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Shark Tank judge Steve Baxter has invested $1 million with video platform Clipchamp, to grow its 'Create' video-editing product
Clipchamp's relationship with the Queensland entrepreneur predates his TV gig
The platform has 6.5 million users and growing, with customers as far-flung as North Korea
Brisbane-based digital video platform Clipchamp has raised $1 million in seed funding from veteran investor Steve Baxter, one of the judges on Channel Ten's Shark Tank Australia.
The seed round will accelerate the distribution of Create, the company's flagship video editing product, which allows users to edit videos for social media, advertising or online publication using original as well as stock footage all within a browser interface without the need to upload footage to an online server.
Clipchamp CEO and co-founder Alex Dreiling told Business Insider Australia the funds would be invested to grow the business, which has 6.5 million registered users worldwide, including in some unexpected locations.
“We have users in every country [even] North Korea, Google analytics tells us we have users in North Korea,” he said. “It's [in the] single digits last time I checked."
Despite the global reach, the company only has a relatively small payroll of 22 employees.
“If we have additional developers we can accelerate platform development,” he said. “At that stage, we’d opt to hire more people and accelerate faster.”
He said Clipchamp’s reliance on internet browsers made staffing its major cost.
“Because we have that choice of technology where we do everything in browsers we don’t have big server bills,” he said. “The major costs are the team, It’s a pretty lean cost model.”
Dreiling said the relationship with Baxter, who now sits on Clipchamp's board, predated Shark Tank by several years, first meeting over a proposal to build a "distributed supercomputer".
"The original idea was that wanted to build the biggest distributed supercomputer in the world and we took that idea to Steve very early on, this was way before Shark Tank, he was nowhere near as famous,” he said. “In that meeting, he very quickly focused on what we found the coolest thing under the sun, a big distributed supercomputer. He called it 'malware', but we got on his radar.”
When Clipchamp moved offices in Brisbane, Baxter would walk past every day and took note of the company's growth.
“We had a big world map and every user that registered we’d display a dot on the map with some details we had on them,” he said.
“We started talking more and explained the background story and this lead ultimately to the investment."
In a statement, Baxter said: “I’ve kept my eye on the Clipchamp team over the years because I’ve always respected the founders and founding story and am impressed by the way the company has pivoted to arrive at an exceptionally strong, core tech product".
The $1 million from Baxter follows a raise of $1.65 million previously from Queensland University of Technology’s innovation venture and investment arm, Bluebox, and Australian and German angel investors.
Patents hold the key to protecting Clipchamp's technology
The original funding went mainly into technology investment. Dreiling said the early investment around patents is now paying off as it allowed them to protect its proprietary tech from competitors while also doing what no one else did: edit within browsers without uploading footage.
“There’s no other vendor in the world that’s managed to do this,” he said.
Dreiling said it was incredibly complicated to execute and required Clipchamp to constantly update across multiple platforms as browsers updated often and often broke the platform.
“You have to treat the browser like an operating system,” he said.
“This wasn’t planned it’s one of those things you start with something and then realise you’ve solved a different problem.”
Clipchamp is in a land grab with other video platforms and the Baxter money will allow it to claim more space more quickly, the CEO said.
“There are a number of platforms that try to achieve what we’re trying to achieve,” he said. “Everyone’s trying to grab as big of a market share as they possibly can.”