Some Assembly Required? San Diego’s ShowUhow Uses Web-Based Video to Displace Printed Instruction Guide

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its manufacturing and retailer customers a monthly service fee to host the videos. The company also can help its customers create videos; ShowUhow operates a studio in San Diego where it can record and produce videos. “Our patent-pending platform technology can be deployed on both the Web and smartphones,” says Folsom, who estimates ShowUhow will generate $1 million in revenue this year and $5.8 million in 2011. Instead of focusing their online service on ad-click conversion, Folsom says, “we’re focused on sale, satisfaction, and [customer] retention.”

Folsom says she raised a small amount of angel funding at the outset from investors she knew from previous companies. In August, ShowUhow raised $3 million in Series A funding from Syncom Venture Partners, a Silver Springs, MD, firm that specializes in media, mobile technologies, and Web-based service companies. The startup also announced in August that Giles Bateman, former co-founder of Price Club/Costco and former chairman of CompUSA, had joined its board of directors.

Folsom acknowledges that ShowUhow faces a range of competitors, from in-home service reps to internal call centers and companies such as Chino, CA-based Alorica, which provides a range of “customer contact services” for its business customers. Folsom says amateur users also create a tremendous amount of “how-to” video content that can be found online for free. But the free online content is problematic, and Folsom says most manufacturers wouldn’t seriously consider using them.

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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