Buenos Aires, Silicon Valley and Back Again: Catching up with Wideo

When we were last in touch with Wideo, it was in the midst of a pretty wild ride of the 500 Startups variety.

On a trip to States as part of Mission Buenos Aires – Silicon Valley, Wideo was introduced to Dave McClure as well as César Salazar of Mexican.VC (a 500 Startups acquisition). At Salazar’s urging, the Wideo team got their networking pants on to win over the people at 500 Startups. And just like that, they were headed to Mountain View soon after.

Almost six months later, we reached out to Agu De Marco, one half of Wideo’s founding team (his co-founder is Agus Esperón). He filled us in on what’s happening with the company now. Hint: it has a lot to do with a certain Argentine accelerator.

The Wideo team with Mr. Wideo at 500 Startups.

The 500 Startups Experience

Wideo completed the 500 Startups acceleration earlier this year. De Marco said that while the experience was valuable in bringing the product to launch, mentoring, networking and distribution, Wideo was a bit out-of-sync with other 500 Startups companies in terms of timing.

When Wideo joined the 500 family, it was only working with a prototype. Therefore, it spent the first two months of the program – October through December – building the Wideo product itself and preparing for launch. Other startups, on the other hand, were refining their products and business models. Come January, Wideo shifted its focus, along with the other companies, to pitching in preparation for Demo Day, therefore skipping over that middle refinement phase.

Given the immaturity of Wideo during the 500 Startups cycle, the team decided to seek out acceleration opportunities with a product that is now more mature. Enter NXTP Labs, which selected the company to join its fourth startup class.

Though the NXTP Labs program started just a few weeks ago, De Marco said that he would define this as a more thorough acceleration experience given the company’s current, more developed stage. Nevertheless, he pointed out the advantages of the 500 Startups program – namely, the contacts and network.

Buenos Aires vs. Silicon Valley

As to the comparison between acceleration experiences in Silicon Valley and Buenos Aires, De Marco said that the energy is similar, There are great people trying to do great things.”

He did point out the issue of mentors – a key difference. 500 Startups, with its Silicon Valley location, gives its startups access to a huge network of highly successful entrepreneurs and professionals, people who are doing and have done amazing things. NXTP’s mentoring offer, while the best in Argentina, is limited due to the ecosystem’s relative youth.  De Marco also noted 500 Startups’ heavy focus on distribution.

We moved on to talk about the types of startups in the two programs. What were his impressions there?

500 Startups is known for seeking out global startups, something De Marco said one can note. Half of the companies he worked with while at 500 Startups were from abroad. Moreover, they were quite technical in nature. NXTP’s companies, on the other hand, are largely Latin American. He mentioned that many seemed to be focused on games or marketplaces, too.

On Wideo

As our conversation came to a close, we returned to the topic of Wideo itself.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/52714459#at=3[/vimeo]

Wideo officially launched its animated video creation platform at the end of last year. Though take-off was slow (due to the holiday season), things have progressed quickly since then. The number of wideos made has tripled, and over the last month and a half, the company’s user base has doubled.

SMEs will now be Wideo’s focus market, as it aims to become an alternative for external communications and presentations traditionally taken care of via PowerPoint and PDF. De Marco sees it as a way for small businesses to market their products and services, communicate with customers and announce offers and updates.

One modification that will soon be coming to Wideo is the inclusion of templates. While users generally have no problems using the Wideo platform technologically, many need inspiration, a place to start. This is something the team is working on now.

What’s Next

So where does Wideo hope to be in the next six months, once the NXTP experience is over and the startup is completely out into the world on its own? De Marco said the team hopes to have the templates up and running to see how they’re received. They also hope to test charging users for Wideo (it is currently free). Focus will be on customer acquisition costs and long-term value.

We’ve been following Wideo for quite some time now, from when it presented at Mission Buenos Aires – Silicon Valley, to its passage through 500 Startups, and now in its turn with NXTP Labs.

Its beta version up and running, but Wideo’s work is by no means done. Given Wideo’s history of persistence, innovative product and, frankly, a bit of luck, we doubt this is the last we’ll hear from the company.