VYou raises $3 million for video conversation

Ronny Kerr · May 23, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/1ab9

Combining elements from YouTube, Facebook and Q&A services, VYou is no Chatroulette

The Chatroulette spirit will never die. We just want to video chat with strangers too, too badly.

VYou, a conversational video platform, announced Monday that it has closed a $3 million Series A financing round led by RRE Ventures and Highland Capital Partners. Other participants include High Peaks Venture Partners, Broadway Video Ventures, Kevin Wall, David Tisch, and Rick Webb.

“The social web has revolutionized every form of media it has touched — photos, news, location — but not yet video,” said Dan Nova, General Partner at Highland. “A massive opportunity awaits the first company to build an actual social network around video, which is the most engaging medium of all.”

Launched last November, VYou takes the “roulette” out of Chatroulette by helping users find the people they actually would enjoy conversing with. Before you can do anything on the site, you have to create an account with real information about yourself, like your name, birthday (you can hide your age) and interests. (I chose “music,” “classical music” and “art,” because I’m a total hipster.)

It’s all part of building your persona, which is complete once you’ve filmed a “Waiting Video,” a short clip of yourself (being awkward) that loops on your profile page, and a “No Response Video,” used when you don’t have a response to someone.

The weird thing about VYou, however, is that it’s billed as a video chat service, but no real-time video chatting ever happens. Rather, someone can ask you something via text or send you a video message, and you respond in kind. It slows down the conversation by making users literally record a complete video before sending to the other person.

With founder and CEO Steve Spurgat at the helm, VYou has been growing quickly since it launched half a year ago. The service now has partnerships with MTV/VH1, Hearst Newspapers, Simon & Schuster and the Newark Peace Summit. Over 20 million video views have been served on the new platform.

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