Last week - I saw so many extraordinary NY companies I hardly know where to start. Perhaps most surprisingly, there was a theme in the companies, with entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and experiences each coming at the video space in a unique and interesting way.
I spent a few hours at the NYU-Poly DUMBO Incubator at 20 Jay Street. The space is abuzz with energy and entrepreneurs, each in their own way exploring how they can make a mark in the New York scene.
I got a chance to spend time with Martin Lenclos, who is an Incubator tenant and the founder of the video startup Pipture. http://www.pipture.com/ Pipture bills itself as the first "mobile-first" broadcasting app "redefining the boundaries of entertainment programming for what we think is the ultimate entertainment platform: the smartphone."
Lenclos spent his childhood as the son of parents who traveled the world, thinking about cities and color. Dominique and Jean-Phillippe Lenclos reported their journey with books like "Doors of the World" and many more like these.
And Martin was clearly taken with both the asthetics of design and storytelling. But, as the world of his parents was built on photographs and paper, Martin's world is appropriately grounded in what is new today. He began with projects like Coverage3D a 3-D Web journalistic model for coverage and New York Exit New York (NYXTNY), http://www.nyxtny.com/ a virtual exploration of an artists view of New York. While 3D exploration represented the first part of his career, now he's entirely focused on video.
Lenclos describes Pipture this way: "As of today, Television is still the most widely used medium of visual entertainment. However, the most widely owned computer device is the cell phone. Pipture intends to do just that by creating a platform of high-quality original programming, recognizable as the first form of scheduled mobile media. Pipture's video segments are all less than 55 seconds long. This lets users watch short, mobile friendly videos. In addition to catching programs at their scheduled times, viewers can access any of the segments through the Pipture Library and Store. A mobile device's small screen and space constriction makes Pipture's micro-video broadcasting platform a natural progression for mobile media."
What I loved about talking with Lenclos was his passion for storytelling, and his history of doing more than pondering the future. He's grown up as an explorer, and is now brining that quizzical and keen curiosity to video. One look at Pipture, and you'll be both excited and suprised by just how far web video has come, and excited by where Lenclos and Pipture could take it next. Download the app and play with it - it's free and on the App Store right now. Very cool things to explore.
But my NY video journey was far from over. The next evening I was at Columbia University, hosting the gathering of video innovators known as the the New York Video Meetup. Four companies presented - each of them worthy of their time on the stage. Michael Nixon, of The Video Ink has great coverage of the entire event here and he gets the energy and vibe of the video space perfectly.
For me, having just spent time with Martin and Pipture, the mission and team behind Storyhunter.tv was the one that I haven't been able to stop thinking about. Before founding Storyhunter, Jaron Gilinksky was one of the pioneers of video journalism. With just a backpack, video camera, and laptop, he produced, filmed, and edited groundbreaking video reports that were featured on Current TV, CNN, PBS, Time, and many other outlets.
A truly global soul, he was born in Canada and raised in Miami. He has lived in South Africa, Spain, and Thailand and traveled extensively in more than 60 countries. Jaron spent the last decade in the Middle East, where he covered wars, revolutions, and peace rallies. Storyhunter was conceived when Jaron discovered that there was a gap between storytellers and filmmakers around the world and the distributors and news organizations that need their work, but don't have a clear process to find, manage, and assign reporting to the world's video journalists. Storyhunter acts as a central organizing point for global VJ's, inviting new content creators to contribute and helping to build bridges to media. As he describes their mission: "Storyhunter helps the world's top video journalists and documentary filmmakers produce stories for premium digital publishers." And perhaps most importantly, Jaron's vision for Storyhunter isn't simply a goodwill gesture or free UGC platform. Far from it. He wants to see his team of quality, serious, hardworking journalists paid, and paid fairly for their work.
"Technology is moving at lightning-fast speeds, but the ancient art of storytelling lags behind. There are plenty of people tweeting, sharing, and liking content, but there aren't enough creating media that matters" explains the Storyteller Manifesto.
"Scores of professional news operations have shut down their foreign bureaus. News aggregators are abundant, recycling the same stories over and over. We founded Storyhunter to empower local, professional video journalists to tell the world's most important, untold stories." To that, I say - BRAVO! You can - and should - read the Storyhunter Manifesto here: http://storyhunter.tv/about/manifesto
New York is embracing video in a way that is hard to explain if you're not inside the whirlwind. Entrepreneurs like Gilinksky and Lenclos are great examples, but there are many more. Innovators with the passion of journalists, the vision of technologists, and a driving sense that video can connect the world, solve problems, and open eyes. Oh, and yes - there's a business in this, for sure. Consumers are changing their behaviors from passive viewers to active participants. And if I'm sure of one thing, it's that we're going to see a growing community of video innovators in New York as the opportunities expand. So, as they used to say - Stay Tuned.
Have a great week NY Techsters...
Tips, events, or N.Y. Tech news? Email me at Srosenbaum (at) nycedc (dot) com.