating sharable links and emailing them to others.

    The interfaces are pretty simple, nice and user-friendly. There is an option to share multiple videos at a time. You can easily browse through the categories available and select videos and also upload videos to a particular category you want. By entering relevant tags, users will be able to get better search results. AapkaVideo supports almost all the popular video file types.
    AapkaVideo allows users to report videos that are offensive, obscene and illegal. Besides the site reserves the right to immediately terminate the account of a user, who uploads videos that violates the site’s terms of service. Who knows whether AapkaVideo will be the next YouTube?

  4. 4. VideoDubba said on December 5th, 2006 at 7:50 am

    Latest entrant with unique homebrew videos — http://www.videodubba.com .

  5. 5. Vishal said on December 12th, 2006 at 3:03 pm

    there is a better site making rounds called http://www.connectfilms.com . this site has both desi and international videos side by side. i heard it is backed by some UK media company

  6. 6. Rohan Pinto said on January 30th, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    I wish i had that kind of funding for my spinoff video sharing hub called KONKAN TV.

    Well, with KONKAN TV the key is the OFFLINE video player, which enables you to download and watch videos while your offline… I hope that keeps the dialup users happy….

    anyway, I’d appreciate your take on KONKAN TV (regardless of whether the review is good or bad)

  7. 7. santhosh said on February 4th, 2007 at 7:23 am

    hi,
    i saw a new website canaratv.com and canaravideo.com which has highest number of videos in india. the site looks entirely different. i think it is indiginiously developed has more than 1000 original videos something good and easy to access

  8. 8. lavi said on March 7th, 2007 at 10:33 am

    hi,
    i saw a new website http://www.canaravideo.com which has highest number of videos in india. the site looks entirely different. i think it is indiginiously developed has more than 2000 original videos something good and easy to access

  9. 9. Amit Sharma said on March 18th, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    There is one more site, which has very good and latest indian videos. It also allows users to upload and download videos for free.

    http://www.layfile.com

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