For many folks, eLearning seems to be a realm only destined for those corporations with the wherewithal to develop, produce, sell, and distribute that content. That for individuals, getting that content in front of the intended audience—even in this day and age—is an insurmountable hurdle.
It’s never a happy to thing to have to report on the demise of once high-flying and well-funded Portland startups. But that’s exactly what happened, last year, when Portland-based SplashCast wound up switching off.
What happened? Why did a company that had secured $4 million in capital fail to materialize? CEO Mike Berkley gave us his take on it. And now, SplashCast exec Tom Turnbull and investors Angela Jackson and John Karl will give us their take on the SplashCast demise, tonight at the OEN Pub Talk. Read More
[HTML2][Editor: The following is a guest post by Mike Berkley, who served as the CEO of Portland-based SplashCast until its recent demise. Mike and I have had any number of conversations about the startup scene here in town. And I asked him if we wouldn’t mind putting his thoughts into a post. The first post—of hopefully many—follows.]
Preparing for the Next Web Boom
Since putting SplashCast to rest a few months ago, I’ve finally had time to reconnect with the entrepreneur community here in Portland, as well as in the Bay Area and NYC. I’ve packed my days full of coffee, apricot scones, phone calls, and meetings… lots of meetings. I’ve talked to dozens of entrepreneurs and investors.
Two themes have surfaced in this process. Read More
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.
We knew full well that Portland-based SplashCast was shuttering their user generated content (UGC) features. That’s been coming for months.
When initial word of the change in direction reached the SplashCast user base, there was an expected outcry of dismay. But when it finally came down to it, keeping the UGC stuff going simply didn’t pencil out. As such, SplashCast decided to continue focusing on its Social TV efforts where it was gaining traction. And the June 1 shut down of the UGC features came and went without much notice.
Until today. Read More
We’ve all got that one friend. You know? The one who talks on and on and on while you’re trying to watch your favorite TV show? The one you’re always trying to get to shut up.
Well, the time for rejoicing is at hand, my friend. Thanks to Portland-based SplashCast and their latest endeavor, “Social TV.”
What’s Social TV you ask? Read More
Portland-based SplashCast—which has gone through any number of interesting permutations as they worked to find a revenue model for their technology—has just announced that they will no longer be supporting free user-generated channels. The decision had to be a tough one, given that it was this community groundswell that brought the service to the attention of its current customer base: media companies and advertisers.
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.
Which shows? Well, a number of popular Hulu titles made the cut:
SplashCast has plans to carry 20 popular Hulu shows from a variety of networks. For NBC, the shows include The Office, Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, Chuck, and Heroes. FOX offerings (which I’m betting will get the most play with the social media crowd) include The Simpsons, Family Guy, Arrested Development, House, Bones, Fringe, and Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles. Additional shows include Battlestar Galactica, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Nip/Tuck, among others.
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.
I’m not seeing a post on the SplashCast blog yet, but you can read the press release, CenterNetworks, or my write-up on the SplashCast Hulu partnership on ReadWriteWeb.
So today, it came as a pleasant surprise that—even in light of the not-so-hot economic environment—our plucky local organization of entrepreneurs, the Oregon Entrepreneur Network (OEN), has chosen to unveil the presenters for the upcoming Venture Northwest 2008.
“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?
Interested in who else is presenting? The Oregonian‘s Mike Rogoway has a complete list of the 14 Venture Northwest presenters with links.
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.
For more information, visit OEN’s Venture Northwest.
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.
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.