See the original story in Japanese.
Tokyo-based Pulit, the Japanese startup developing distribution technologies for digital image and video content, this week announced that it has secured 50 million yen (about $500,000) in its seed round. This round was led by Korea’s startup-focused fund BonAngels as well as five investors…namely, Jun Narimatsu (ex-CFO of Cookpad, also as a strategic adviser and an angel investor), Yusuke Sato (founder of FreakOut and Ignis), Yoshinari Matsuda (attorney), Hiroyuki Kato (ex-CTO of Atlantis and current CEO of web service developer Irodori) and Goushi Yamaguchi (formerly worked at Cookpad and Lancers, currently involved in management of 30 startups). With this fundraising, Pulit has started making a serious effort to develop a new content distribution channel and services based on its own patents relating to ‘SuperDistribution System (SDS)’ for digital images.
Pulit was founded in 2015 by K.W. Lee (CEO), a Tokyo Institute of Technology graduate who had been engaged in R&D at Samsung Electronics, Min-Soo Kim (CTO) who had been developing apps as a freelance programmer and Shohei Komatsu (Director) who had been involved in fund management or technical advisory work at Tokyo-based startup accelerator Slogan. The firm was born out from the first batch of seed acceleration program Supernova which is jointly managed by Draper Nexus, Slogan, Coent Venture Partners and Viling Venture Partners (however, their participation was undisclosed because they were still in a stealth mode as of Demo Day) .
In the distribution of fee-charged video content, video distribution platforms such as Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Prime are commonly used. Although content holders or video creators hope to perform marketing according to their own will, in practice most of them depend on these platforms. Besides, since platformers grasp distribution path to viewers related to content, the profit of content holders or creators tend to be reduced under this income structure. What Pulit tries to propose is a disruptive business model in order to regain the initiative of video content distribution to content holders or creators.
In the SDS scheme developed by Pulit, as content holders or creators upload videos to be distributed onto cloud, Robust Image Watermark is embedded on the cover image and direct access link (URL) is issued for each video. Clicking the direct access link, OS-native players are activated and then users are allowed to watch the videos on PC or smart devices. Also, DRM (digital rights management) control is available, so that users can save the videos on local environment or watch them again according to conditions set by content holders or creators.
As a result, users need not be a video distribution platform member just because he / she wants to watch a certain drama or a movie. Content holders or creators have become able to freely conduct marketing or promotion activities according to their own direction without being restricted by any contract condition such as exclusive distribution. Since the promotion for content viewing will be done only by sharing link URL, it can be simply displayed as-is on the timeline advertisement of Facebook or Twitter. Actually, Pulit seems to expect such an operational manner of the service that allows content holders or creators to set the direct link URL to the video content for DSP (demand-side platform) advertisement, thereby raising the conversion ratio of the videos, and that may be the reason why the lineup of the angel investors for this round includes some who are familiar with the ad-tech field.
In addition, content holders or creators can distribute videos in pay-per-view method, and can change it to free-distribution method with commercial insertions (as with the commercial broadcasting) for each content just with a switch on the control dashboard. If reserving unreleased content for viewing, users can receive push-notification with direct access link for the video via LINE when the content has been released.
Currently Pulit consists of four members but plans to increase to six from September based on the fundraising this time. Considering demands for the Japanese content from overseas, the firm will start business promotion from intellectual property management agencies of Manga contents or animation production companies.
Translated by Taijiro Takeda
Edited by “Tex” Pomeroy