Tarun Arora, Radbox: Queue online videos to watch them later

15th Feb 2011
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Tarun Arora

If you are an active Facebook or Twitter user, you are likely to come across hundreds of interesting videos on your feed or timeline every single day. And because there’s so much content being posted, if you don’t watch the videos when you chance upon them, the chances of you finding them later are minimal. Truth be told, most of us don’t even bother searching for something that caught our interest earlier on. A startup called Radbox aims to change all that. We at YourStory caught up with Tarun Arora, co-founder of Radbox to find out how.If someone asked you to tell them about RadBox in about three sentences, what would you say?

Radbox is a great way to queue online videos to watch them later. The idea is to make a great application/platform that allows people to consume videos comfortably, at their leisure, on the device of their choice, regardless of where they first discovered them.

Rad Box Logo

How is RadBox different from other online video viewing platforms?

The pool of videos in Radbox can be assumed to be of a much higher quality than that of video publishers and aggregators because humans are adding the videos they think they'd want to watch some time. Our hypothesis is that curated content is better than content discovery, which in turn is better than search, from a consumer's standpoint.

Also, Radbox is universal. You can save videos from over 75 different websites and from anywhere including emails, browsers, mobile devices like iPhone, Android-based devices and popular feed readers like Google Reader and NetNewsWire.

Sites like Vimeo, Youtube have implemented the “Watch Later” function for their own content. But they still don’t provide the flexibility to save video from multiple sites. A site-specific queue cannot compete with something that is available everywhere, simply because the former is too limited. Video sites like Magma do pull video from multiple sources. But they require users to search for the clips they want to watch, instead of adding them to a personalized queue.

How did the idea for RadBox come about?

There's a story behind every startup. Here's the one behind ours. Any resemblance to any character, living or dead, is intentional.


Tell us about your background.

I graduated from National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal campus in 2006 and joined Oracle right out of campus. I met Aditya Sahay, my co-founder, as a team-mate there. Later, we became flatmates in Hyderabad. Together, we finished one B2B project before founding Radbox.

Is there acceptance for your concept? Can you give us some incidents to illustrate the same?

More than 300 videos get added to Radbox daily. Radbox has been covered by a number of popular blogs - Lifehacker, Makeuseof.com, Mashable and it has also been showered with loads of Twitter love. Radbox has been compared with Instapaper for online videos and with Tivo for web videos. We have received constant feedback from some of our awesome early adapters. They have been extending the use cases of Radbox before us, all by themselves. Given below are a few examples:

Dutch user Joost wanted to watch his Radbox videos from the comfort of his couch on his iPad. So, using the Radbox API and feed, he built a custom interface for Radbox on iPad.

User Shaycarl runs a blog where he publishes videos and he used Radbox the widget on his blog to allow his followers to add videos directly from his blog to Radbox.

Where do you see RadBox five years from now?

The goal of Radbox is to build a smart recommendation engine and combine it with great UI. The idea is to provide the best lean-back experience across platforms so that users can watch few hours of videos with just few clicks.

We see Radbox as the Instapaper/TiVo for web videos and as a source for auto-created video lists/ channels from the pool of videos based on what everyone is adding and watching on Radbox.

Although we started with the online version, we think the "killer-video app" for all platforms is the slot we want to grab. We are confident that the team can definitely achieve this, considering that we’ve come this far by working on a hunch and with very little money.

What is RadBox's revenue model?

This is a frequently asked question. Frankly, we have not established any revenue stream yet. But we have couple of ideas with which we will start experimenting with in next 2-3 months. They are:

a. Apps

One option is to create free-ad-supported and premium-ads-free apps for mobile devices following the Instapaper model.

b. Video Ads

We hope to leverage our knowledge of users’ video watching preferences to sell targeting advertising.

As an entrepreneur, what are your joys? What are the challenges?

Nothing feels better than having users who care about a product enough to improve it! An entrepreneur has to work on more aspects of business than just his area of specialisation. We are both techies. But Aditya works on marketing as well. I take care of accounting.

Entrepreneurship started with a stiff challenge of convincing parents to allow us to start a business in “job-centric” society. And that was just the start. Entrepreneurship is an exciting journey and no two days are similar. Every new day brings a fresh challenge and being challenge-driven people, we enjoy every second of it.

How big is the RadBox team? What’s your co-founder’s story?

The team has in all has three members. Aditya Sahay, my co-founder, graduated from Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee in 2006. He spent a semester at National University of Singapore as an exchange student. Like me, he joined Oracle as a developer in Hyderabad right out of campus. He worked there till January 2009 and moved back to Delhi to “start something.” In fact, Aditya and I used to compete to be the best developer in the team at Oracle.

How has the journey been so far?

Seven months from its launch, Radbox has more than 4500 users and more than 30000 videos. Radbox is a global product. We have users from all over the world, except for a few countries in Africa and Asia. Most of our users are from USA, India, Canada, Polland and Germany. More than 300 videos added every single day. We launched lists a month back and we have 1500 unique videos added to 250 lists.

Let us know about your expansion plans.

We're working on:

a) Browser extensions for adding videos outside the list of supported services

b) iPhone, Android apps (v1)

c) iPad app (v1)

d) Auto-play – on the web as well as in native apps. The auto-play (which we call "lazy mode") is a great way to engage users on the site

e) First version of recommendations (the form is not yet defined)

We at YourStory wish this young and ambitious startup much success. To know more or to get Radbox, check out http://radbox.me/. Also, do share with us your thoughts about this story. You can write to us at feedback@yourstory.in

Sriram Mohan | YourStory | 15th February 2011 | Bangalore

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