Tech investors said Viddy, an Instagram clone with video, was worth $370 million. The tech press parroted the "Instagram for video" line until their lips chapped, assuming it was true—since when is app hype wrong? Turns out it was! The startup just sold itself for an itty bitty percentage of that figure, because no one used it.
Close your eyes and travel with me back to 2012. The Next Web had Bieber fever and a mild Viddy rash:
One of the biggest celebrities on Twitter, Justin Bieber, has joined another hot service: Viddy.
Whether you're a Bieber fan or not, you have to respect the fact that someone with the size and type of following that he has is a huge grab for a service like Viddy
It also did a Viddy backer the favor of quoting him in this breathless headline: "Viddy investor: "it's growing so fast, I have to keep refreshing to get myself up to date"
"Viddy Co-Founder Says He Isn't Worried About Vine," reported Mashable.
TechCrunch's Alexia Tsotsis mumbled about the mega-veluation:
Someone wise once said "If Instagram for video were to happen it would look nothing like Instagram" but, because it was on Twitter, I briefly saw that tweet before it got lost in the ether and now I can't find it, dammit. But whoever said this is right (please reach out if it was you, I want to give you credit) and also didn't tell Viddy, which for the most part looks exactly like Instagram for video. Fine.
TC thought Viddy had a chance:
With the skyrocketing popularity and billion-dollar sale of Instagram, there's an ongoing race to apply Instagram's wildly successful photo sharing model to mobile video. There are a number of startups vying to claim the "Instagram for Video" title, with Socialcam, Viddy, Klip, Mobli, and even the infamous Color all in the running. Yet, today brings evidence that Viddy may now be the one to beat.
Nope. It turns out, the $370 million figure looked crazy and inflated because it was. Recode reports the video startup is now the Instagram of nothing, having pawned itself off for a tiny sliver of that once hefty valuation. Recode's Peter Kafka says "my hunch is that it's in the $15 million range." That would put Viddy's bullshit-excluded value at around 4 percent of what venture capital shamans claimed. There's a lesson here, somewhere, I suppose.