“Gangnam Style wasn’t discovered by MTV. It was discovered by your friends.”
These are the first few lines of Waywire’s “About Us” page and it sets the tone for everything they do.
Waywire is a new video-sharing site that’s sort of like a combination of Youtube and Twitter. Users can discover videos relevant to their interests and create channels of favorites to share with friends. Youtube already offers this, so you might be wondering how Waywire is different.
Founded by Cory Booker (mayor of Newark, NJ), Nathan Richardson and Sarah Ross in April 2013, Waywire has raised over $1.75 million in seed funding. Its investors include Oprah Winfrey, Linkedin CEO Jeff Weiner, and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google.
Cory Booker makes a pretty valid argument that “Youtube is broken” and that it suffers from discoverability and curation issues. He puts it rather eloquently: “There’s probably thousands of hours of content that would be really important to you, but you just can’t find it or discover it.” Booker cites Twitter and Pandora as inspirations, and it’s easy to see why. Twitter largely solves the problem of discoverability that Facebook suffers from. Waywire aims to do the same with video.
Many of Waywire’s intro videos put a lot of emphasis on youth awareness and social action through discoverability, and even proposes a rethinking of what we consider “news.” This is probably the most exciting thing about their platform. Whereas Youtube is more about overnight celebrity, Waywire seems poised to become the next big social action site, which is especially interesting for nonprofits looking to get their messages out to a larger audience.
Also, let’s keep in mind that Google’s chairman is investing in them (and Google owns Youtube). That says a whole lot about the potential of this young video sharing startup.
We think it makes total sense – Riffle is already doing this for books and people love it. Why not have a similar solution for video?