While I love all of the startups in the Silicon Forest equally, SplashCast has always held a special place in my heart. Unfortunately, that scrappy Portland startup’s history has now come to an end. SplashCast has decided to shutter its operations.
While I love all of the startups in the Silicon Forest equally, Portland-based SplashCast has always held a special place in my heart.
You see, not too long after I came back to this side of the desk as a consultant, I had the opportunity to meet with QMind founder Mike Berkley a few years back—and signed an NDA, I might add—when he was getting ready to retool the company into what would become SplashCast. And then they hired Marshall Kirkpatrick. And Alex Williams. And they showed a great deal of promise.
Over the past several months, we’ve been less and less focused on our “free” product, that is, the user generated channels. While we have well over 100,000 publishers, we simply haven’t been dedicating attention and resources to this part of the business.
All successful startup companies must focus. SplashCast is no different. Therefore, we have decided to discontinue our user generated content product as of February 11. We want to give our loyal (and brilliantly creative) users a chance to find other services that meet their needs.
While I’m sad to see this free service disappear—especially when it comes to rounding up Ignite Portland presentations—I can appreciate where SplashCast is trying to go. And while it would have been great to see them offer a pay version of the user-generated content service, there were likely some legal ramifications of SplashCast making money off of people repurposing other people’s intellectual property.
Suffice it to say, while this is a painful announcement for those early users and supporters of the service, this has been—obviously—a long time coming. Better to see SplashCast gnaw off a proverbial leg to escape the trap, then go down with the ship. To completely mix metaphors.
Things are tough all over. SplashCast isn’t alone in reducing its free offerings to the benefit of the business. A couple of little companies of which you may have heard, Google and Yahoo!, are among the thousands of companies that have been going through similar slimmings to deal with the current economy, as well.
Finding focus is terribly difficult for any company—especially when it comes at the expense of faithful users. But it would be nice to see SplashCast sticking around. And if they have to forego their free services to do it? So be it.
Portland-based SplashCast, the service that makes it easy for anyone to embed entertainment channels practically anywhere on the Web, has just entered a partnership with a little online video company of which you might have heard, called Hulu.
Under the partnership, SplashCast will be building a bunch of custom players for Hulu shows. Anyone can pick their favorite show, take the player, embed it in their Facebook page or MySpace profile, and enjoy piping hot episodes of their favorite show delivered to their channel as they become available on Hulu.
If users can already embed Hulu videos, why do they need SplashCast? Because SplashCast enables users to embed channels—wrapped with social features—that can carry entire seasons of shows, if not a library of multiple seasons. Plus, it gives Hulu another mechanism to push content to its users, rather than expecting them to swing by Hulu to find the latest and greatest.
This is huge news for SplashCast. Hulu is currently one of the darlings of the Web, because it’s a traditional media play with high production value that understands how to work within the new constructs of the Web. That and they’re on track to make $90 million in their first year.
“The companies presenting at the conference represent some of the most innovative and creative companies from across the Northwest,” said John Hull, chair of the OEN Venture Northwest 2008 and managing director at OVP Venture Partners. “Some of these companies are seeking their first institutional venture financing while others have already received first rounds of capital from top-tier venture firms. In total, this list of companies represents well the broad spectrum of investment opportunities that flourish in our region”
Not only that, but I’m happy to report that there are some Web startups—and at least one open-source-focused company—on the list.
And four out of 14 isn’t bad.
So which of the Silicon Florist crowd got a nod to present?
OEN’s Venture Northwest is the premier forum for new and emerging investment opportunities in exciting companies from Oregon, Washington, and throughout the Pacific Northwest. This annual conference draws institutional investors and investment bankers from across the western US who are interested in the emerging companies that the Northwest has to offer. Companies that have presented at Venture Oregon have raised over $1.3 billion in venture capital since 1996 and over $68 million in angel investment.
Yesterday’s Lunch 2.0 at SplashCast was nice and cozy. Maybe it was my warning that space was small, the closed guestlist, the slightly incorrect address on the Upcoming event (sorry).
Or maybe people just had other things to do, like work.
Whatever it was, in contrast to the last few Lunches 2.0, only about 70 people filtered in and out of SplashCast’s semi-new offices in the old Merchant Hotel in Old Town. This worked really well for networking, since you could navigate the entire room, bouncing between conversations, and not worry about missing anyone.
As has been typical with Portland Lunch 2.0, Kim Ramage, our host, made a brief introduction to SplashCast and welcomed everyone. Then the networking and nomming began. Unfortunately, Mike Berkley, SplashCast’s CEO and the Lunch 2.0 instigator wasn’t able to attend.
Again, there’s that pesky work thing getting in the way.
Aaron hasn’t posted his photos yet, but I’m sure they will rock, as usual. Check his Lunch 2.0 collection on Flickr if you’re interested.
Thanks to Kim, Mike and the whole SplashCast team for opening their digs to us.
Yearning for more? No worries about space in the next few venues, the Art Institute of Portland (October 15) and the Eclipse Foundation (November 5). In fact, they’re both large, so bring your friends and colleagues.
Better yet, if you can find uninitiated Lunch 2.0 people, bring them along to spread the goodness.
Seems like ages since it was announced, so in case you’ve forgotten, the kind people at SplashCast will be opening their doors to the seventh iteration of Portland Lunch 2.0 tomorrow from 12 to 2 PM.
Ideally, you’ve already RSVP’ed on Upcoming, and you know where you’re going. The space isn’t huge, so we closed the guestlist a few weeks ago to avoid a crushing overflow of hungry Portlanders.
If you don’t feel like taking a chance and fighting a crowd, never fear, there’s always the October Lunch 2.0 at the Art Institute of Portland. That’s an enormous space, so bring your coworkers and friends. It’s still good to RSVP so they can plan the catering.
Anyway, I hope to see or meet you tomorrow.
Upcoming Portland Lunch 2.0s
October 15 at the Art Institute of Portland: This space is huge, plenty of room for everyone, so bring friends and colleagues.
In addition, I have soft commitments from hosts in the works for December, January and February. Looks like Portland Lunch 2.0 will see its first anniversary. Thanks to all the hosts and people who’ve made this a success.
If you want details about hosting, let me know in comments.
While the Merchant’s old lobby is the home to OTP now, SplashCast is up on the third floor, presumably occupying space that once was one or two guest rooms way back in the day. Kim Ramage has done a great job fixing up the space, and she’s eager to have you all come by for some lunch. So, now the skinny:
The space isn’t huge, so the RSVP if you’re definitely coming. We’ll turn off the list at 60 or so; if you’re not sure, decide on that day and cruise by later. The crowd generally thins out after 1:00 PM as people head back to work.
As always, if you want to nom veggie or vegan, add a comment on the Upcoming event indicating your culinary desires.
In case you missed it, Rick is celebrating his first birthday as the Silicon Florist with a Lunch 2.0 on August 13 at CubeSpace. RSVP for that event here, and stay tuned for another Lunch 2.0 announcement for October.