Tech start-up of the week: Tubett

7 Jun 2014

Pictured: Tubett's CTO Sumit Rai and CEO Achman Srivastava

Tubett is an NDRC start-up that gamifies how people consume, interact and share video content by allowing the public to bet on the viral impact of a video.

As co-founder and CEO Achman Srivastava describes it Tubett is a stock market game of YouTube videos, where the price of a video is proportional to its popularity.

“The platform is gamifying how people consume, interact and share video content by allowing the public to challenge their friends in predicting viral videos. 

Future Human

“Up to now you could only like, comment or share a YouTube video, now you can back it!”

The market

According YouTube videos are watched over 4 billion times a day. Over 100 million people interact with these videos socially each week.

“What we are doing is to transform these actions into a game,” Srivastava said. “Tubett is targeting three large, growing and overlapping markets comprising of 1 billion YouTube lovers, 750 million casual gamers and over 20 million fantasy stock market enthusiasts.”

The founders

Achman Srivastava previously co-founded Rocket Internet-backed venture Foodpanda, which is currently Asia’s largest online food ordering portal. He has worked at E&Y, Deloitte, UPS, Clinton Foundation and FinIQ in M&A, software development, financial analysis, supply chain logistics and FX/ equity option pricing.

He holds an MBA from IESE in Spain and Electrical Engineering from Mumbai University, India.

Co-founder and CTO Sumit Rai is a full stack developer with extensive experience in Ruby on Rails and backed technologies.

Before launching Tubett, he worked in Sodel solutions as a technology analyst and at start-ups like Foodpanda and Haemoglobal, among others. He holds an Engineering Degree in Electronics and Telecommunication from Mumbai University, India.

The technology

Tubett enables its players, or “TubeTrenders”, to purchase virtual stock and back the videos that they believe are about to take off virally.

The value of that stock fluctuates in proportion to the video’s popularity (number of daily views).

Players have followers, rankings and compete in leader-boards and soon will be able to create groups/ leagues for their school, workplace etc.

“There is a high in-built virality coefficient in the game, since it is in the players own interest to share the video stock in their social network once they buy it, in order to increase its views and eventually its price. The platform is developed on Ruby on Rails and we shall launch mobile apps by the end of this summer.”

Social, video and gamification

Srivastava said the ultimate goal is to become the go-to platform for video curation.

“Since players can see all the video stocks their friends are holding they can instantly find curated videos that their friends love and believe are about to take off in popularity.

“The fantasy market phenomenon is not a new concept, with platforms like HSX and fantasy football being popular examples.

“Tubett is combining social, video and gamification to tap into fantasy stocks and the unending craze for viral video content. Think of it like a gamified Pinterest for videos.”

Execute and scale rapidly

“When we launched foodpanda, backed by Rocket Internet, it taught us how to execute and scale businesses rapidly.  

“Tubett is the only platform currently out there in video gamification that can achieve similar levels of growth with an already existing group of devotees. The TubeTrender community is crying out for this kind of gamification. Just liking isn’t enough for them; it never has been.”

Coming out of Ireland’s top startup accelerator, the NDRC Launchpad, Tubett launched public beta of its web version this month and plans to launch the mobile apps by the end of this summer.

“We are seeing consistent customer traction. Our next step is to improve our product market fit by rapidly iterating the platform based on customer feedback. We are currently raising seed round from Irish and international investors.”

Dublin is bristling with start-up potential

Srivastava said that Dublin is becoming the go-to place for tech talent and the city is bristling with founders and entrepreneurs keen to put their own dent in the universe.

But there are challenges. “Recruiting takes up a lot of our time. We interview more than a dozen candidates for every role we hire for. Currently we are seeking mobile developers to support our existing team. Also, raising early investment in Ireland tends to be a bit difficult for first mover type of business ideas like ours.

“It is a great place for European startups to be in. The influx of world’s top tech companies has brought in a lot of talent in the city and the meetups, seminars and gatherings are bustling with technology professionals.

“This has created the critical mass of tech professionals that inspires smaller startups like ours to move into Ireland, due to immense networking and mentoring opportunities. All this also attracts the VCs who see the incoming startups, mentors in top tech companies and local as well as international entrepreneurs as a great asset for the startup community.

“The momentum that Ireland has picked up is only going to go up from here.”

To succeed as a tech start-up Srivastava belies it is vital for start-ups to have a balance of hustler, developer and designer in the team.

“Don’t hesitate to reach out to the larger tech community in the city, professionals in big firms are more than happy to help startups.

“User online outsourcing portals to compliment temporary skill set requirements and launch your products as soon as possible as opposed to sitting on an idea for long.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years