A brand new startup referred to as Popcorn desires to make work communication extra enjoyable and private by providing a means for customers to report brief video messages, or “pops,” that can be utilized for any variety of functions rather than longer emails, texts, Slack messages, or Zoom calls. Whereas there are many different locations to report short-form video nowadays, most of those exist within the social media area which isn’t applicable for a piece surroundings. Nor does it make sense to ship a video you’ve recorded in your telephone as an electronic mail attachment, if you actually simply wish to examine in with a colleague or say howdy.
Popcorn, alternatively, allows you to create the brief video after which ship a URL to that video wherever you’d need add a private contact to your message.
For instance, you can use Popcorn in enterprise networking state of affairs, the place you’re attempting to attach with somebody in your trade for the primary time — aka “chilly outreach.” As an alternative of simply blasting them a message on LinkedIn, you can additionally paste within the Popcorn URL to introduce your self in a extra pure, pleasant style. You would additionally use Popcorn together with your workforce at work for issues like day by day check-ins, sharing progress on an ongoing undertaking, or to greet new hires, amongst different issues.
Movies themselves will be as much as 60 seconds in size — a time restrict designed to maintain Popcorn customers from rambling. Customers may choose to report audio provided that they don’t wish to seem on video. And you’ll enhance the playback pace if you happen to’re in a rush. Customers who wish to obtain “pops” might additionally promote their “popcode” (e.g. attempt mine at U8696).
The concept to deliver short-form video to the office comes from Popcorn co-founder and CEO Justin Spraggins, whose background is in constructing shopper apps. One among his first apps to achieve traction again in 2014 was a Tinder-meets-Instagram expertise referred to as Looksee that allowed customers to attach round shared photographs. A pair years later, he co-founded a social calling app referred to as Unmute, a Clubhouse precursor of types. He then went on to co-found 9 Rely, a shopper app growth store which launched extra social apps like BFF (beforehand Wink) and Juju.
9 Rely’s lead engineer, Ben Hochberg, is now additionally a co-founder on Popcorn (or quite, Snack Break, Inc. because the authorized entity is named). They started their work on Popcorn in 2020, simply after the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. However the speedy shift to distant work that’s come within the days that adopted might now assist Popcorn acquire traction amongst distributed groups. Right this moment’s distant staff could by no means once more return to in-person conferences on the workplace, however they’re are also rising uninterested in lengthy days caught in Zoom conferences.
With Popcorn, the purpose is to make work communication enjoyable, private and bite-sized, Spraggins says. “[We want to] deliver all of the stuff we’re actually keen about in shopper social into work, which I believe is absolutely vital for us now,” he explains.
“You’re employed with these folks, however how do you — with out scheduling a Zoom — how do you deliver the ‘human’ to it?,” Spraggins says. “I’m actually enthusiastic about making work merchandise really feel extra social, extra like Snapchat than utility instruments.”
There’s a lot Popcorn would nonetheless want to determine to really make a business-oriented social app work, together with including enhanced safety, limiting spam, providing some type of reporting circulate for dangerous actors, and extra. It would additionally finally must land on a profitable income mannequin.
Presently, Popcorn is a free obtain on iPhone, iPad and Mac, and provides a Slack integration so you may ship video messages to co-workers instantly within the communication software program you already use to catch up and keep in contact. The app at this time is pretty easy however the firm plans to reinforce its brief movies over time utilizing AR frames that permit customers showcase their personalities.
The startup raised a $400,000 pre-seed spherical from Basic Catalyst (Nico Bonatsos) and Dream Machine (Alexia Bonatsos, beforehand editor-in-chief at ahosti.) Spraggins says the corporate will likely be seeking to elevate a seed spherical within the fall to assist with hires, together with within the AR area.