Today San Diego, CA-based Givit is launching its new iPhone video app, which lets users create video highlight reels. Before today’s app launch, Givit was a cloud-based platform and mobile app devoted to helping users upload, host and share videos. Launching today at the DEMO conference, Givit is also announcing it has raised $2.5 million in funding from ATA Ventures and JK&B Capital.
Givit CEO Greg Kostello said the funding will be used to build out the feature set, market the product, and expand it to other platforms like Android. Givit was born out of VMIX Media, a white label video platform that counted Flip, bought by Cisco and ultimately shut down in April 2011, as one of their biggest customers. According to The Wall Street Journal, Kostello cut the VMIX team from 22 to 10 to launch the new platform, first designed for uploading and storing videos, and now for creating highlight reels.
“This really realized our full vision, we kind of did this backwards if you will, but partly because of our legacy. We had all this infrastructure and we really wanted to convert it over into something we could use,” Kostello said. “That’s why we put the cloud service up first, and meanwhile in parallel we were working on this new version.”
Kostello said he created Givit because most people shoot videos today and leave them on their smartphone since the videos as a whole are boring. “When you think about editing photos, we take lots of photos and pick the best ones,” Kostello said. “But with video the only choice is to use tools like iMovie or Final Cut, but those are really inaccessible to most users.”
Using Givit’s app, users can record video and highlight certain portions to pull out, instantly creating a highlight reel of the best parts. After tapping the record button, users have the option of manually highlighting portions of the video, or using the instant highlight feature, which automatically highlights the previous seven seconds of footage. After recording, videos are saved and users can then combine that video with any others in their library, including videos stored on their iPhone, to create a highlight reel, selecting portions to highlight and deleting and reordering scenes.
The app also lets users add effects, for example setting transitions or making a scene slow-motion. Users can also add music from their phone, or from Givit’s library of custom music, and can control the volume at different parts of the video, for example making it louder when no one is talking. Once a video is finished, users can save it in the app, upload it to the Givit web platform, and share it with friends on Facebook, YouTube or via email.
Though the app is free, the company’s current video storage platform offers Dropbox-style premium accounts based on the amount of storage users need. In terms of who will use Givit, Kostello said the ideal user is someone who’s already shooting video today but is frustrated with the tools they have. “We wanted to target those people who are really creative,” Kostello said. “I bet you most of those people leave their videos sitting on their smartphone, because they’re boring, and they’re unedited, and they have no good way to do it.”
Kostello said his ultimate goal is to make Givit the Instagram of video, which other mobile video apps like Keek, Socialcam and Viddy have tried hard to do, though there’s no clear frontrunner. Since Givit is focusing on providing a cloud-based online storage solution along with a mobile app and a new Facebook app, it’s not as single-focus as Instagram and photos. Whether it can win out over other apps to become the Instagram of video remains to be seen, but it will likely resonate with parents and anyone taping a live event who wants to cut it down to just the entertaining parts.