Finance

Aussie online video entrepreneurs sell out to YouTube for $US15 million

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Ryan Junee, the Australian chief executive of online video website Omnisio, says he never expected the company would be bought out by YouTube less than six months after it was launched.

Ryan Junee, the Australian chief executive of online video website Omnisio, says he never expected the company would be bought out by YouTube less than six months after it was launched.

Omnisio, which was launched in March, is a service that allows users to take online video clips on sites such as YouTube and Google Video annotate videos, mash up various clips and synchronise slide presentations to videos.

Google announced late last week it had acquired the business for an undisclosed price, although US website Tech Crunch claims the deal was done for $US15 million in cash.

“The Omnisio team has tremendous technical expertise when it comes to advanced video tools and having this kind of talent at YouTube should help us further explore ways to enhance your YouTube experience,” YouTube said on its official blog.

The acquisition is a huge coup for Omnisio’s founders: Junee and his fellow former Sydney boys Julian Frumar and Simon Ratner.

The trio formerly worked together at US network security firm Sensory Networks before branching out on their own with the help of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Y Combinator, which provides start-ups with capital of $US20,000 in return for a small stake between 2% to 10%.

“We certainly didn’t expect to be acquired as quickly as we were,” Junee told SmartCompany from Silicon Valley. “My philosophy is that it’s best to build a company with a view towards long-term sustainable growth, rather than with a view towards being bought. I guess it’s true that the best way to sell your company is not to try.”

While he was unable to reveal any specifics of the deal – such as whether Omnisio will remain as a stand-alone entity or who approached who to kick off the deal – he did say that he, Frumar and Ratner are excited to join the YouTube team and “work on some innovative new products and features”.

When asked whether he had any tips for budding web entrepreneurs, Junee says his number one tip would be borrowed from Nike – just do it.

“It’s easy to spend months analyzing a potential business idea, trying to decide if there is a market, whether there are potential competitors, whether it’s even something people want. But honestly you’ll never know until you just put something out there – and in the process of building and releasing a product you will learn a LOT,” he says.

“Very few entrepreneurs can predict in advance what products and features will become popular, and the majority of successful businesses today probably look very different to the original idea/plan. Release something as quickly as you can, listen to your users, and iterate quickly.”

Junee says he has met several Australian web entrepreneurs who are doing great things with new web companies and wants to see founders make the pilgrimage to Silicon Valley.

“Having lived in Silicon Valley for five years now, I don’t have a lot of connections to what’s going on Down Under, but more often than not anyone serious about building a business in the consumer web space visits Silicon Valley at some point. I invite any Aussies to look me up so we can have a beer.”

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