Everyone knows that founders matter. In web-scale social media companies, they matter even more than usual. They matter because founders have a north star that can help keep a company sailing true through rough seas, even as channels change, markets change and consumer behaviors change. They provide the vision that tells a company when to stay the course, and when to tack.
The most successful social media companies are still run by their founders. Facebook. Snapchat. Instagram. WeChat. WhatsApp. Tumblr. The companies that we have seen stumble, stumbled when their founders were no longer at the wheel. Vine. Twitter. Reddit.
They stumbled because the north star of the founders was not there to guide the company in a period of transition. When things changed, these companies were too slow to react. New management was loathe to make changes to the formula that had worked in the past.
Yet, when these founders move on, they tend to see success again in their next venture. It shows just how special these founders are. Jack Dorsey launched Square after Twitter. Ev Williams launched Medium after Twitter, and Blogger before. Alexis Ohanian launched Hipmunk after Reddit. Too much signal to be noise.
I first met Colin Kroll, Co-Founder and CTO of Vine, about 18 months ago. He had just left Twitter, which had acquired Vine several years earlier. I was immediately impressed by his intensity, his vision, and his off-the-charts technical prowess. Through him I met his Co-Founder at Vine, Rus Yusupov.
Today Colin and Rus are launching Hype.
Hype is a platform that brings a host of new production tools to the talented creators of mobile video, so that they can experiment with a new generation of genres. Creators can add pictures, GIFs, animation, video, and all sort of visual effects to their live streams, and soon will be able to add additional cameras as well.
There has been an explosion of capability in TV since the early days of television. Multiple cameras, visual effects, production and post production create the slick TV experiences that we see today. These advancements have enabled the proliferation of genres that we now enjoy; Morning shows, Evening News, Daytime Talk, Late Night, Game Shows in every flavor, Dating shows, Singer Discovery, SitComs, Police Procedurals, and the list goes on and on.
Colin and Rus were convinced that format proliferation and higher production values would also come to mobile video, if creators were just given the right tools. Who will be the Oprah of mobile video? Who will be the John Oliver? This isn’t just about porting TV genres to mobile video. It is about creating new genres, native to the mobile native format and to the mobile-native audience.
Colin and Rus convinced me that we are still in the very early innings of video moving away from television to other screens. There are already some fascinating formats developing on Hype. I know that with these tools in the hands of the creators from Vine and Musical.ly, and YouTube, we’re about to enter the Golden Age of mobile video.
We’re excited to lead the first round of financing in Hype and see what Rus & Colin and a generation of new creators do with the platform.
You can read more about Hype straight from the team over here.