Los Angeles Business Journal

Video App Maker Opts For New Name and Focus

INTERNET: Viddy’s now Supernova as it works to regain firm’s early heat. By Tom Dotan Monday, November 11, 2013

Clique has actually been available for some time in the Apple app store, but this updated version marks its official roll-out.

The company will also continue to support and iterate on its once-namesake product – Viddy. When it was released in 2011 as a way to shoot and post 15-second video clips, it more or less established the genre of short, sharable video.

A tight integration with Facebook and cadre of high-profile users – Justin Bieber remains a frequent Viddy-ographer – led to skyrocketing popularity and a massive funding round. But Facebook later dropped Viddy from visual prominence and the category of short videos was eventually overtaken by Vine, owned by Twitter Inc., and Instagram, acquired by Facebook Inc.

At its peak, in May 2012, Viddy had 27 million members and was signing up about 500,000 more a day. The growth begat a $30 million Series B round led by Silicon Valley investor giant New Enterprise Associates, which valued the company at a rather inflated $370 million.

A subsequent plunge in traffic forced the company to restructure, which included Chief Executive Brett O’Brien’s departure, laying off one-third of its employees and returning a bulk of the investor capital.

This rebranding as Supernova, then, is an attempt to create distance from the past tumult. As Jason Rapp, who heads the company’s board, explained, the company has backed off competing with the giants of social media.

“We looked at Vine and Instagram – aka Twitter and Facebook – which are going at each other. Our thinking was, ‘Let’s go to our strengths,’ which are great products,” Rapp said. “And J.J. sat down to build.”

The company has another two apps set to roll out in the coming months; There are no monetization plans set in place for any Supernova releases as of yet.

While the old Viddy was focused on marketing and business development, this version of the company as a prolific app maker bears the imprimatur of its new CEO, a self-described “product guy.” Aguhob initially served as Viddy’s president and headed up the development of the app. He previously headed up product development for AOL Inc. and Live Nation Entertainment Inc.

With this new way forward, Aguhob said the company finally looks the way it should.

“My trade and talent is putting together great products that have a good sense of where the market is going,” he said. “That’s why we pulled back and refocused on getting in touch with customers.”

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