Socialcam raised a seed round 3 months ago. Today, it was acquired by Autodesk for $60 Million.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Socialcam
From the WTF department comes this fast sellout by a company I've heard referred to as SocialSpam and SocialScam.
In April they raised millions in seed capital: "Despite fast growth, Socialcam entered the Y Combinator startup accelerator earlier this year. It was actually Seibel’s second time through the program, as he had previously participated with Justin.tv. Not long after Demo Day, it raised a seed round of funding from a group of angels that included Tim Draper, Yuri Milner, Ari Emmanuel, Laurene Powell Jobs, Ashton Kutcher, Brian Chesky, Paul Buchheit, Alexis Ohanian, among others."
Today: "By all accounts, Socialcam is one of the leaders in the nascent mobile video sharing category, it’s growing fast, and with just four employees, it was operating pretty efficiently. So why sell out now, with a huge market opportunity ahead? Well, to hear Seibel tell it, the acquisition will ultimately will provide more freedom and flexibility to go after mobile video users."
What I think happened:
1. They got insane growth in April when Facebook opened OpenGraph floodgates. They used unsavory techniques (spam? porn? using video from other sources? trap-doors that took advantage of OpenGraph?) to grow from a handful of users to tens of millions of daily actives, seemingly overnight.
2. Facebook didn't like what they were doing and cut them off. Daily actives declined precipitously.
3. Meanwhile, competitor Viddy raised $30 million on the back of the same bad techniques (spam- and porn-driven Facebook Open Graph growth before Facebook cut them off).
4. So Socialcam had to decide whether to raise buckets of money to compete. Ultimately they decided that wasn't wise, and they took the cashout instead.
Autodesk is a strange acquirer since they know very little about consumer social and mobile.
So I don't give this good odds of working out.
Wow, What's Autodesk thinking... that seems really incongruous.
Ah... interesting. I can certainly see the use in the Real Estate market, something we've certainly been paying attention to.
Could not agree more with your assessment. Of course, I predicted that SocialCam could never be Instagram back when the hype was cresting:
Chris, this is such a crisp articulation of Socialcam's (and Viddy's) challenge that I can't say it better:
In the end, I feel like Video Twitter offers too poor a signal-to-noise ratio to be practical. And unlike live video stream a la Justin.tv (or, ahem, Ustream), there's no immediacy or interactivity to produce an addictive experience.
This isn't to say that 30-second snippets can't be powerful. In fact, even a four-second audio clip can provide a blast of nostalgia. But unlike premium content like classic movie quotes (or video game noises) I doubt that user-generated 30-second videos will represent a compelling experience.
Not only do I agree that this is why Socialcam could not build a lasting business, but it also made me nostalgic for the 13 tech sounds I don't hear anymore.
Nostalgia is a very powerful thing, and I'm thinking that as PandaWhale grows it will have nostalgic components to it.
I think of it whenever I save something to my History of Tech stash.
Nice price if you can get it... From the Socialcam side that is. Hoping Autodesk got some sort of rockin' IP there... Because it seems insane from their side if they didn't.
I sincerely doubt Socialcam had any significant IP. Instagram pioneered their space and Viddy has more employees. The 4 Socialcam employees likely spent all their time keeping the service running (rather than creating IP).