Story telling is powerful and that’s what I’ve based my company on, running it for close to five years now. While I was in Silicon Valley last month, I met Alireza Masrour, the Managing Partner at Plug and Play Tech Center and a conversation lead to story-telling which in turn brought us to the man behind a startup which is trying to bring in a fresh breath of air to online storytelling. The startup is Meograph and the man behind the company is Misha Leybovich who was previously a consultant with McKinsey and a graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Meograph basically lets users create multimedia stories by combining video, audio, pictures, text, links, maps, and timelines and the stories can be shared by embedding anywhere on the web and on social networks.
I met him on a Sunny Silicon Valley day to know more about the product. “We at Meograph are democratizing the creation of rich multimedia. Multimedia should tell a story all together, not just separate video or images,” says Misha. There are ways to do it right now, but by and large it is restricted to professionals. It takes a considerable amount of time, skill, and money to produce any kind of compelling multimedia content. And to sort out this problem, Misha came together with co-founder Francis Escuadro to start up Meograph.
Meograph looks at a story as a collection of moments. The stories are the molecules, the moments are the atoms, “Our algorithms take simple input data, and then do the timings the transitions , the sequencing and give you this nice multimedia presentation that you can share anytime,” says Misha. Meograph is for people in various sectors- journalism and education have seen early success. “Those are two verticals where people are hungry to produce content. They are happy to come to our site and create content as long as they can share it anywhere they want to. We are about to expand to a bunch of other verticals like tourism, genealogy, sports, family and weddings,” says Misha.
Meograph has over 40,000 users at the moment and is growing at 20 % MoM. More than half of the traffic comes from outside the U.S, majorly from South Asia. The monetization model is still evolving but at this point, educators are willing to pay for premium capabilities, and professional publisher features are being developed. “Now we are building the real extra capabilities and front end customization, those kind of things that sites care about - content engagement, user interface, storytelling all these things together are sort of coming together and a tool set that supports that is what we want to do,” says Misha. To further aid in growing the business, Meograph has also just joined Turner Media Camp. Turner strategically invested in Meograph, and they are spending the summer working with Time Warner's brands (CNN, Warner Bros, HBO, Turner Sports, etc).
Misha, formerly an engineer, has adopted the role of the business lead while his partner, Francis, with a hacking and digital media experience has taken the technical lead but both understand all aspects of their business. Being incubated at Plug and Play Tech Center, Meograph is currently in the process of closing a seed round. This funding will mostly be used to hire people in the development and marketing side. “We will be selling licenses to big companies and this will require a strong marketing and sales team,” says Misha.
The team is currently working on finetuning the product and will also be coming out with a mobile app. With the rise of the importance of all-encompassing good quality content in all the sectors over the internet, the need for such a tool is high.
Check out Meograph here.
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