Peepable is an Adelaide startup that is trying to develop a better search engine for finding videos on the Internet.
Peepable was established in 2013 with the goal of making it quicker and easier for people to find videos online.
“Imagine if you sat down at your computer today and did a search on Google for text-based content, but all you could search on were the titles and metatags of the pages,” co-founder Nari Jennings told Techworld Australia.
“That’s where we think we’re very much at with video search today. We’re still in the dark ages.”
The major problem with YouTube is that the video must be uploaded on YouTube for it to be discoverable, she said. Bing allows search across more than one site, but only a limited range is available, she said.
Peepable allows search on spoken-word content in the video. In addition, the video does not have to be hosted on Peepable to be found. The website will also allow users to quickly share searched pieces of video with their friends.
Jennings and her co-founder Alex French previously launched Captioning Studio, a startup focussed on developing accessibility technologies for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Jennings grew up in a family with genetic deafness and worked as a captioning professional before founding the Captioning Studio. French had worked as an engineer for IBM and BBC Television.
Jennings said the founders’ passion for accessibility led them to thinking about video and how difficult it was to search for relevant videos online.
“We were frustrated ourselves in trying to find what we were looking for, and we realised that we could change the world,” she said.
Funding and development
Peepable has just raised $500,000 in seed funding from angel investors to develop and release its video search technology.
The investors include San Francisco-based Stuart McLeod, founder of Paycycle and a vice-president at Xero, and Adelaide investor Tony Fairbairn, managing director of e3Learning.
“We’ve been able to attract investors who share our vision,” said Jennings.
The search technology itself has been in development for 12 months. Peepable plans to launch a beta in three months and is currently taking pre-registrations from interested users.
“We’ll let a certain number through to start with and then that will expand as we’re ready,” she said.
The beta will open with a select bunch of fully searchable videos, but Peepable’s goal is to expand that to one day include every online video on the Web, she said.
How to make money on the business is still undecided, she said. Peepable will be “really analysing the user behaviour before we make any firm decisions on monetisation.”
“The main purpose of the beta is proof of concept and analysing how people are using it.”
Peepable participated in the ANZ Innovyz START accelerator program and Jennings said it was valuable for providing mentorship and business connections. The startup met one of its seed funding investors, Stuart McLeod, through the program.
But while there has been recent growth in programs like ANZ Innovyz, French said that Australia’s startup ecosystem still has much room for improvement.
Australian investors tend to be more risk averse than their American counterparts, he noted. “Clearly one of the hardest things … is finding the right investment.”
“We would love to see more going on here to help tech startups to get going and to grow their businesses.”
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