Berlin startup Spil.ly

Michael Ronen (CEO), Stefan Marx (CPO), and Maximillian Schneider (CTO) © Jasper Kettner

Spil.ly

Step Inside Any Video and Make It Your Playground

Mixed Reality
Founded in 2015
19 employees
Funding €2.5M / Seed

Spilly is the next app from the makers of Splash, the 360 degree video app (winner of SXSW 2016). Spilly enables users to directly influence content by applying mixed reality effects onto videos. With these “spills”, users gain a new, meaningful way to connect with their friends and larger networks. Founded in 2015, they are a unique complement of AI experts, game developers, VFX programmers, and designers, with a strong vision to develop a visual communication language in mixed reality. Website

Interview with Spil.ly

What inspired you to found your startup?

Generation Z is redefining the role social media and online content plays in our lives. They are not satisfied with just passively liking or commenting on something — they want to create their own content, they want to actively engage with other creators and be a part of the conversation. We were inspired by this drive to actively participate, and have designed Spilly around making this possible. Also, We learned allot from our Splash.

How do you define success for yourself and your company?

Spilly is all about changing the paradigm of how people interact with video content online. By allowing users to step inside videos and influence them using mixed reality actions, we seek to establish a new kind of visual language and a new way of starting and participating in conversations. Success means we’ve effectively given people a different way to meaningfully connect with their friends and larger networks.

Is there anything you’d do differently if you could do it again?

We’re still early on in the launch process of spil.ly, so we haven’t identified all the areas in which we’ve failed yet. But from Splash we have learned to test our assumptions with mockups before developing features.

What problem does your product solve?

Scrolling through social media is isolating. Because feeds were designed when most technology didn’t allow for sophisticated interactions, user engagement is limited to passive actions (liking, commenting, resharing). Teens spend up to 9 hours per day on social media. The content they’re confronted with is staggering; Facebook alone estimates 100 million hours of daily video watch time. That means teens spend nearly 60% of their waking hours consuming content they have no influence over.

Where do you see your company in 1/5/10 years?

We see there being exponential growth in the mixed/augmented reality market over the next decade, driven especially by Gen Z. Spilly will expand to become the go-to space for people to actively engage with their friends and networks in a live mixed/augmented reality setting. We believe the visual language coming from Spilly will be the first step to the creation of mixed reality language. We hope that would be used when mixed reality wearables become mainstream.

How are you different?

Spilly uses a proprietary neural network, with real-time full body detection and tracking, to empower users to put themselves inside videos and instantly influence the content using mixed reality effects. When a user creates and shares a “spill”, they establish and encourage a language of visual expression, and engage in a totally new type of conversation with their friends and larger networks. Spilly is the only app out there offering this kind of active engagement and influence.

How often does your product/service show up in a user’s day or week?

Spilly shows up every time a user looks at their Instagram feed or watches their friends’ Stories, any time they come across a video on their Facebook or Twitter feed that warrants more than a like or a comment. So daily, and even hourly in some cases.

Impact: how are you doing good and building a better future?

We’re putting control back in the hands of users. Too often the video content flooding social media feeds requires us all to be passive consumers. We want everyone to have the tools they need to influence content, to change it, to define the terms of the conversation instead of accepting what they’re shown. This means more agency for users, and the ability to make their opinions, and their creative selves, seen and heard.

How has the startup scene in Berlin changed?

The startup scene in Berlin is constantly expanding, and in the past few years has become a destination for people looking for the opportunity to work on VR and AR projects. Not only does the city itself foster creativity and experimentation, it’s also a vibrant community of people from all over the world, from so many different industries and disciplines, all coming together to build cool things.

What are the pros and cons of launching your startup from Berlin?

There are more pros than cons for sure. Berlin is really a convergence of people and ideas from all over the world, which means a never-ending stream of new ideas and knowledge and energy. The obvious con is that it’s geographically far away from Silicon Valley, and that network.

Bonus Question: Anything else that we need to know about you?

Contact us if you want your audience to enjoy engaging with your content

Spil.ly was featured in “The Hundert Vol. 10 – Startups of Berlin“, October 2017.

The picture above was taken at:

Mitte

Mitte (literally “middle”) is an elegant district located in the heart of the capital. Home to many restaurants, cafés, historic buildings, museums and boutiques, several startups and co-working spaces can also be found here.

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