Vimeo snaps up AI video startup Wibbitz and 'shoppable' video tech maker Wirewax to expand its enterprise video tools

·6-min read

Vimeo, the B2B video platform that spun out from IAC earlier this year, has made a pair of acquisitions aimed at building out the suite of features and tools it offers to businesses to create and run their own video strategies. The company has picked up short-form AI-based video creation platform Wibbitz, and Wirewax, which has built technology for marketers and other non-technical creatives to make objects in videos "shoppable" or linkable to other outside content.

Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed, but for some context, New York-based Wibbitz originally made its name as an Israeli startup that had built AI-based technology that automatically turned text into videos, a service that helped it raise around $30 million from investors that included a number of strategic backers (that is, customers) like the Associated Press, Bertelsmann, France's TF1 and the Weather Channel, as well as traditional VCs like Horizons Ventures and Kima Ventures. London-based Wirewax, meanwhile, also had a strategic backer in the form of the BBC, and other investors included Passion Capital and the Plug and Play incubator. It had raised around $7 million. Both have large customers on their books.

Vimeo plans to keep both platforms operational and continue serving existing customers, which include the likes of Walmart, Disney, Google, and Nike for Wirewax and HubSpot, Bloomberg, Condé Nast and Harvard University for Wibbitz. It is also planning to integrate its features into its wider video creation dashboard to over time sell a wider set of tools both to those customers and those already with Vimeo.

The idea behind the deals is to bring in more tools specifically targeting Vimeo's larger enterprise customers, CEO Anjali Sud said in an interview, to provide more creative tools that are less technical to help them feed the video beast: video consumption has skyrocketed in the last couple of years, fueled in no small part by COVID-19 and people spending more time at home and on their screens rather than in public places.

That's accelerated a lot of organizations' video strategies, whether that involves providing tools for internal teams to get work done, or creating marketing campaigns, or building new products themselves.

"Companies are going from reactive to proactive, and employees are demanding it," Sud said of the video push and how its customers are looking for more functionality in their video software. The knock-on effect for Vimeo, she added, has been to become a consolidator of many of the smaller video companies that have emerged over the years to address different aspects of the creation process, to make a bigger product that is easier to address that demand, with "several acquisitions helpful in expanding our product suite to create an all-in-one professional video solution. Our belief is that every startup has an interesting video feature to provide. We want to get every company using video every day, to get 1 billion knowledge workers using video. To do that you have to materially lower the barriers."

It's been a years-long strategy for the company, with other acquisitions including the purchase of Livestream, which it says now powers town halls and other live events (a platform that was expanded earlier this month by way of a new virtual events product); and Magisto, another short-form video creator tool.

Wirewax will be bringing more interactive video functionality to Vimeo, specifically with a drag-and-drop interface. One of the most obvious applications will be in the realm of e-commerce, where users will be able to use the tech to build "shoppable" videos with links within the videos themselves to buying featured items; but other applications can be technical (e.g. to product demonstrations) or education (for further information about something in a video) or internal training for employees (for example links through to quizzes).

Wibbitz, meanwhile, is more focused on video creation, and specifically tools for marketing, internal communications and media teams to manage large amounts of video while keeping the content consistent with company branding and style. It also still offers a product for using AI to transform text to video automatically, although this is no longer the core service. Sud said that AI IP will be integrated into its existing products that also provide the same functionality (which it acquired via Magisto).

"Wirewax was built for the video-first future, evolving video to be a lean-in, fully engaging experience,” said Steve Callanan, CEO, Wirewax, in a statement. “Marrying Wirewax with Vimeo’s video leadership and global scale will put the power of next-generation interactive video into the hands of millions of users. It’s an exciting step to be joining Vimeo and contributing to helping organizations unleash their creativity and produce engaging experiences that drive better business outcomes, from shoppable videos to boost sales, to entirely new ways to improve training, education, and customer service.”

“Wibbitz and Vimeo have a shared goal of making video creation so simple that any employee can easily and quickly make beautiful, professional-quality videos at scale,” added Zohar Dayan, CEO, Wibbitz. “We have spent over 10 years honing our product to serve marketing, HR, and communications teams at some of the largest companies in the world, and are thrilled to join Vimeo’s world-class platform to accelerate the video transformation taking place across the enterprise.”

The pair of acquisitions nevertheless come on the heels of a mixed year for Vimeo. The company spun out as a public company from IAC in May, debuting at $57/share. However, it saw its stock dip on its first day of trading ending up with a market cap of $8.4 billion on its closing day. Today, its share price and valuation are more than halved, with a market cap of $4 billion. Some of the skepticism in the market appears to hinge on the fact that it's spinning out into what has become a highly competitive space, with many a company with deep pockets also looking to address the same gap in the market for providing video services to businesses that want to do more in video.

Despite this, the fact remains that we have seen record-breaking levels for all kinds of video providers, from on-demand premium content companies like Netflix through to those focused as well on user-generated content like TikTok and YouTube, and those with more business focus, such as Zoom for conferencing.

That rising tide has also lifted 10-year-old Vimeo's boat. The company posted quarterly revenues of $100 million in Q3 (it debuted in May with quarter revenues of $89.4 million). Sud tells us that the company now has "hundreds of millions" of free users and 1.6 million paying users (that latter figure is flat compared to May, when Vimeo disclosed 200 million free users).

Since its pivot to B2B four years ago, Vimeo's customer base has settled on a pretty wide mix, ranging from SMBs through to startups and some 6,000 large enterprises including Starbucks, Amazon and Spotify. Enterprise revenues grew 60% in the last quarter compared to a year ago, figures that the company is holding in place as it looks to the future.

"We think in the long term of decades, not years," Sud said.

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