Brad Jefferson's Animoto Uses AI to Create Inexpensive, Professional Videos for You or Your Small Business

Jan 11 2014, 11:28am CST | by

Brad Jefferson's Animoto Uses AI to Create Inexpensive, Professional Videos for You or Your Small Business

A Series of Forbes Insights Profiles of Thought Leaders Changing the Business Lanscape: Brad Jefferson, Co-Founder and CEO, Animoto

“We’re trying to make it easy to create beautiful and emotionally engaging videos about your life or your business,” says Animoto co-founder and CEO Brad Jefferson.  Animoto is a cloud-based web and mobile video creation service that takes photos and video clips and turns them into professional-quality videos, synchronized with music that users can share online. With the popularity of video creation apps like Vine and Instagram video, people are more comfortable than ever with video.

The New York City-based company Jefferson and his pals from high school co-founded in 2006 is on a roll.  The 65-person company has nine million registered users, an average of 1 million video creations per month, 1 million iPhone app downloads, 140,000 paying subscribers  and has attracted over $30 million in funding from the likes of Amazon, Madrona Venture Group, Spectrum Equity and SoftTechVC.

 As founding CEO of Animoto, Brad leads the company in driving Animoto to be the global standard for automated video creation. “Video is an incredibly powerful communication tool. People are brought to tears or laughter by the videos they create for themselves through our service. It’s an art form that impacts people’s lives—like a ‘Kodak moment’ for the 21st century. We also want to help every business use the power of video to build their business,” says Jefferson.  “Animoto is not YouTube as we help with the creation of great-looking video, irrespective of where it should be broadcast, but it’s common for customers to share their Animoto videos on YouTube or through social media. Like Marissa Mayer has said—we want to make it easy enough for your mom to use it,” continues Jefferson.

Small and medium businesses are a growing customer segment for Animoto. Realtors use the service to showcase properties and other small businesses create companyoverview videos or product demos to educate customers and increase brand awareness. Professional photographers love Animoto because it brings their photos to life and helps increase conversion rates.

 “We’re not the company to help you create a TV commercial.  But our service can help with most other video marketing needs,” says Jefferson. According to Jefferson, businesses want to know how they can expose their videos to more customers and measure the results, just like their Google AdWords buys.  Animoto is working to improve that experience as the feedback loop of how many times a video is watched is important for the creator of personal videos and business videos alike.

 Animoto has a subscription model that starts at a basic level of $5 per month and goes up to $39 per month for the professional level. “I believe that in the near future the ability to create and modify video will be as common for businesses as creating and modifying their web site is today,” says Jefferson.

 Prior to co-founding Animoto in August 2006, Brad spent eight years with Onyx Software, an enterprise software company. At Onyx, he served in a variety of management roles in sales, operations and professional services. Through Brad’s career at Onyx he saw the company grow from a 17-person start-up to an 800-person public company, and eventually an acquisition. Brad graduated from Dartmouth College and currently resides in Oakland, California, with his wife and their two children, both of whom are stars of his frequent Animoto video creations.

Jefferson started the business with three friends from Bellevue High School in Seattle, Washington.  Three of them also went to Dartmouth in the late ’90s. “We had a t-shirt business and started an interactive directory pre-Facebook era whose traffic grew so fast it brought down the college’s servers. But we never really had big capitalistic ambitions at the time. My friends went into TV and film, working in a variety of production and editing roles at companies like MTV, Comedy Central and ABC. Our CTO, Stevie Clifton, was working for Peter Jennings Productions and was complaining about the challenges of using video production editing tools like Avid.  He started thinking about ways to automate aspects of his highly skilled yet laborious process.What hooked me on the concept was imagining a future where one day anyone on the planet with an Internet connection will be able to create a TV-quality video of their life or for their business—not just highly trained professionals.  That’s what Animoto is poised to do.” says Jefferson.

 “My dad and grandfather were entrepreneurs. I’ve always loved the idea of building a profitable business around an aspect of making the world a better place. In college I majored in sociology and psychology with an education minor but after an internship with Onyx Software after my freshman year I knew I wanted to be involved in early-stage technology.” says Jefferson.

 “We started Animoto in August of 2006 and created a prototype to show our wives and girlfriends by that December. The first video came out upside down and while our significant others were rolling their eyes we were high-fiving each other because we knew we could easily fix that. I didn’t know about organizations like YCombinator and Kickstarter didn’t exist. We bootstrapped for the first year without salaries as we developed the product and then I hit up our friends and family for $575,000 as we entered our second year and neared our product launch,” continues  Jefferson.

 “It’s been a lot of fun—four co-founders and friends.  It created a friendly and family-like culture to the business.  Now we’re on a mission to change the world,” concludes Jefferson.

Bruce H. Rogers is the co-author of the recently published book Profitable Brilliance: How Professional Service Firms Become Thought Leaders now available on Amazon

Source: Forbes Business


Don't miss ...


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Insomnia triples risk of motor accident deaths
London, Nov 1 (IANS) Developing a healthy sleeping habit could be a life saviour as researchers have found that insomnia significantly increases risk of death caused by motor vehicle crashes and other unintentional fatal injuries.
Resveratrol could impede benefits of exercise
Toronto, Nov 1 (IANS) Contrary to popular belief, adding resveratrol (RSV) to your exercise routine may not enhance the effects of physical activity, said a study.
Tectonic event led to burst of animal life during Cambrian Age
New York, Nov 1 (IANS) A major tectonic event may have triggered the rise in sea level and other environmental changes that led to the Cambrian explosion, the sudden burst of animal life 530 million years ago, showed a research.
NASA's Mars spacecraft ready for test flight
Washington, Nov 1 (IANS) The US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has fully assembled the Orion spacecraft for a test flight Dec 4.

Latest from the Network

Jessie J: Fame is hard
Jessie J says people can't understand how hard it it to be famous. The 'Bang Bang' hitmaker likes to offer support and advice to other artists because it isn't ''easy'' being in the public eye. She said: ''We've all...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Nicole Scherzinger feels lost
Nicole Scherzinger is feeling ''lost''. The 36-year-old star worried fans recently when it was reported she'd tried to jump out of a moving limo and it's now been claimed her strange behavior is a result of being too...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
JWoww: Marriage 'doesn't mean anything'
JWoww says marriage doesn't ''mean anything'' to her. The former 'Jersey Shore' star, who has three-month-old daughter Meilani with her fiancé Roger Matthews, got engaged two years ago, but still doesn't feel in any...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Chinese citizens get more power to sue government
Beijing, Nov 1 (IANS) China Saturday adopted an amendment to expand the people's right to sue the government. Members of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed the amendment to the...
Read more on Politics Balla
Court Enables Police to Compel Users Unlocking the iPhones with the Fingerprint
The police has been provided with more power, as the court rules that they will be able to force the accused person unlocking the iPhone with the fingerprint scanner.According to Mac Rumors, the declaration has been...
Read more on Apple Balla
Endangered vampire-like deer sighted in Afghanistan
Kabul, Nov 1 (IANS) Strange deer with vampire-like fangs have been spotted more than 60 years after the last confirmed sighting in the rugged forested slopes of northeast Afghanistan. Known as the Kashmir musk deer -...
Read more on Politics Balla
An app to avoid smartphone distraction
London, Nov 1 (IANS) Getting distracted by your smartphone? An app called Offtime helps you get rid of apps and notifications at a time when you need to focus on important work. The app also prevents people from...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Insomnia triples risk of motor accident deaths
London, Nov 1 (IANS) Developing a healthy sleeping habit could be a life saviour as researchers have found that insomnia significantly increases risk of death caused by motor vehicle crashes and other unintentional...
Read more on Business Balla
Emma Watson, Judi Dench win Britannia awards
Los Angeles, Nov 1 (IANS) British actresses Emma Watson and Dame Judi Dench were two of the six honourees at the annual Britannia Awards. The annual ceremony was hosted by BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
All's still not good between Avril, Chad
Los Angeles, Nov 1 (IANS) Trouble continues to plague singers Avril Lavigne and Chad Kroeger's paradise even as the news of their split continues to do the rounds. After a little over a year of marriage, the duo is...
Read more on Celebrity Balla