Digital Startup Platypus TV Credits CNY for their Fast Start
UPDATE Saturday, July 19th
Since we last posted this story, the team at PlatypusTV have made significant progress, and they’re asking for your help to reach the next level. Nomi Foster contacted LivableCNY with this update.
“We’re now using the Beta version of the app. Sarah commented all over Game of Thrones S1E1, and while we still aren’t through the tunnel, we are getting there. The app was submitted to the Android and Apple stores, so it will be available soon!”
The CNY startup is looking for a lot more users. If you’d like to share the TV experience with your friends—no matter where they are—then the PlatypusTV team has a solution. To download their SocialTV app, click here.
Platypus TV, a startup business in the emerging industry of social television is trying to change the way advertisers reach time shifted viewers, and they think Central New York is the perfect place to make that happen.
“We love Syracuse and see the changes that are occurring here. We want to be part of making this city a great place to live and work,” says Sarah Roche, one of the team’s three co-founders.
The low cost of living in the CNY area has already helped a number of startups extend their “runway” —the amount of time their startup capital lasts. According to Roche, Syracuse University and the city’s entrepreneurship community have also been instrumental in helping them grow their startup. “Anywhere else we would just be another startup. Here, we have more visibility, a pipeline of world class talent through the local universities, and access to mentors who are nearby and available,” Roche reinforces.
The idea for Platypus TV, a social television platform that creates a community for viewers who watch time-shifted television content, came from Nomi Foster while she and Roche were both Master’s students at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Foster’s background in advertising, and experience with fan communities had shown her that with the advent of smart phones and powerful tablet computers, television watching was changing, but advertisers hadn’t found a way to deal with it. “I was sitting in class and finally, it just clicked. I started designing the platform that would become Platypus TV. I showed Sarah and she said I needed to start working on this, now.”
Roche, who worked as a graduate assistant for Newhouse’s Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, directed Foster to Sean Branagan, the Center’s Executive Director. Foster enrolled in one of Branagan’s spring courses to further develop the plan. Over the next few months the startup team brought on another local—Camillus native and RIT student Connor Vanderpool—to work with them in the Syracuse Student Sandbox.
“We spent our summer building a proof of concept, to see if this idea had any viability at all,” says Foster. “Having a local incubator really helped us get started.” Once summer ended, Vanderpool returned to RIT to graduate while Foster and Roche continued working on the business.
“We spent the fall doing market research and making connections,” says Roche. They found that their former professors at Syracuse University were happy to introduce them to leaders in entrepreneurship, business owners, and experts who could help them grow their idea.
The local community was also instrumental in their product release, which occurred at a Beta Night Presentation hosted by Ignite Upstate. “We released our product around people who knew us and were happy to give us feedback,” says Foster.
Syracuse has a number of programs in place to help entrepreneurs with digital startups. Many are centered in the Syracuse Technology Garden, and that’s where the Platypus TV team got to work on their app prototype and its accompanying business model. In March of 2014, their work was rewarded with a slot in the final round of a national collegiate startup competition, Student Startup Madness. This tournament style competition, modeled after the NCAA basketball tournament, brought the team to SXSW, where they pitched their startup in front of investors.
This summer the PlatypusTV team has joined five other startups, some from as far away as Chili and Australia, at the Startfast Venture Accelerator, where they will further develop their company. “We had the option to head to other accelerators, but we have such a great community of people who want to see us do well here that we really wanted to stay,” says Roche. “We want to build our business in Central New York.”
The team will be presenting their progress on the August 14th Startfast Demo Day. By then they hope to have acquired more users and launched their product. “We’re doing everything we can to bring another tech business to Syracuse,” says Foster.
To learn more about social TV and the Platypus TV app, head to their website, PlatypusTV.com