Whether it’s your personal data or marquee publishers’ content, Facebook likes to have control over it. But it’s testing out a technology that lets publishers have more control. For now, a select few have the option to bypass Facebook’s video player and publish video using HTML5, directly into user timelines.
For publishers, that means they can put interactive elements into their video, the simplest being links. That’s not new, but it’s new for video on Facebook.
Dan Rowinski has reported six companies are in the pilot. The list includes Vimeo, Soundcloud, iHeartMedia and…Sharalike, a Boston photo-sharing startup you probably haven’t heard of. With an iPhone app launched in March of 2014, Sharalike has 800,000 downloads and 280,000 active monthly users. For comparison, Instagram had 1 million users in about three months.
But Sharalike also has some interesting technology. It’s so interesting, it has drawn the interest of a group of advisors whose names you’re likely to have heard.
So, what Sharalike promises is faster upload times for people looking to share a video from a mobile device on Facebook. To do this, the company turns a video into an HTML5-based animation of still images. It’s the reverse of what they started out doing, turning photos into slideshows automatically.
“Why would I create a video that’s going to take me 5 min to process and 10 min to upload because I have a shitty network.”
“Consumers like it for speed,” Leroy said. “‘Wow, that app is dead simple.’ It’s extremely easy to use and it’s very fast. Why would I create a video that’s going to take me 5 min to process and 10 min to upload because I have a shitty network when I can do it with Sharalike and it’s almost instant.”
Leroy and co-founder Aymeric Vigneras met because of gambling. The two had worked for a European online gaming company, Mangas Gaming, that bought a Cambridge company, CIDC. Vigneras came over to run it, and brought Leroy with him. They left to start Sharalike in 2012.
About that advisory board: David Chang is the chairman and Echonest co-founder Tristan Jehan is on it. So is medicalrecords.com founder Durjoy “Ace” Battacharjya. Pierrick Petain, a French gaming-industry executive who might be lesser known in Boston than Chang, Jehan and Battacharjya, is also on the advisory board.
Sharalike closed a $1.5 million seed about a year ago; it’s out raising again now. Damian Balsan from LoopPay (acquired by Samsung) is an investor. So is French VC Breega Capital.
Editor’s note: Earlier version of this story included a valuation figure that was (obviously) way off. It was included in error and I’ve removed it. Sharalike hasn’t told me what the valuation was on their seed round.