Meet the top 15 startups in online video

The online video industry is expanding by leaps and bounds. That's no surprise, and neither is the sheer number of startups bringing new ideas and technologies to the segment. There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of new companies contributing to the IP video ecosystem.

That made picking just 15 of the most compelling online video startups something of a challenge. The process for the first-ever FierceOnlineVideo Fierce 15 began more than a year ago, with editors including myself, Mike Dano and Nicole Blanchard exploring the expanding crop of new online video entrants.

These are interesting times for the industry: in the past several months I watched companies that had interesting offerings rise, then fall flat for various reasons.

For this inaugural Fierce 15, we sorted through dozens of nominations submitted by both our audience and by Fierce editors. Startups had to be U.S.-based businesses, or do a significant amount of business in the U.S.; they had to be privately owned; and they had to have been founded in the last five to seven years. The final choices weren't easy: nominees had to stand out, whether through unique industry offerings or by doing things in a way that set them apart from competitors.

Most companies stood out not by their financial success but by their compelling contribution to online video. Take, for example, Meerkat, which electrified the industry in early March with its live-streaming app that tied into Twitter. The ultimate decision by Twitter to buy rival company Periscope instead and block Meerkat has left the company in something of a "what next" mode, but it's important to acknowledge the contribution the startup has made--and to note that they are not out of the game yet.

We also included a company that doesn't seem to fit the online video mode. Rabble.TV's service relies on audio streaming, not video. But its premise is interesting, its setup is uncomplicated--making it easier for users to bring their ideas into play within the service's format--and the startup is a reminder of early days in the OTT streaming space. Despite the media behemoths lumbering into online video with SVOD and TV Everywhere offerings, there's still room for small startups to take root.

It's in that spirit that we bring you the very first FierceOnlineVideo 2015 Fierce 15. As noted, there were many companies that we didn't include. If you feel one deserved to be on this list, let us know in the comments.

And don't forget to check out FierceWireless' recent Fierce 15 selections for 2015 in the wireless industry. Our sister publication has been highlighting innovative companies for several years now—it's a great way to get familiar with startups that will be making a splash in wireless over the next few years.--Sam