Keek may be one of Canada’s biggest and, at the same time, lowest profile startup success stories.
Keek is a free and easy-to-use service that lets people create and share 36-second video updates. The Toronto-based company’s monthly traffic is truly impressive: 15 million unique visits, 75 million visitors, 1 billion pageviews and four million user-generated videos.
Today, Keek announced an $18-million financing led by AGF Investments Inc., Pinetree Capital Ltd and Plazacorp Ventures, along with Cranson Capital. Keek, which has now raised $30-million, will use the proceeds to create new features, develop support for more platforms and expand its infrastructure.
To get a better idea about Keek’s success, I did a Q&A with CEO Isaac Raichyk.
Why has Keek been so successful?
From the beginning, it was the mix of the users, the product and the way we conceived it as driving dialogue. Everybody else views video as entertainment tool. We use video as a communications tool to speak to your friends using video. It is not about entertaining or video productions. If you like to create musical productions, you can use YouTube. Keek is more personal, authentic dialogue. It is truly social video and I believe that is what is making us so successful. The engagement is created because the product lends itself very easily creating dialogue around things that interest you.
Keek attracts a lot of traffic? What’s going on?
I believe we have hit some kind of tipping point in terms of critical mass that you need a for a nuclear explosion. There was a day three weeks ago or so where I found we had arrived at a tipping point where we were consistently hitting 200,000 new registered users a day. We’re growing in South American, the Middle East, the U.K., and Ireland. It is spreading and picking up momentum instead of settling back.
Keek is free to use. What’s the business model?
When we are ready we plan to generate revenue through marketing and advertising. The beauty is this: we are in great shape. We have lots of people reaching out to me wanting to advertise on Keek – a lot of big brands and buyers of media advertising. At the moment, we don’t have a way to buy advertising or pay us for advertising. We don’t have the platform ready but that is a much better position to be than a situation where you don’t have customers.
How are you going to spend $18-million?
First, you open a good bottle of scotch! We must invest in infrastructure. Unlike most competitors, our infrastructure is self-managed – it is faster and a lot cheaper. It means you have to invest in infrastructure. We have to expand and expand to support global growth.