Is Viddy, the Next Instagram?

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Viddy, a fast-growing video-sharing application that is only second to Instagram in Apple’s App store, has just celebrated its first year anniversary with about 4.5 million users, including celebrities, including comedian Bill Cosby, Snoop Dogg and the band Linkin Park.

Not bad for a little start-up from Venice, California that began as an idea with Brett O’Brien, a 45 year old entrepreneur and former founder of Xdrive, an internet storage site.

O’Brien, one of the co-founders of Viddy, got the inspiration for the video sharing application when he started thinking about the several billion smart phones in the world – many of them with video cameras in them.

He thought what a great service it would be to consumers if he could come up with an application that would allow people to share videos complete with special effects and music from their phones.

Four months later Viddy was ready to be launched. On the first day of its launch — April 11, 2011— 4,000 people joined the service. A year later on its official anniversary, 300,000 people joined on that single day.

In Canada, Viddy is also extremely popular – the 12th most popular application in the Canadian Apple store, according to Viddy’s own numbers.

So just what is its draw? Viddy is a “simple way for anyone to capture, produce and share beautiful videos with the world,” according to its website. The idea behind it is to “record a moment of your life, give it that cinematic look with our production packs, and share it with those who matter most.”

It gives everyone the chance to become their own filmmaker.

“I think what’s really valuable is it’s the easiest and fasted way to capture, create something you’re really proud of in terms of the memorable moments in your life and then share them with friends, family and other “viddyographers” around the world,” O’Brien said in an interview with the Star.

He has big plans for the service – which allows people to take 15 second video clips from their phones, choose from 20 different special effects programs to make their videos look nice, add music and then post it to the Viddy blog as well as share it on a variety of social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

With $8 million in venture capital behind the project, O’Brien, who studied entrepreneurship at the Wharton School, is hoping to “build and improve on the experience for our community,” he said. That growth might include producing longer videos, high definition videos and cloud storage, he said.

Currently the app is available for free, but O’Brien hopes to make the service financially viable and is looking at everything from advertising to charging a small membership fee for improved and additional services. “It’s my experience that a certain number of people are willing to pay for that.”

Next up, O’Brien said is expanding the availability of the app with a launch for Android Smartphone users expected in the near future.

O’Brien, who also continues to own a marketing company, sold his previous internet creation Xdrive – which he described as a digital media locker—to AOL.

He won’t divulge how much he sold the company for, saying he signed a confidentiality agreement. But media reports say it went for about $30 million.

Follow founder of GWOP Magazine on viddy @beezytarantino

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