Nathan Richardson, CEO of #waywire
What is the mission of your company?
#Waywire is a social video network to discover, create and share what matters to you. Our vision is a non-partisan platform for diverse perspectives that elevates the conversations that matter—especially to the emerging generation that is disenfranchised from traditional media. GenY, also called Millennials, number 80 million people in the U.S. (aged 16 to 34)—they are in their prime spending and consumer years. And they are rejecting conventional media (47.2 million own smart phones, they'll view 244 billion online videos this year—22 billion on mobile—and advertisers will spend $1.4 billion to reach them). And the global opportunity is estimated at 5 times the U.S. market.
Explain your business model—how do you make money?
#Waywire is a media business, and will monetize through traditional and social ad models (video media units, sponsored streams, branded profiles, original content syndication, etc.). Brands that currently buy online video ads are planning to increase their budgets by 47 percent this year ... and these advertisers are increasingly sophisticated, targeting both demographics and behavior.
Who do you compete with in this space and how are you different?
There are a number of companies in the social video category. #Waywire is the only network in the social video category that is focused on this lucrative, disenfranchised demographic. We're also seeing interest in other demographics that share the Millennials' sensibilities—that's been a bit of a surprise, but we're thrilled with the additional interest.
For Millennials, conventional television is dead and YouTube is broken—it's too hard for them to discover and navigate what's meaningful to them. So we're focusing on proprietary algorithms around discovery and preference; we'll have otherwise unavailable insights into behavior and preference of this critical demographic; and we'll lean heavily into sharing—this is the most digitally social generation yet.
We're also seeing incredible traction with other content creators. Dozens of high-profile creators are signing on each week.
Where are your headquarters?
Number of full-time employees?
$1.75 million in seed funding
Eric Schmidt (Google chairman), Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn CEO), Oprah Winfrey, First Round Capital, and a small group of angel investors
Yahoo!, Gilt Groupe