Spreecast has attracted another nice chunk of funding. This time, the San Francisco-based social-video platform founded by Stubhub founder Jeff Fluhr has raised money from insitutions such as Pittsburgh, Pa-based Meakem Becker Venture Capital, GGV Capital and MentorTech Ventures as well as Stan Shuman, managing director at Allen & Company.
Existing investors, such as Gordon Crawford, media and technology investor at Capital Research Global Investors, Sandy Robertson, founder of Robertson Stephens and Francisco Partners, and Edward Scott, Jr., founder of BEA Systems, participated again. This brings total funding raised to $11 million.
Spreecast launched in November 2011, and since then has seen unique visitors, number of videos viewed, and minutes watched grow, though Fluhr wouldn't give me any details, only to say that August unique visitors were larger than the months of April, May and June combined.
Spreecast is basically a platform that lets anyone broadcast with multiple people (Think shows where the host is interviewing multiple guests). On Spreecast up to four people can broadcast or have face-to-face interaction, while thousands of others can watch, chat, comment, and share across social networks, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
"People are social beings," said Fluhr, in an interview with me. "Facebook and Twitter have done a great job of helping people stay connected... What we want them to do is to connect on teh Internet around face-to-face conversations."
At the moment, Spreecast has a number of people using the platform for different reasons. Online journalists use Spreecast to augment their stories. As a way to promote her new daytime show, Katie Couric used Spreecast to talk with her fans.
Politicians use Spreecast to hold live town hall meetings with constituents. Even rock stars, like One Direction, have used Spreecast to meet with fans. Of course, since Spreecast is open for anyone to use, there are many promising (and not so promising), budding personalities who hold their own Spreecast talk shows.
But it's unclear what kind of Spreecasts will really take off. While creating social video broadcasts is unique, it's also pretty complex. It's not as easy as taking a video and uploading it to YouTube. So the adoption will take time with just your average person.
And, media companies won't just put their content elsewhere if they can't make money off it. To that end, Spreecast will soon enable the videos to be exported so producers can take their videos and put them on any platform where they can monetize those videos. But it's in these type of features that Spreecast hopes to make money. In addition, Spreecast is considering making money on advertising, and paid content (a producer will be able to charge his/her audience to watch a Spreecast, and Spreecast will take a cut of that charge).
Spreecast is similar to Google Hangouts, but is an open platform. But according to Fluhr, Google Hangouts enables people to broadcast with multiple people, but limits social media interaction to Google+ whereas Spreecast allows users to use multiple social networks.