When a solution needs to find the right problem

By Gail Lethbridge
If you think that coming up with the solution is the hard part of a tech start-up, then try nailing down the problem.

This is part of the challenge faced by VidSnippets, a video capture and tagging service working out of Volta Labs in Halifax.

Co-founders Paul Farmer and Suman Pettem started developing their idea while pursuing the Masters of Technology, Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Saint Mary’s University. At first they saw it as a way for users to capture and share vacation or sports video with friends and family.

But then when they began to understand the market, they realized that the ideal customer for their product was business not consumers.

Rather than B2C, it would be B2B.

That insight drove a big pivot away from the family and sports video and towards engineering firms and services that use video for inspection and surveillance purposes.

They realized that many companies working in engineering, oil and gas and health care have reams and reams of video to view. With their web-based platform, VidSnippets could help companies unlock the value in the video by allowing viewer to select small clips of interest which can be saved, shared and linked back the to original video.

“We want to make video as accessible and searchable as any electronic document,” says Farmer.

This lead them away from the idea of providing free apps to mobile phone users and towards formal pitches to engineering companies. They are now working on developing pilot projects for potential clients.

When they have completed pilots projects to prove the concept, VidSnippets will be seeking investment to scale the concept for commercialization.

The next phase of research and development will be in-video tagging allow users to select aspects or anomalies within the video frame itself and then make that aspect searchable.

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