YouTube Founder Backs ‘YouTube for Business’ Startup

SoftTech and Andreessen Horowitz also invest

A new startup called Vidyard is banking on the hope that businesses and brands need an alternative to YouTube. Oddly, it looks like at least one of YouTube's founders agrees.

Jawed Karim (who founded the video supersite with Chad Hurley and Steven Chen in 2005) just participated in Vidyard's first round of funding. Other investors in the $1.75 million round include SoftTech VC, Y Combinator, SV Angel, Andreessen Horowitz, iNovia Capital, Gmail creator Paul Buchheit, and others.

Vidyard was part of startup incubator Y Combinator's most recent class of companies, and when it pitched investors at the firm's Demo Day in August, YouTube played a big role. The company showed a promotional video for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet that had been posted on YouTube, and it pointed out all the reasons why YouTube is not actually a great environment for BlackBerry. The video was surrounded by ads for competing devices, the first comment complained that the PlayBook "sucks," and when it was over, there was no obvious way for the viewer to learn more or actually buy the device.

In contrast, Vidyard promises to give companies more control over their videos. There are no ads, customers can add a call-to-action at the end of a video, and they also get access to analytics data about who's actually watching.

The company is announcing new features today, including the ability to post videos on Facebook and Twitter, to optimize videos for search engines, and to play them on iOS and Android mobile devices. Customers can publish Vidyard videos on YouTube too, and pull analytics data back into Vidyard. The startup may be trying to build a YouTube alternative, but it's not doing it without YouTube.

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