There’s a match made in heaven in the offing: New York tech startup Reelio worked out that when great YouTube video creators talk, people sit up and listen. But when brands do the same, people get skeptical. So they decided to become the “Match.com” of the “brand meets creator” YouTube world (the second biggest search tool on the planet, don’t forget). This is the kind of platform jobbing product managers salivate over.
As the company’s website puts it in relation to content creators:
“Brands need you to be the one that brings them to the party on the other side of town and says, “Hey, it’s cool. They’re with me.” Fortunately for you, brands are willing to pay for the privilege of your company.”
The more skeptical product manager may well have figured out that brands could easily identify the top 1,000 most popular video channels on YouTube without Reelio’s help. But Reelio’s algorithms will allow them to get much, much deeper: they collect and analyze user-created videos uploaded to YouTube, identifying talent that might not be so popular but is definitely capable of producing superb videos. These creators can — and do — reach a big, engaged audience.
Smart matchmaking algorithms
The company then helps brands identify the content that they’d most like to be associated with. As Pete Borum, Reelio’s CEO and co-founder, explains, it isn’t simply about having a hot video that attracts oodles of views and comments. The algorithms identify creators who consistently produce top-drawer content. And as soon as a brand is interested, Reelio approaches the creator and enquires whether they’d like to opt in to receive sponsorship offers from the brand.
There’s enormous flexibility on offer: brands can be deeply involved in the creation of their sponsorship videos or they can be totally hands off, simply giving Reelio a budget and letting it deal with the rest. Intermediate options are also available, although Borum is on record as stating that some of the best content emerges when brands leave complete control to outside talent.
Our skeptical product manager may by now be feeling rather more convinced of Reelio’s value to brands, a point not lost on investors: the startup has just raised seed funding totaling $1.295 million, courtesy of a round led by e.ventures.