Digital Media Wire | Spotlight on SPROCKIT: Q&A with CEOs of Startups Focused on Content Delivery

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest article provided by the NAB Show.]

NAB Show recently announced its newest program, SPROCKIT, which will give 10 market-ready startups the opportunity to present their products and services live on stage to industry leaders. We sat down to talk with founders and CEOs of some of the featured organizations specializing in content delivery – The Whistle, Everloop, and Tivli – to gather their thoughts on SPROCKIT, their inspirations and some of the little known facts about them (hint: one of the founders was featured on ABC’s hit show “Secret Millionaire.”) SPROCKIT is hosted at NAB Show, April 6-11 in Las Vegas.

John West, Founder & CEO, The Whistle Headquarters: New York, NY

The Whistle, in John’s words:

 “The sports network for the next generation of fans, trusted by parents and authentic to kids on every platform they use.”

What do you hope to gain from SPROCKIT and how do you believe it will help your company to grow?

SPROCKIT selection cuts through the clutter. The deep dive that the SPROCKIT experts took to narrow down the field from a nationwide pool of promising ideas into the ten “most revolutionary” market-ready companies means the meetings arranged under its umbrella will all be ones worth having.

We feel that partners approaching us through SPROCKIT are savvy, serious and understand the opportunity we seized to connect kids and their co-watching parents with compelling sports content that entertains, engages and inspires them to action.

What are three words your employees would use to describe you?

Friendly. Focused. Fearless.

Do you champion any philanthropic or social causes?

We will, and our kid audience will decide exactly how. Young viewers take social responsibility seriously and are passionate about the need for companies to help create social change.

Our MyLocker platform at will not only be a place for kids to create, curate and personalize their own sports content – it will be a place for them to make clear to us and their friends where we should dedicate some of our resources to help tackle the issues they care about most.

In addition to a specific cause or charity, getting more kids engaged in sports and creating content that gets them up and moving helps tackle the rapidly rising rate of childhood obesity.

Hilary DeCesare, Co-Founder & CEO, Everloop Headquarters: Lafayette, CA

Everloop, in Hilary’s words:

“Everloop is a digital home-base for kids under 13 years old to connect with friends, play games, discover talents & learn!”

What do you hope to gain from SPROCKIT and how do you believe it will help your company to grow?

Being one of the 10 highlighted start-ups vetted and selected by SPROCKIT, Everloop will have the business credentials necessary to become the “go to” company for the under 13 market. Everloop will have to opportunity to engage in sanguine business discussions about our COPPA compliant platform and why it is the turn-key solution for brands to reach this influential market.

Tell us one little known fact about you.

In July of 2012, I was featured on ABC’s hit show “Secret Millionaire”.

What was the impetus or Aha! moment that inspired you to start your company?

As a mother of 3 “tweens” I saw first-hand the need to keep kids safe on the internet. Even with an extensive technical background, I was overwhelmed by how quickly my kids became proficient in navigating the internet; they were so good that it was a challenge for me to keep up with them. Then, in 2006, came the news of Megan Meier who committed suicide three weeks before her fourteenth birthday. Meier’s parents prompted an investigation into the matter and her suicide was attributed to cyber-bullying. At this point it became clear that there needed to be a safe place for young kids to interact with one another, for their privacy to be secure, and where bullying isn’t tolerated.

Reece Pacheco, Co-Founder & CEO, Headquarters: New York, NY, in Reece’s words:

“Tons of great video online, but finding and watching the good stuff is painful! solves this, with a personal channel for you.”

What do you hope to gain from SPROCKIT and how do you believe it will help your company to grow?

We started this company to make watching online video a better experience, via a leanback stream of content that is personalized just for you. That means providing great content to the viewers who want it, so we want to work with and help the traditional producers who are having a hard time finding the audience they seek online. By working with these great producers, we hope to help boost their viewership, while growing our presence and further optimizing our technology for the long run.

How does your geographic location influence the work that you do?

NYC is the big media center of the world, but it’s also rapidly innovating itself as a city with a burgeoning startup scene that has created an environment that encourages disruption like no other city around.

How do you see the media and entertainment industry changing in the next 5 years?

The rapid growth of content creation is about to really explode. From GoPros, to iPhones, to smaller, wearable cameras – we’re only going to see more, creative content produced and that will change age old industry standards. With that, the traditional model will have to evolve to include these new audiences and larger, established brands/publishers will start getting more creative to keep up. The eventual result is a thickening of the “long tail” to create “Torso TV” – significantly sized audiences cropping up around what is, today, considered “niche” content.

Christopher Thorpe, Co-Founder & CEO, Tivli Headquarters: Boston, MA

Tivli, in Christopher’s words:

“Tivli brings live TV and TVE products like HBO GO to college students on their terms: wherever, whenever, and on all their devices.”

What do you hope to gain from SPROCKIT and how do you believe it will help your company to grow?

We want to demonstrate our live TV streaming product to the media industry and build new relationships with them. We want to work together to offer innovative solutions for reaching every audience on every device – securely.

What makes your company particularly innovative?

We’re rolling out live TV, delivered securely to all devices on campus – from the big screen in the dorm room to the WiFi tablet in the quad. We are uniquely positioned to deliver the best content to one of the most sought after TV watching demographics for content providers (18-24 year olds). We’re also building out a social TV experience that has never been possible before: see what your friends are watching or what’s trending on TV. We’re also the first company to authenticate college students for access to on-demand TV, like HBO GO. Finally, we’re building the infrastructure to deliver fully interactive, dynamic TV advertising.

Name three milestones you’d hope for your company to reach in the next 5 years.

  • Providing entertainment to millions of consumers – starting with college students
  • Delivering every programmer’s TV Everywhere product to our subscriber base
  • Tivli technology making TV available on 90% of the most popular video devices