When Jen Grogono, CEO of Austin-based uStudio, launched the cloud-based video platform in 2010, she and co-founder/chief technology officer Josh Marshall expected their product to serve media companies.
Instead, Grogono said, experimentation and the growing use of video by corporations led uStudio to find its niche in providing enterprise video services for a wide range of companies.
An enterprise video platform is loosely defined as software that lets companies manage and deliver video for a variety of functions.
UStudio’s patented media distribution and management platform ensures that videos play smoothly on smartphones, Chromebooks and any other streaming device. The platform also tracks data including player load times, social shares and ROI and provides interactive options such as live chat, calls to action and purchase buttons within the video player.
As more companies use live or on-demand video to communicate with employees, customers and other audiences, Grogono predicts that soon “every corporation will become its own media company and will have media-like functions.”
“We essentially help them navigate all of the challenges and complexities that video brings with it,” Grogono said. “Video is not like any other corporate asset (due to its complexity).”
Some of the innovations from the consumer video world — such as how-to videos — now translate to corporate video. “Corporate learning and training is now being transformed with video,” she said.
As uStudio grows, Grogono predicts the companies will reach 35 employees by the end of next year (including a combination of on-site and external staff).
The company does not disclose specific financial information, but it is not yet profitable, Grogono said. She said she expects it to reach the break-even point in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Austin-based Keller Williams Realty uses uStudio for KW Connect, the online learning portal for its 140,000-plus associates.
Bonnie Sue Lovelace, director of media services at Keller Williams, describes the portal as a “YouTube for real estate.” Company associates “can upload videos and share knowledge or leadership tips,” she said.
KW Connect has a U.S. website and one for international associates, so Lovelace likes being able to manage videos on both websites all on one platform with uStudio.
“The player is extremely customizable,” she said. KW Connect is password-protected for associates only, so Lovelace says they’re also looking into providing some videos that would be available to new recruits.
“The great thing with uStudio is its extremely flexible,” she explains.
Keller Williams also uses uStudio to livestream its annual family reunion event to thousands of associates worldwide.
Other customers using uStudio include Dell Technologies, ACE, Universal Media Group and Panasonic. The company recently hosted its inaugural customer council where a hand-selected group of about 20 enterprise customers flew to Austin and met each other for the first time.
Grogono says uStudio plans to make it an annual event and add a developer council where technology leaders at the companies uStudio serves can meet each other and share information.
One key for uStudio’s growth came in 2011, when it received an undisclosed amount of funding from Eon Corporation (formerly TV Answer).
Eon has remained uStudio’s only investor, and Grogono says the relationship with Eon has proven invaluable for uStudio.
“They understand large enterprise,” she said. “They understand how to build a technology company. They invest on very long horizons … they’re looking for a quality business that has staying power and can ultimately deliver them a return.”
Grogono says Eon has also helped uStudio balance the need to build a great product with the need to understand the market.
“When you’re selling something new and there isn’t an existing line item on the budget, you have to be mindful of market dynamics,” she said.