Video discovery app WappZapp receives investment

Popular Dutch video startup wants to bring personalized VOD to Europe

29 AUGUST 2013, AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
Summary
WappZapp, one of the more populair VOD apps in The Netherlands gained strong user growth in the past months by aggregating free online content providers like YouTube, Vimeo with local players like the NPO, Telegraaf, 538 and presenting this in a way that: 'it feels just like flipping through TV channels'. The app is aiming to build a freemium model (like Hulu) in Europe with a broad video offering

The space is heating up in the Pan-European Video-on-demand (VOD) market. After the announcement of Netflix expanding to The Netherlands, the publishers are sharpening their blades to compete against the American VOD intrudant. With RTL investing in their own platform, Sanoma is investing in WappZapp, a startup that combines all forms of video content to allow users to create their own, personalized TV evening with movies, TV shows and webvideo. SanomaVentures itself calls their minority stake: 'investing in the future of TV'. 

A refreshing TV offer
The broad range offered by WappZapp combines the best catch-up TV, movies, YouTube videos and new online TV channels like TEDtalks, VICE and Red BullTV with video’s from local brands such as NU.nl, Autoweek and Flabber. Besides the pre-selection by the editorial staff and local ‘curators’, users can compile their own selection of programmes based on popularity, follow their own personal interests and watch their friends’ favourite videos. Regarding the company’s position in the TV market, WappZapp co-founder Wienke Giezeman believes that ‘People don’t want a different app for each form of TV. Sometimes people want to watch a favourite TV show and at other times they feel like watching an engaging documentary or a good movie.’

Growth in on-demand
In Giezeman’s view, ‘It’s fantastic to see how TV broadcasters are increasing their online activity. In addition, video from innovative brands and vloggers are becoming very popular on the web. Like Kevin Spacey recently told the industry, it’s a logical shift because it’s what the new generation wants. But international VOD giants like Netflix and HBO don’t accommodate this transition for these content creators. We’re working together with the industry to become the platform where all video producers can find their respective audiences and make money with new revenue models.’

A chance for Europe
"Compared to the US and the UK, we have a lot of catching up to do in Europe. But we believe content is very local in Europe, which gives our locally curated platform a distinctive advantage against our large American VOD competitors. Through our local focus and partnering with all TV producers, we think we can help bring the industry to cross the gap between 'broadcast' and online, on-demand revenues. We very much work in partnership with the industry, not against them."

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About WappZapp
WappZapp allows users to 'zapp through the best video of the web'. The company was started in the summer of 2012 by Colin Ellis and Wienke Giezeman and won the TNW Dutch Startup Award for ‘Best mobile app’ and the Accenture Innovation Award for 'Most innovatieve entertainment company'. Within 9 months after launch, the app was downloaded over 350.000 times, with over 100.000 active users, watching 40 min a session on average.

The investment from SanomaVentures will be used to further develop the features of the platform, expansion to Android and web and marketing. Earlier investors include Startup Wise Guys and a a group of angel investors. WappZapp has now raised a total of €650,000. 

WappZapp is available (although all in Dutch) in the iTunes App Store voor iPad en iPhone:  https://itunes.apple.com/nl/app/wappzapp.tv-films-series-en/id466863591?mt=8

SanomaVentures
SanomaVentures is the venturing arm of Sanoma, aimed at investing and supporting the development of young enterprises in online commerce, media, marketing and education. SanomaVentures invests in initiatives that have passed the initial starting-up phase and are now entering their first growth phase, where the expertise, network and media of Sanoma can add substantial value. SanomaVentures, started in 2012 and invested in Vault79.com, Scoupy, Peerby.com, Truly Yours, VirtuaGym.com, Brandkids.com en Fosbury.co.
http://www.sanomaventures.com | twitter.com/sanomaventures

StartupWiseguys
WappZapp in an earlier stage refined their product-market fit by joining the Estonian accelerator program Startup Wise Guys, backed by the Springboard and Techstars founder Jon Bradford. Their goal is to build a bridge of innovation connecting startups from around the world to markets and experts from the U.K. and the U.S.

Quotes
"We’re working together with the industry to become the platform where all video producers can find their respective audiences and make money with new revenue models." Wienke Giezeman, founder
"People don’t want a different app for each form of TV. Sometimes people want to watch a favourite TV show and at other times they feel like watching an engaging documentary or a good movie." Wienke Giezeman, founder
Videos
Spokespeople
About WappZapp.TV

WappZapp is je eigen, on demand TV portaal. Met TV-gemist, Youtube en populaire videosites in één overzicht. Er gaat een wereld voor je open: Wat is er populair online? Is er een nieuwe aflevering van je favoriete show? Wat kijken je vrienden? Dus stop met zinloos zappen door die saaie tv kanalen, zapp door het beste van het web met WappZapp!

WappZapp biedt meer dan 500.000 Nederlanders hun eigen, online TV portaal. De app won vorig jaar de TNW Dutch Startup Award voor ‘Best mobile app’ en de Accenture Innovation Award voor 'Meest innovatieve entertainment bedrijf van Nederland' en was genomineerd als één van de top-5 apps in Nederland volgens iphoneclub.nl. De start-up is medegefinancierd door Sanoma en richt zich in plaats van op game-consoles en smart-tv's volledig op 'over-the-top' oplossingen zoals de integratie van Apple TV en de Chromecast.