Meerkat is the Weasel and Twitter is the Woodpecker #weaselpecker
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Twitter!
At the beginning of this week, Meerkat hit 100k users thanks to SXSW, and Twitter shut down Meerkat's access to its graph because it wants to compete with Meerkat using Periscope.
Meerkat founder Ben Rubin is well aware of the fact that Meerkat can’t be fully reliant on any one platform. He mentioned that Facebook isn’t necessarily a good fit, given that content shared on Facebook usually isn’t seen by other users in real-time, as it is on Twitter.
But 100k users were already signed up before Twitter shut off social graph integration, meaning that their network was already populated with users they follow on Twitter. Should Meerkat move to an integration with the phone’s contact book, the way that Snapchat has been operating and growing for years now, there is no reason why the new livestreaming app can’t have its own self-sustained network that uses its own push notifications.
At the end of this week, Meerkat grew to 300k people who had tried it (200k on iOS, the rest on the Web), thanks to sharing from Jimmy Fallon, Snoop Dogg, and Ashton Kutcher.
People like Semil Shah and John Lilly and Mark Suster tweeted this week what a great product they think Meerkat is. Today Meerkat raised $12 million dollars from Josh Elman and Greylock:
This news was broken by AJS and Steven Tweedie at BI:
Meerkat is the third name for the company in as many months -- previously it was called Yevvo (founded in 2012 by Israelis) and then they changed the name to AIR in January when they raised $3.5 million.
Then they changed the name to Meerkat a month ago, and then raised a another $12 million today.
Did they really spend $3.5 million in 2 months?!
Meerkat competes with Twitter / Periscope, Ustream, and a feature in Snapchat.
Although I'm expecting Instagram and YouTube to come out with their own competition soon too.
Meerkat makes it rain:
From that article:
Joining Greylock in the round are David Tisch (of TechStars), YouTube founder Chad Hurley, actor/singer/songwriter Jared Leto, Sound Ventures, Vayner/RSE, Comcast Ventures, Sherpa, Slow Ventures, Soma Capital, Universal Music Group, Raine Ventures, Broadway Video Ventures, WME, CAA Ventures, and UTA. Previous investors Aleph and Entree Capital are in this round, as well.
There are some interesting names in there — ones I wouldn’t normally expect to see. Jared Leto? Universal Music Group? WME (the talent agency behind everyone from 2Chainz to Ziggy Marley, Alanis Morissette to Weird Al. Seriously, they represent like half the industry.)? CAA Ventures (the venture arm of the agency that represents the other half of the industry)?
Hollywood is into Meerkat.
Update: Oh, and Broadway Video Ventures! That’s the venture arm of Broadway Video, which makes a little show called Saturday Night Live. It’s Lorne Michaels’ thing.
The idea behind Meerkat, in case you’ve missed all the hubbub: open Meerkat, hit record, and you’re blasting live video to all of your Twitter followers. They can tweet at you to ask questions that’ll pop up on your screen for you to answer on air. That mechanism also helps to spread word of your stream to those who might follow both you and the commenter.
While live video broadcasting from your phone isn’t a new idea (see Qik, justin.tv, and many others throughout the years), its ultra simple design and deep Twitter integration (plus some good timing, with SXSW starting just as Meerkat was taking off) helped Meerkat find itself as something of a viral hit.
It’d be easy to write off Meerkat as something of a fleeting thing, particularly with Meerkat being so Twitter-centric just as Twitter acquires its own video streaming app, Periscope. We called Meerkat “the livestreaming app Twitter should’ve built“, and… then Twitter confirms they bought the as-of-then unlaunched competitor and immediately starts cutting off Meerkat’s access to Twitter’s social graph.
Greylock clearly thinks there’s more to this story, though, with Greylock’s Josh Elman calling it “the foundation of what [he] hopes will become a powerful new network.” and “a new beginning for live video”.