Carambola raises $1M
Positioning advertising and meta content over a video sounds like a bold move. Carambola thinks they pulled it off
Israeli startup Carambola announced today (Thursday) the completion of a seed round valued at $1M. Participating in the round are Singapore VC Rutledge, micro investment firm 2B-Angels, Plus Ventures and Israeli incubator Explore.
Carambola was founded in 2011 by Yuval Brener, Roei Bareket and Roey Yaniv.The company holds offices in Israel and soon in New York, and currently employs ten people. According to CEO Yuval Brenner, the money will be used for two main purposes: The opening of a New York office for penetration into the U.S. market and the continued R&D of the product.
Understanding of the video content, relevant content and production automatically
Carambola is a platform that creates a meta layer of relevant content over a video clip. For example, in a video about food, users can open up a meta layer of content offering additional recipes, or while watching a movie trailer users can see information about the actors in the film and even buy tickets to go see it. In fact, Carambola analyzes the content in the video and creates layers of enriching content that may include games, articles, products – all related to the specific video for which they appear.
The current method of monetizing videos is based almost exclusively on advertisements. Competitors of Carambola who look to add similar content aim to do so manually, requiring a lot of work from the client side. Innovid, which raised $11M in March, offers a platform that allows customers to include interactive video ads on a wide range of products such as televisions, laptops and other gadgets. Viewbix developed a platform that allows customers to increase the level of user engagement by adding elements such as buttons with different links, text containing more information and relevant video – but viewbix integrates with the ad, while Carambola integrates with the video itself. Wallstream developed a system for another layer on top of flash-based video that allows customers to create interactive advertisements for users.
The common denominator of these competitive technologies is that they focus on the advertising layer, not the video itself.
More advertising real estate on video
Carambola takes a completely different approach. Instead of placing ads at the beginning or end of a video clip, Carambola maximizes the hidden ad space that lies within the duration of the video itself. Their approach doesn’t cannibalize existing methods of advertising but rather runs parallel to them. For a publisher, more advertising space means more potential profit. For the advertiser, their target viewers will be able to call up relevant content related to the video, only if and when they choose to do so.
CEO Yuval Brenner, added in an interview with Geektime: “We established Carabola to be a part of the future of interactive network video and advertising. You cannot look at this revolution without wanting to contribute something, design it. The nature of advertising, video consumption and even the content itself – all these things are crystallizing. We could not pick a more exciting business theater than what we are in right now.”
Roy Oron from Plus Ventures, who himself was involved in large media transactions including the sale of 5min to AOL, told Geektime: “With the massive increase of video content, the video industry is growing at a dizzying pace. Video income is generated through advertising that comes at the beginning, middle or end of the video. This style isn’t very efficient. Carambola can produce additional income on top of the video, without affecting the regular advertising real estate. Our solution is scalable and far more relevant to content owners.”
Yair Hammer, an investment and advisor at Rutledge specializing in life sciences, medical devices, cleantech and ICT related to Geektime: “This is an outstanding team with exceptional technology. We are aware of the fact that this is an area where a lot of companies have tried their luck and failed. We feel that Carambola has something beyond what their predecessors have brought to the table.”