From Snapchat to Periscope, from Instagram Stories to Facebook, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the Internet is rapidly transitioning from text and images to videos.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, in a recent Earnings Call, has stated that his social media platform has reached 100 million hours of daily video watch time.
A new report from Cisco, confirms this megatrend asserting that online videos will be responsible for 80% of global Internet traffic by 2019, and they will reach 90% when adding VoD, P2P, and business consumption to the mix. Cisco says this strong increase is also linked to two market trends: over half of the world population (almost 4 billion people) by 2019 will have access to the Internet, and the number of web-accessible devices will be three times as high as the entire world population.
This transition from text and pictures to video will require private and public investments to fund the expansion of infrastructure, video-specific hardware and software as well as content.
Meanwhile in Italy…
An emerging Italian venture called Why Invest In is seizing the video revolution with a novel approach to video production. In fact, it uses an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system to take data from different sources, databases and files, and assemble it automatically into coherent video stories. This process results in the creation of an unlimited number of personalized videos for editorial, business, marketing and customer service purposes.
Like, many of today’s most notable and successful tech companies, Why Invest In is the brainchild of two noggins. Ludovico Marini and Francesco Piccolomini, who can be described as the yin and the yang. Ludovico is a “numbers guy” with extensive expertise in global technology investments. He used to be the Head of Private Equity for Banca Leonardo a top Milan-based investment bank. Francesco is an expert in music and video content and business. A serial entrepreneur with a creative side, he previously co-founded SHAA, the first Italian platform to make videos interactive and turn them into click-to-buy videos.
In 2012, Ludovico and Francesco got together in Tuscany and while sipping perfectly aged Brunello di Montalcino they started discussing business opportunities. They recognized that, as video was emerging as the medium of choice for millions of online users, the demand for content was going to jump. Concurrently, the solutions on the market were only partially automated, therefore costly and not quite scalable. That’s when they thought of developing a machine learning-based engine that would analyze data and use contextual clues to assemble an abundance of videos.
What makes the difference
Why Invest In has some strong competitors mainly form the United States. However, there is a fundamental difference in terms of approach between this Italian venture and its competition: Why Invest In bases its output on the intelligent collection and analysis of data sources, which facilitates the full automation of custom video production. Conversely, its competitors use a fixed framework based on marketing information rather than data analytics; therefore they are forced to fill set boxes. This process requires human involvement in order to prioritize information, fill in the blanks and make video content meaningful.
“Our technology, through Artificial Intelligence learns and improves over time. And, as big data becomes more strategic to businesses, we can turn any subject containing facts and figures into easy to understand video stories.” Says Ludovico, “Basically, we are doing for video what has been done with semantics in the automation of news. Our algorithms are capable of determining the more coherent sequence for numbers, images, graphics, and text so that the storytelling is rational and compelling.”
The sky is the limit
Why Invest In started as a Fintech solution for banking and financial services, targeting millions of wealthy investors around the world who want to assess public companies in an immediate, visual way. The company founders believe that in many emerging economies where millionaires and billionaires are pretty young and digital natives, banks and financial services will offer their customers Why Invest In as a significant value-added service.
Nevertheless, as the most successful brands and retailers expand their use of video throughout the entire customer journey to help them engage, educate and convert customers, this Italian startup is set to provide them with the most cost effective way to automatically generate a massive quantity of personalized video content.
Even in the startup world, Why Invest In has found an interesting niche. “For instance, let’s say you are an Accelerator serving hundreds of startups and you want to create multiple pitch-deck videos for them. For each individual startup, our system can automatically assemble presentations that describe the company, its financials, KPI’s, competitive advantage etc. from data taken from different sources such as databases, online information, company website… Each startup can also generate different custom videos to target distinct audiences.” Says Ludovico, “In summary, what we are already doing to present public companies to investors can be done to introduce startups to venture capitalists, strategic partners and potential clients.”
Why Invest In is now planning to raise its first million euros in a Seed round that will help it gain market share, consolidate international partnerships and continue improving its products.