Unda mobile messaging app rebrands to VideoSelfie, secures new funding round



See the original story in Japanese.

Unda is a mobile video messaging app brought from 500 Startups incubator last year. It will rebrand as VideoSelfie this week.

The app allows users to take a video clip with a smartphone, add animated filters and music to it, and share it with other users. Tokyo-based Pocket Supernova, the company behind the app, has $1.2 million in a seed round from East Ventures, Klab Ventures, CyberAgent Ventures, and other investors.

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Focused on real-time editing

The Unda messaging app was developed for the exchange of video messages. But the team realized it would be a matter before the market was saturated, so they began differentiating themselves with new technology, according to Pocket Supernova CEO and co-founder Oscar Yasser Noriega.

Since early 2014, the team has been focusing on adding real-time editing to the app, which allows users to add animated GIFs to selfie videos and share them with friends or other users via social network services. In addition, users can communicate with each other in the VideoSelfie community, which is similar to Instagram.

Noriega explained:

CEO Oscar Yasser Noriega

Many users take a video clip with their smartphone and send it a friend with a message. While video editing is getting popular, most apps have yet to adopt traditional ways, which lets users follow a step-by-step process for recording, editing, and adding filters. But VideoSelfie allows you to manage all these tasks in real-time in one screen and share the completed video clip instantly.

The VideoSelfie app is available in English, Japanese, and Spanish. Some 50% of their users are in North America, 25% from Southeast Asia, and the rest from other regions. While the app provides the same functions regardless of geographical conditions, some content or functions may be offered in specific markets. They will share a function focused on the Japanese market when it becomes available.

Taking selfie videos like ‘purikura’ photos

Looking at their user demographics, girls aged from 12 to 19 years are the majority. The penetration of the “selfie culture” varies from market to market. Selfies are popular in North America and Southeast Asia, but not in Japan. To be widely accepted, the team believes that they need to educate people so that they will take selfie videos like they do in taking purikura photos with friends.

The team plans to generate revenue by selling additional filters and effects as in-app purchases, but it could also license its technology to bigger companies as another avenue for monetization.

With the real-time editing, the VideoSelfie app may lower the psychological hurdle that a user might have in conventional video editing methods. The app may become popular among young Japanese girls if they can easily create cute video clips with it.