Why are marketeers worldwide going NUTS over this interactive video startup?

"We make it as easy as possible for brands to add interactivity to video, literally drag and drop"

Check out this incredible music video: it’s possible to click on any interactive element – add stuff to your shopping cart, ‘like’ things on Facebook, etcetera. It looks impressively smooth, especially compared to the ugly boxes that YouTube plasters over its videos lately:

The video was made by Zentrick, a startup that developed a solution to add any kind of interactive element to online video, on any platform – YouTube, Facebook, you name it. It’s an impressive feat, that has captured the imagination of marketeers worldwide, says Frederik Neus, one of the cofounders of Zentrick (you can read about the team here).

Frederik explained to Whiteboard that they came up with the idea when looking for a way to differentiate more in the crowded, red ocean environment of online video platforms:

Frederik Neus, CMO of Zentrick

Frederik Neus: “We were already pretty well differentiated, but still: there’s a lot of competition out there for video platforms.

The idea to develop this technology came from long talks with our customers about what they were looking for. But we were also scratching our own itch: we were looking for a way to adapt our “play” button easily for every possible standard out there like Flash, HTML5, etcetera.

Adding a play button is essentially adding a layer to the video. From there, it was a small step to add more layers.”

The reaction in the market was almost instant, says Neus: “From the moment we went in that direction, we instantly felt the pull from the market. Marketeers just said: Wow! It’s so much more fun for a consumer to interact with advertising on his screen, instead of being forced to just watch it. For example, you could think of a campaign where the consumer has to click as many Coke cans as possible to win a coupon. But beyond advertising, it would also be a great improvement to all kinds of e-learning.”

Of course, THE screen that everyone is looking to disrupt at the moment is that big screen that just didn’t get any more interactive in the last decade: the television. Zentrick might go there, too, says Neus.

Neus: “Interacting with your remote is not possible. With Google and Apple TV, which both have a mouse, it works. Our first tests suggest that it would also work with Kinect, but it’s not a priority right now. We first want to deliver a world class product for online video.”

Drop dead easy

Zentrick is convinced that their offering is unique at the moment. “It’s a technology that no one else really has at this moment – most solutions will allow you to do one specific thing, like add buttons or something. Our solution is a lot more agile, and a lot easier – we’re literally talking about dragging and dropping elements on the video. We’re still working on that, but we’re not too far from the moment that brands can just add stuff themselves to their videos.

Zentrick is working on patenting its technology right now. The three founders invested about € 80 k in the technology, but Zentrick is looking to raise a huge amount of money over the next years. It is currently closing a seed and will have another seed round this year, for a total of “a few hundreds of thousands” of euros.

After that, Zentrick plans a Series A round of “several millions”: “We’re quite confident that we’ll succeed in raising that much.”

Watch a video Zentrick made for Danone:

Here’s another interactive video for Danone

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About the author

Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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