Aussie file compression startup wins qutbluebox Innovation Challenge

Startup gains half a million users within a year of launch

File compression startup, Clipchamp (not Pied Piper from TV series, Silicon Valley), has won $50,000 in a cash prize from its pitch at Queensland University of Technology’s qutbluebox Innovation Challenge.

Clipchamp, which operates under zfaas Pty Ltd, allows users to compress large video files via their web browser while keeping the full resolution and quality. It was cofounded by a group of QUT staff and their friends, and launched in August last year. Since then, it has gained half a million users, “with virtually no marketing”.

The Clipchamp founders pitched their startup to a panel of experienced startup founders and took out first prize, with sports analytics tool Fantasy Insider coming second and high school math engagement app Machinam winning the crowd favourite prize.

The $50,000 cash will be used to refine the compression service, as well as help with cashflow and accelerating growth.

It is estimated to save people “more than a billion hours of waiting each year”. A video the size of 403MB, for example, with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels and 3.20 minutes in duration, takes on average 17 minutes to compress down to 78MB.

“Humanity is now uploading more than four billion videos a year - and waiting two billion hours to do so," said Alexander Dreiling, Clipchamp co-founder.

“Quite a few people have referred to us as the real Pied Piper from Silicon Valley, although the only real similarity is that we and the fictional company have both tackled compression issues.

“[It’s] creating more than $1 billion in value for video hosting platforms like YouTube and Vimeo, which rely on high-quality content,” he said.

The team formed in February 2013 and initially wanted to build the world’s largest distributed supercomputer, with video conversion as their first use case. After deciding to take a new direction, they focused their efforts on video compression and built Clipchamp.

“We're growing strongly and many users give us excellent feedback. Solving a real problem for many users is our biggest success so far,” Dreiling said.

"We're operating in a rapidly growing industry, and growing fast is our only currency. Different growth trajectories might be the difference between us failing and succeeding.”

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