Many businesses begin with a simple, and then nagging, frustration. For Christian Yang and Neil Joglekar, it began with Entourage. Well, after Entourage. In college, as big fans of the show, they found themselves continually searching for clips of their favorite one-liners or the best scenes so that they could share them with friends. Naturally, after numerous fruitless searches, they quickly grew frustrated by the inability to find and share their favorite clips.
So, in 2008, Yang and Joglekar founded ReelSurfer out of their Stanford dorm room, developing technology to allow people to sift through the mountains of video content on the Web to find that elusive 30-second clip. Today, ReelSurfer is officially launching in public beta and, in turn, the startup is announcing that it has joined the summer batch of Y Combinator startups.
Since moving out of their dorm, the co-founders have been boot-strapping, testing and iterating on their product as part of a multi-year-long private beta. ReelSurfer set out to solve the problem of finding the right video clips online, which, using YouTube as an example, can often be a fool's errand. So the co-founders developed technology to convert long-form video into 30-second clips, allowing users to then save, share and buy that content.
Initially, ReelSurfer took shape as a white-label solution, providing its video search and processing capabilities to universities and media networks, for example, enabling them to create a centralized hub for their digital video content, along with archiving (and organizing) news or classroom footage for future use.
The startup has since built an impressive roster of advisors, which include William Fay (the executive producer of 300, The Hangover and Independence Day), Yahoo Senior Director Anand Chandrasekaran, Carl Rosendahl (founder of PDI, which sold to DreamWorks and the executive producer of Antz) and Morphlabs Biz Dev VP Margo Drakos.
As part of its public launch today, the Menlo Park-based startup now allows anyone and everyone to clip and share any video from any website. To clip a video, users enter the video URL on ReelSurfer's website or use their bookmarklet. From there, users can combine and organize clips into reels and share them with friends.
But why would you want to make clips, you ask? Joglekar says that, in the end, the whole point of sharing video is to have someone watch it, but the sad truth about our attention spans is that videos lose half their audience if they're longer than 15 seconds. So, by keeping it short, you increase your chances of becoming a video star.
As to ReelSurfer's own intended audience: The co-founder sees the platform having appeal to, say, friends who want to trade one liners from movies, or a bride who wants to share her wedding vows, Kickstarter clips, or maybe colleagues swapping cat videos.
As part of its launch, the startup is also adding advanced profiles so that users can link their reel collections to one central page, as well as built-in clip commenting.
For more, ReelSurfer's homepage here.
This story originally appeared in TechCrunch.