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Digital Dealmakers: Reggie Bradford

Mar 5, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The player: Reggie Bradford, CEO of software firm ViTrue

The play: Networks, advertisers and rights holders have grown increasingly concerned about where and how their content is distributed on the Web. But they also want to capitalize on the user-generated craze. ViTrue aims to solve that dilemma by letting media companies create forums on their Web sites for users to submit and upload videos in a controlled fashion. “I wanted a safe place for brands,” Mr. Bradford said. “There are so many issues brands are concerned about, like pornography and copyright.” ViTrue’s software lets broadcasters, media companies and marketers review any video before it posts, creating a walled-garden environment for user-created content.

The pitch: In addition to its software, ViTrue can provide moderating and review services for the videos. ViTrue employs Web video reviewers in Atlanta and the Ukraine who review each submission before posting. “[Web sites] get the entire YouTube experience on their Web site with their look and feel, and we manage the back end,” Mr. Bradford said. “It’s seamless and integrated on top of their Web site and whatever software they use to run the site.”

In the mix: ViTrue’s customers include TBS, VH1, Procter & Gamble and others. ViTrue powers TBS’s “Funny or Not” community on its Web site, which lets TBS viewers create, produce and upload their own funny videos. ViTrue also is the engine behind VH1’s talentload.tv, which lets viewers upload their own music videos. Mr. Bradford said he’s in talks with other networks to create user forums on their sites.

Competitors: Technology firms such as Brightcove and Motionbox offer some components of ViTrue’s technology.

Backstory: Mr. Bradford founded ViTrue just a few weeks after leaving Tandberg Television in April. He purchased video-sharing site Sharkle and used the assets of that site to create ViTrue.

The money guys: Mr. Bradford funded ViTrue with $2.2 million in seed money from his own pocket and from General Catalyst Partners. He then raised another $3.5 million in strategic funding from Comcast Interactive Capital and Turner Broadcasting. He said ViTrue could reach profitability this year, but it’s not “necessary or prudent.” Instead, he’s focused on growing the business and expanding the software’s capabilities. Customers either pay an upfront fee and a monthly fee based on usage, or they can opt for a revenue-sharing model where ad dollars are split with ViTrue.

Pros: User-generated content is a white-hot category.

Cons: ViTrue is operating in an overheated area. “There are a bunch of me-toos out there and companies creating confusion in the marketplace. You’ll see that settle out in the next six to 12 months,” Mr. Bradford said.

Background: Mr. Bradford, 40, previously was president of Tandberg Television, a post he earned when Tandberg bought N2 Broadband in February 2005. Mr. Bradford had been president and CEO of N2 Broadband since 2001 and before that was chief marketing officer at WebMD Corp. He was born in Milwaukee and raised in Atlanta, where he now lives with his wife and five young children. He earned a degree in finance from the University of Georgia and an MBA from Emory University.

Who knew? Mr. Bradford fancied himself a basketball star until one day in the eighth grade, when he dribbled a ball to the opposing team’s basket because he was daydreaming. That fateful shot squashed his dreams of becoming the next Michael Jordan.