Digital Dealmakers: Chase Norlin

Mar 12, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The player: Chase Norlin, co-founder and CEO of Pixsy Corp.

The play: Pixsy operates in the critical video search sector of the booming online video business. A number of companies such as Blinkx, Truveo and ClipBlast are competing for pole position in the sector. According to 2006 statistics from Comscore, U.S. Internet users initiated nearly 7 billion video streams per month, with the average streamer consuming about two videos each day. The ability to quickly find those videos expands the opportunities to pair ads with them.

The pitch: Pixsy differs from video search engines like PureVideo and Truveo because Pixsy is not a destination. Instead, Pixsy powers video and image search for other sites. “We are entirely business-to-business,” Mr. Norlin said. “We let any Web site become their own video search engine.” He believes the secret sauce lies in thumbnails. Pixsy aggregates thumbnails of videos and images across the Web and delivers those thumbnail images in its search results. “Thumbnails do one thing extremely well: They generate clicks. Consumers love them and they want to click on them,” he said.

In the mix: Pixsy powers video and image search for search engine mamma.com, online TV guide meevee.com and Web browser flock.com. Pixsy also helps video search site

PureVideo.com deliver its results. Mr. Norlin said he’s talking to TV networks and media companies about licensing its technology for their Web sites.

Numbers: By year end, Pixsy expects to surpass more than 13 million daily search queries across all of its customers, Mr. Norlin said.

The money guys: Mr. Norlin founded Pixsy in 2005 with two other co-founders. The three early partners developed Pixsy’s technology in the evenings and on weekends until the company received almost $2 million in angel funding in summer 2006, allowing the founders to quit their day jobs. Customers pay a license fee to use Pixsy’s software, or they can opt to split ad revenue generated from search with Pixsy. Mr. Norlin declined to disclose when Pixsy would become profitable, but said the company is generating revenue currently.

Pros: Video search is one of the most important aspects of the online video business.

Cons: Pixsy will face competition from other services such as Blinkx, which licenses its technology too, as well as from online giants such as Google, who are likely to make bigger plays in video search.

Background: Mr. Norlin was born and raised in Bronxville, N.Y. The 38-year-old lives in San Francisco with his wife. Before Pixsy, he was an executive at ValueClick and also worked for Infospace. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley in history and a master’s degree in social sciences from the University of Chicago.

Who knew? Mr. Norlin is obsessed with road trips and will drive his Cadillac to any business meeting that’s less than 10 hours away. “It’s the best time to get to yourself, collect your thoughts,” he said.