Los Angeles-based Cap That wants to help anyone create a piece of custom merchandise based on a video or photo, and today the company announced that its service is now integrated with Instagram to let users create products based on their photo library. The company caters to both user-generated content and licensed content, which it provides for users through partnerships with content creators including National Geographic, IndyCar, Interscope Records and more recently Ubisoft’s Assassin Creed III. The startup also announced today that it has raised a $2.3 million Series B round of funding from Intertainment Media to scale the platform.
“We are going to change the way that users interact and perceive video and we’re going to do this by introducing this technology that allows users to watch video in the entertainment, sports, and user-created categories in order to capture their favourite moments and to make customizable canvas prints, posters, and a wide variety of merchandise,” said co-founder and CEO David Hibbard in an interview with BetaKit. “They can share that across their social networks or then post to our showroom for others to purchase. This is compelling for our partners as it’s a new revenue stream, it’s a new way to monetize content, and its a catalyst to promote all these brilliant images that have been up until recently locked inside of video.”
The company lets anyone create personalized merchandise from any type of visual content. Users upload their own images or videos or browse licensed content on the site, and the video capture suite breaks down the video into images. Once an image is selected, the site provides an assortment of filters, templates, designs, and frames for additional customization, which users can see across the different categories of product lines available. That includes apparel like t-shirts and hats, canvas prints, game controllers, iPhone cases, and laptop skins. Users then have the option to either share their creation across their social networks or post to the site’s showroom, a Pinterest-like showcase of user-created products available for purchase.
The partnership with Instagram lets users upload their entire photo library, in addition to photos and videos from their desktop or mobile device, videos from Facebook and video blogging platform Viddy. Hibbard added he hopes that users leverage the platform to tap into content from old home videos to create custom gifts, but said it’s also a great way for media and music companies to let their biggest fans create products using their content in a way that’s more meaningful than purchasing pre-made fan merchandise from a store.
As of now the platform doesn’t share revenue with an item’s creator when it’s purchased from the showroom, but Hibbard said they’ll be adding in incentives down the line. To start, for a limited time if a user shares their image and someone purchases it, the creator also gets that item for free. The company has a traditional revenue sharing model with its content licensing partners, however Cap That declined to share the exact details of the arrangement.
Personalized merchandise is another industry in which BetaKit has seen a great deal of recent activity, from 500px’s partnership with CanvasPop which lets shoppers and photographers order prints from its photography community, to startups like LoopJoy which launched recently to help mobile game developers build custom merchandise into the gameplay. There are also no shortage of companies looking to leverage Instagram’s popularity, allowing users to sell, curate, and print their photos. And of course there are traditional branded and custom merchandise companies including Cafe Press and Zazzle. However, Hibbard noted that the distinct video capture functionality is unique to the company, which could give the company enough of an advantage to gain traction in what Cap That says is a $300 million industry.
Up next for the company, Hibbard said users can stay tuned for some partnership news with major sports and media entities that would ramp up the site’s user base significantly with more exclusive and primetime licensed content. With the funding and key partnerships under its belt, the company is poised to be a go-to platform for highly engaged fans and users looking to transform their digital content into something more tangible. But until they provide revenue sharing opportunities for item creators, the motivation to create products for others to purchase might not be compelling enough.