Happs, an app that lets creators stream live video simultaneously across social platforms, has raised $4.7 million in a post-seed round. The product initially began as a platform for independent journalists. Still, it expanded its mission last year to offer tools to all online creators while connecting them through a new social network.
The funding was led by Bullpen Capital and Crosslink, Goodwater, Corazon, Rob Hayes of First Round Capital, and Bangaly Kaba, previously at Instagram and Sequoia, also participated.
What sets Happs apart from some established competitors in the space is the team’s desire to not only build tools that help video creators produce professional-looking online streams but to cultivate a kind of meta-community that brings people together from across other social media sites “We kind of view this as the essence of what the creator economy is all about,” Happs CEO Mark Goldman told TechCrunch. “The idea of locking creators into an individual platform is a very traditional way of thinking about content creation.”
Like Goldman, the other co-founders, David Neuman and Drew Shepard come from the media world. Goldman was the founding COO of Current TV, an experimental TV channel that dabbled in user-generated content and eventually sold to Al Jazeera in 2013.
“The whole idea was to democratize media and open it up,” Goldman said of his time working on Current TV, which he connects directly to his interest in building Happs. “[We] loved the creativity unleashed by that.”
Online creators tend to be siloed within the app where they’ve built the most significant community. Still, Happs wants to empower them to reach as many followers as possible in a platform-agnostic way. For creators, the appeal with multistreaming is maximizing reach while making content efficiently. There’s a risk of alienating YouTube followers at the expense of your Twitch community if you don’t play your cards right, but some savvy content creators have turned toward the model to grow their audiences.
Happy connects people across platforms in a few ways. For one, Happ’s users can broadcast live to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Twitch simultaneously. The app also collects live comments from all supported social media sites and beams them into its own interface, where they appear in a continuous cross-platform stream.
The integrated comment feature is an excellent built-in option for anyone who’s straddled comments across multiple devices simultaneously while livestreaming, which is no easy feat. When you’re streaming live, you can feature a comment so that followers can see it on the screen no matter what platform they’re watching on. Other companies in the space like OBS.
Streamlabs and Restream are focused on the tools part of the equation, offering power users a proper backend for pushing out multi-streamed live video. Streamyard also provides multistreaming for Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and other platforms through a simple browser interface. Unlike those services, Happs feels more like a social network, with standard features like user profile photos, follower counts, and a feed next to a “go live” button. Anyone can use the multistreaming platform through iOS or Android apps or a web interface, whether they’re a creator signing up for the tools or a fan looking to support the content they love.