YouTube founders try for their next big thing

Aug 08, 2013
Mixbit joins contenders like Instagram and Vine the mobile video creation space. Credit: MixBit

FORTUNE -- It's been eight years since Chad Hurley and Steve Chen co-founded YouTube, a video platform juggernaut where people upload 100 hours of video every minute. Now, Hurley and Chen are at it again, and they haven't strayed far with MixBit, a free app that lets users record, edit, and publish videos on their mobile devices. Launching first on iOS, an Android version will roll out in the coming weeks.

For Hurley and Chen, MixBit seemed a natural next step. "With YouTube, I really felt like we were able to solve distribution and help people get in front of a meaningful, global audience," Hurley tells Fortune. "But I never felt like we were able to provide them the right tools to help them effectively create content and do that through community and collaboration."

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MixBit joins contenders like Vine and Instagram, the latter of which branched out into video this June, which are vying for a chunk of users' ever-increasing mobile time. But where Vine and Instagram only allow a maximum of six- and 15-second clips respectively, MixBit lets users capture up to 16 seconds and stitch those snippets together into a larger video project over one-hour long -- or a maximum of 256 clips. They can then share the final result on Facebook (fb), Twitter, Google (goog) Plus, or the Mixbit Web site, also launching this week.

But where MixBit tries to one-up its competition is in its ability to let users edit and collaborate with other users on content. Vine for instance, is so simple it offers no editing tools, while Instagram's remain more basic. In comparison, MixBit members may crop, duplicate, import photos and outside clips not even taken with the app. (Indeed, they don't have to record any original clips at all and instead create projects with clips from other Mixbit members.)

"I wanted them to capture more than just a brief moment in time or help them do stop-motion animation," says Hurley, in a clear reference to MixBit's competitors. "I wanted them to actually tell some stories and share some real experiences."

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