Is Los Angeles taking back economic power from Silicon Valley? Well, if you look at the technology landscape in LA, you’d see there is a movement. In a town of storytellers it makes perfect sense for tech companies to be here.
While Twitter and other social media platforms have become ubiquitous and, well a bit boring for the “Snapchat Generation” – video is here to stay and growing. Not to mention, much more interactive. If you haven’t heard of a company called OnCam, you will. The LA startup is on a mission to become the world’s dominant app for streaming and sharing mobile videos.
A select group of Hollywood investors has put in $8 million in equity funding. The most prominent being Ian Somerhalder, who is best-known for his TV roles as Boone Carlyle on Lost and Damon Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries. Power talent agency Untitled Entertainment, also has made an investment, alongside Arizona-based Tonn Investments.
The company is run by CEO, and Wharton business school grad, Joe Shapiro, an LA native, but worked for several years in investment banking on the east coast and in northern California, who is very driven and passionate, to say the least, about the technology. He is spending a great deal of time in China these days. While the market in the US is growing, the average monthly reached users by mobile social networking apps in China exceeded 608 million in Q4, 2015 according to data from iResearch.
While there are other social video start-ups, Oncam has some differentiating features and is taking consumer where they have never been. It lets users throw “viewing parties” in the virtual, inviting up to 6 people to appear in a panel together on screen at one time, with a featured video in the main screen, while an unlimited number of followers can follow and chat on the sidelines.
Any influencer (celebrity, internet star, comedian, politician, journalist, teacher) can now interact with other influencers and fans while broadcasting to an unlimited number of viewers who can watch and participate on their phones.
This is why actors love this, and brands. For instance, Kylie Jenner calls Kendall Jenner and they chat about how great their new hair product is. They occasionally pull a fan onto the screen and say hello. Talk about product integration. Or how about a “fan surprise?” Harrison Ford Drops-in on all followers at 10 AM eastern to say: “Today is the day for the long awaited return of The Force.”
As we become more distanced in society from one another and nature, perhaps this is a way to get people out there. To keep them connected through technology so they can share their experiences, while they’re out in the world.
The company recently enrolled a diverse group of savvy millennials as brand ambassadors and these kids have reach, with followers in the millions: Jerry Purpdrank, Curtis Lepore, Simone Shepherd, King Keraun, Max Jr., Dan Nguyen, Piques, Arantza, WuzGood, Jason Mendez and JoJoe Earley.
You are only as good as your reach these days, it seems. The app is free and available on iTunes and Google Play.