Some companies wait years between funding rounds, but startup Keek isn’t one of them – the company added $7 million in funding in September 2012, and today announced that they’ve raised another $18 million to scale their social video platform. The new funding comes after the company’s biggest month ever, with six million new users joining last 30 days alone, and 200,000 new users joining daily.
Since launching in early 2011 Keek has raised $30 million in total funding, and this latest round is led by Pinetree Capital Ltd., AGF Investments Inc., and Plazacorp Ventures, with participation from Cranson Capital (Cranson and Pinetree also participated in the company’s $7 million round in September).
The Keek team describes its platform as YouTube meets Twitter, a way for users to film and share short video updates called “keeks” with their friends via the company’s web, iPhone or Android apps. Other users can then provide “keekbacks,” or video responses. It’s similar to other social video networks including Klip, Viddy, and Socialcam, which was acquired by Autodesk in July 2012, though Keek limits its users to 36 second videos, and focuses on those video conversations.
“The way we differentiate ourselves is this: we believe that we are the only ones out there who have decided from the beginning to use video as a form of communication rather than a form of entertainment,” CEO Isaac Raichyk said in an interview.
Raichyk said that the company has been seeing a lot of international growth, especially in Europe, the Middle East and South America. In total it has over one billion monthly page views and 15 million monthly unique visitors, with four million user-generated videos created every month. Part of what this funding will be used for is local versions of the site, so international users see relevant recommended content and users.
“Our user base has been growing rapidly, and now we need additional funds to build infrastructure up, do some development to localize the service…because we have acquired such a huge international following,” he added. He also said they’ll be hiring, adding to their 40-person team.
When BetaKit spoke with Raichyk in September, he said the focus was on building the user base, not monetization, and that’s still the case. Though he did say they will be launching several features this year, he didn’t disclose what they might be or if they will be paid add-ons. The most likely channels for monetization include advertising, branded Keek channels, and freemium accounts for users who want additional features.
The company’s largest segment of users is the under-24 demographic, and includes celebrities including Kim Kardashian, who also uses new startup Pheed, which allows people to add a paywall to their online content (another possible monetziation option for Keek). The company will need to appeal to teens abroad in order to keep its international growth trending up, and keep bringing notable users on board to also rope in their fan bases. With no clear winner yet in the race to become the Instagram for video, it will be interesting to see if the company can sustain its meteoric growth over the past few months, and ultimately whether it can monetize its user base