TechStars Alum Shelby.tv Moves Back Towards Spotlight at NYTM

2/6/13Follow @jpruth

Last night’s New York Tech Meetup put some familiar faces on stage, including the team at Shelby.tv, which gave a look at what the startup has been up to since last summer when it began to rebuild.

From a big picture perspective, Shelby.tv continues to be about discovering video online; however this alumnus from the TechStars NYC accelerator program has taken on a new focus and is creating a new platform. Last night CEO Reece Pacheco demoed a proof of concept called Shelby.tv/Experience, which lets users create streamlined, easy-to-watch video channels from websites that have embedded video links that may be clunky and text-heavy. “It takes any page, blog, or URL that has video and pulls it into a video experience,” Pacheco said.

For example, rather than seeing just a bunch of video links being shared by others on social news and content site Reddit, Shelby.tv’s platform could create a video channel that plays that content for the user. “We’ve been hard at work on that the last year or so, trying to build the best place to find video that means something to you,” Pacheco said. During the demo, he showed off FredWilson.tv, which puts in one place all the videos venture capitalist Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures has been sharing on avc.com, Twitter, and Tumblr.

The goal, Pacheco said, is to give users an online video experience more akin to watching television. “It shows a little bit of where we’re going as a company,” he said.

In spring 2011, when Shelby.tv graduated with the first TechStars NYC class, the startup’s platform was aimed at letting users create personal video networks by pulling videos shared by their friends on social networks. Users could talk about these videos and share their personal channels across social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

After that, Shelby.tv changed its strategy to attack the chaotic online video market. Last July the startup pulled the plug on its platform, raised $2.2 million in a Series B round from Avalon Ventures and other investors, and began to rebuild. As pivots go, Pacheco has been fairly candid about the changes. In a blog post last summer he shared some of the reasons for the decision to “burn the boats” and work with new code from the ground up.

To sum up, the old Shelby.tv shut down because the team did not have time or resources to keep supporting it while refocusing on creating something new. Now Shelby.tv is aiming for a “lean back on the couch” viewing experience for online video. Pacheco said he expects the new platform to be released publicly in the second quarter.

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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