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30 Best Small Companies to Watch 2017

Redefining the future of Television: Ooyala

thesiliconreview-jonathan-huberman-ceo-ooyala-2017Every day, hundreds of customers around the world rely on Ooyala to maximize the revenue potential of every digital video asset on every possible device.

Headquartered in San Jose, Ooyala provides everything its customers need to connect with viewers on all screens: to package, manage, publish, syndicate, measure, personalize and monetize video. The company offers the industry’s most comprehensive video solution, built for modularity to enable swift integration of best-of-breed components from the video ecosystem.

Ooyala’s comprehensive suite of offerings includes one of the world’s largest premium video platforms, a media logistics solution for video production workflows, and a holistic advertising platform for direct and programmatic trading. Built with superior analytics capabilities for advanced business intelligence and a strong commitment to customers’ success, the company’s industry-leading end-to-end solutions help large-scale broadcasters, operators, and media companies build more engaged and more profitable audiences with personalized video and TV experiences across any screen.

Ooyala: Revolutionizing Digital TV

The company was established in 2007 when the founders saw a number of data points hinting at how the nature of watching TV was fundamentally changing. The launch of iPhone ushered a new path for the growth of mobiles phones, making it easier to catch up content on the go. By 2007, YouTube had grown to be a leading video-sharing platform receiving millions of views per day. The medium for watching videos was gradually shifting. They saw an opportunity to be part of this new and emerging form of TV. At first, the intention was to build a destination site for content but soon Ooyala pivoted to a B2B company, offering software and services B2B instead of B2C.

Ooyala’s first product was Backlot – a video content management system and it was launched in 2008. At the same time, AWS had also launched and the notion of a cloud-based service was relatively new. Building Backlot in the cloud allowed companies to get up and running much quicker.

Committed To Customer Success

Ooyala’s first customer was Times of India. The company founders were working in the office when they got a call from the head of digital at Times of India, who was interested in the video space. As a traditional print publisher, they needed help extending their audience to the world of video. They had an in-house solution that was stitched together but wanted someone else to take it over, eventually becoming the company’s first customer and remaining as a customer to this day.

Customer feedback has always played a significant role in the development of Ooyala. A fine example of this was the company’s initial pivot to B2B instead of B2C. Ten years ago, as Ooyala pitched its B2C destination idea to potential content providers, the company received feedback saying that there was little faith in the Internet as a viable and secure distribution vehicle. Taking this advice seriously, Ooyala switched to providing a B2B platform that provided the required security and analytics to provide transparency into how its customers’ content was being watched. This gave Ooyala’s customers significant peace of mind. The analytics piece was, and still remains, a key driver of Ooyala business and one upon which it still places significant investment.

When The Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going

Just one year after Ooyala was founded, the world witnessed the one of the biggest financial crisis. This produced numerous challenges for Ooyala and it stood tall in those tough times developing a great culture and set of values that led to the company’s growth and success. The company stayed focused on its goals and surviving the great recession taught Ooyala a lot about focus and how to not only survive but thrive under different market conditions.

As the company grew, it learned more about analytics and realized analytics has value across the entire video value chain – not just in the publishing area. Over the last few years, Ooyala has acquired two other companies: Nativ and Videoplaza, which has afforded Ooyala the luxury of being able to address customer needs across the entire video supply chain.

Road Map Ahead For Ooyala

Currently the video production and publishing market consist of individual solution providers that supply different parts of the media supply chain. Ooyala believes customers would benefit from a single open and extensible platform with shared UI shared analytics and shared metadata that can be configured completely to its customers’ needs, without uprooting or replacing existing production systems, processes, or other video-based IT investments. The execution, delivery and the ultimate consumption of video content is evolving and Ooyala continues to evolve alongside it.

Customer Testimony

“The ease of use and the depth of the technology is what attracted us and kept us as customers at Ooyala... I feel like Ooyala is an innovative, strategic partner. There’s no way we could be doing what we’re doing without Ooyala doing what it’s doing.” - Ryan Holmes, Director Digital Media Group, BYU Broadcasting.

Greet the Leader

Jonathan Huberman, CEO: With nearly 30 years of high-tech business leadership, Huberman is an accomplished executive with a demonstrated track record of driving high customer satisfaction, technology innovation, and greater market value for software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies. Previously, he served as CEO of Syncplicity, Tiburon Inc., and Iomega Corporation.

Belsasar Lepe, Co-Founder & SVP, Products and Solutions: A co-founder of Ooyala, Belsasar Lepe now oversees the company’s solutions group. Bel is responsible for technology partnerships around the world, with a focus on building close and collaborative relationships with partners critical to our customer’s success. Before co-founding Ooyala, Bel was a Google systems engineer.


“We listen to our customers, put a lot of pride in our support and services organization, and continually strive to be a company that our customers want to do business with.”