FierceOnlineVideo Leaders - Alex Castro, CEO Delve Networks

FierceOnlineVideo got a chance to catch up with Alex Castro, CEO of Delve Networks, to talk about the online video platform company's performance in 2009 and his thoughts on trends and current events in the online video industry. 

FierceOV: Alex, what have been some highlights of 2009 for Delve Networks? 

Alex Castro: We've seen some really strong revenue growth, 100 percent actually from Q1 to Q2. I think that speaks well to the broader market, as other folks that are video enablers are doing well, and that's good to see. Early on in the year, there was a lot of fear and we were hearing that from customers. There was hesitancy to move forward on projects, but now we're seeing things improve, and we've seen a change to a more positive viewpoint. We've tripled our customer base since beginning of the year and launched our self-service product, we've signed some important big name customers and we're waiting on timing to talk about those partnerships.

FierceOV: What was the internal motivation to launch a self-service option? 

Castro: The impetus behind Delve's self-service option was that we'd hear customers were looking for an easy to use solution that cost less, didn't require a lot of bandwidth or storage. We recognized that our core offering - for medium-sized and larger enterprises and media businesses - was not going to meet that. We just saw a lot of interest from a lot of small companies, and it was hard for us to be responsive with internal sales force, so we said: ‘Why don't we have an e-commerce offering?'

Three hundred people have signed up since the launch of the product on July 13, so we're excited with interest and feel it is going to be a core revenue driver. There are 250 million websites on Earth, and we think most will have a video presence at some point. 

FierceOV: What are some trends you're seeing in the broader industry right now that you think will be important to watch? 

Castro: We're beginning to see folks outside of media and entertainment want to use video as an online marketing effort, and we're seeing a wide mix of companies showing interest. We're seeing companies taking video seriously and we're seeing a tremendous trend of folks weaving video through their business. They get excited about the video growth and excited about how online delivered video is going to change their experiences.

Definitely seen more interest in mobile, which has been on the cusp, but the iPhone has been an enabler, and now I see a tremendous amount of interest around mobile video. With mobile video, I think there are two key factors. You need some knowledge of the devices you're going to support and you need to decide if you're going to support a broad swath of devices. It's becoming a reasonable decision just to do iPhone, because it's very difficult with the number of devices out there to serve the correct file formats, bit rates, displays, while also minimizing bandwidth usage. It's a multi-variable equation you have to solve to try to optimize the experience, but it's getting simpler and it eventually will work well. 

FierceOV: Where would you like to see Delve Networks in the next 12 to 24 months? 

Castro: I'd like to see Delve Networks become a leading provider of video to a wide range of customers, taking a broad view. In the near term, growing revenue and reaching profitability are our main goals.

Trying to hire people is difficult, because you want to scale but you also want to hire the right folks. You need to make sure they're treating customers the right way, building great products, and that's always a challenge. It's also important I think to not become arrogant in success, and I think a lot of the companies in this space become increasingly arrogant as they have success. I think you need to ask what the long term implications of that are to a company's culture, because you don't gain any points with customers by being arrogant. Customers want to see a company that's humble and customer-centric. I think there is room to be the nice guys in the market, and I think they're going to multiple winners.