Scots video app wins backing from Google

A fledgling Scottish technology firm has won financial backing from internet giant Google to develop its innovative video app which is targeting a slice of what is forecast to become a $13 billion market.

Video stories are becoming increasingly popular, with more than 200 million created every day.
Video stories are becoming increasingly popular, with more than 200 million created every day.

The €50,000 (£43,700) awarded to Snappd under Google’s Digital News Initiative (DNI) comes on top of funding of €75,000 secured from investors including German venture capital firm Next Media Accelerator.

Snappd, the brainchild of Edinburgh-based self-taught app developer Russell Barnard, allows people to save video stories they have created in their Snapchat and Instagram accounts.

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Normally such videos expire after 24 hours but Snappd enables them to be saved and shared across social media.

The apps mean publishers will also be able to tap into user-generated video stories to include in their websites, articles and social channels. Revenues will be generated and shared with video creators through short targeted video ads.

Snappd says it aims to become “the YouTube of the Snapchat generation” at a time when video stories are increasingly popular, with more than 200 million created every day.

Barnard, 25, developed the product after making his own stories on Snapchat giving out tips on app development.

“Lots of my viewers were asking if I could send them the tips from past days but I couldn’t as stories disappear after 24 hours,” said Barnard, who taught himself to code while he was recovering from a knee injury which ended his dreams of being a professional cricket player.

“After networking with other creators I found that they also had this issue and didn’t want their content going to waste. So we built Snappd to be able to have a dedicated place to save stories so they can be easily watched and shared.”

The app aims to capitalise on the growth in mobile media consumption. According to a recent study by Cisco, by 2021 more than 78 per cent of the world’s mobile traffic will be video. US mobile video ad spending is projected to reach $13.3bn in 2020, up from $3.45bn in 2015.

Snappd is one of 49 early stage projects to receive funding under the DNI fund which is run in partnership between Google and news publishers in Europe to support journalism through technology and innovation.

Larger UK projects to receive funding under the latest DNI round include WikiTribune, a news platform launched by Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, which has been awarded €385,000 to scale its operations. It aims to produce fact-based articles that are written by professional journalists and improved by a community of volunteers.