The Covid-19 pandemic has encouraged people around the world to embrace video conferencing, both for work and in their personal lives. And while the crisis eases in some parts of the world, the demand for live video online is not dissipating – Zoom, for example, has seen its use continue to increase throughout 2021.
This is a phenomenon that the 100ms live video infrastructure platform believes it is well positioned to exploit. The company, whose founders include former executives from Facebook and Disney, today announced a $ 4.5 million funding round co-led by venture capital firm Accel. It’s a deal that CEO Kshitij Gupta sees as potentially transformative, both for his company and for his customers. “We see video becoming a crucial part of the fabric in many businesses,” he says. “Our job is to democratize access to video.
100ms offers a suite of SDKs that allow developers to integrate audio and video capabilities into their applications and websites. This is crucial, Gupta explains, because so far very few organizations have been able to offer their own live video. “It’s really quite difficult to do from a technical point of view,” Gupta explains. “Video is very difficult for developers.”
This poses a problem for both businesses and their customers. Currently, businesses that want to interact via customers using video cannot do so with their own apps or websites; instead, they have to rely on third-party conferencing services when they don’t have control of the features and risk losing the direct relationship with customers. As for the customers themselves, they are frustrated with having to log out of apps and open video conferencing software – or simply a complete lack of video functionality.
The 100ms solution is a simple kit that any organization can download and integrate into their applications and websites. This instantly allows the organization to offer its own live video facilities, with customers able to join seamlessly. The video is white-labeled as the application provider’s own service.
“The pandemic has accelerated user comfort with live audio and video experiences,” adds Gupta. “However, it has been difficult for developers to add such experiences – 100ms extends access to white label benchmark live experiences for millions of developers.”
The company believes its tool will have applications in a wide range of industries. Obvious examples, where video is already playing an increasingly important role, include virtual events and conferences, the education sector and telehealth. But other industries are also increasingly adopting video – gaming is expected to be an important market for the company, as is fitness.
E-commerce could also prove to be crucial, allowing retailers selling online to showcase products and answer questions from potential customers in real time. Already, 18% of Chinese e-commerce involves some form of video interaction, Gupta points out.
100ms believes that the experience of its founders in the video industry gives the company a head start in the deployment of its services. Gupta is a Facebook Live veteran, for example, while Sarvesh Dwivedi, another co-founder, previously worked for Disney. The third founding member of the team, Aniket Behera, also has extensive experience in product management, engineering and video infrastructure.
This track record was one of the attributes that attracted investors to the company, says Abhinav Chaturvedi, Accel partner. “We believe that all applications in the future will have integrated video and audio,” he says. “100ms is the best team to create the best development product to do this. “
At STRIVE.vc, the other round table leader, partner Nikhil Kapur adds: “An extensible open platform, built by audio and video streaming experts, and supported by a budding engaged community, instantly got us going. confident that the 100ms team is building a leading global infrastructure development company. “
The funding has enabled 100ms to significantly expand its developer team, with over 30 staff now working on the product. The company officially launched its service at the end of August and already has nearly 20 registered customers. Early adopters include Indian ticket booking service BookMyShow and social streaming service Flyx.
The 100ms business model is based on a pay-as-you-go proposition, with customers paying based on how many of their customers are using company-provided video and for how long. This pricing structure should appeal to businesses of all sizes and the service is geographically independent with 100ms having already taken customers in Europe, Asia and North America.
This is just the start, promises Gupta. “We’re starting with video conferencing, but over time we’ll be able to do a lot more,” he says. Organizations will increasingly integrate video into their processes, he believes, citing authentication tools in the banking industry as an example. “Video is a complex issue, but it’s also going to be essential for businesses, so with our tool developers don’t have to be afraid of it anymore. “