Our Investment in Chute

by Ryan McIntyre

We are pleased to announce that Foundry Group is the lead investor in a $7m Series A financing in Chute Corporation. Chute provides “instant media infrastructure” to web and mobile app developers at companies such as CNN, The House of Blues, the NBA, Conde Nast, and many more.

Chute fits squarely into our Glue theme. We continue to be enthusiastic about companies that provide on-demand application infrastructure for mobile and web developers. Multiple companies in our Protocol and Glue themes fit this description, including SendGrid, MongoLab, Urban Airship, and Pantheon.

We’ve long been intrigued by the massive explosion in the number of photos taken and shared every year, from 86 billion in 2000 up to 500 billion in 2012, driven over the last five years by the rise of the smartphone and social media. Images, and increasingly video, have become a hugely important component of the online conversation in both mainstream and user-generated social media.

A third thread of interest for us is the notion of the “hashtag economy” and the conversations that occur across the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram and others, which are united by the ad-hoc creations of hashtags by users in real-time that bind together discussions occurring about specific news events, areas of interest, conferences, random internet memes and more.

Chute brings together these three areas of interest for us by providing a cloud platform offered to publishers, brands and other web and mobile developers who wish to easily incorporate and scale the use of visual media in their applications.

Photos can be ingested into the Chute platform via upload directly from users’ mobile devices, uploaded via the web, or captured from images bearing specific hashtags that are flowing on Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, or Twitter. Post-ingestion, Chute enables manipulation and distribution of the images, workflow to power editorial curation and pre-publication rights-clearing, caching and CDN delivery, and integration with a publisher’s CMS and advertising systems.

In a nutshell, Chute helps power the visual revolution: enabling developers, brands, and publishers to easily integrate photo and video content that originates anywhere into their mobile apps, websites, CMS and advertising platforms.

We are excited to be working with Chute’s co-founders Ranvir Gujral and Gregarious Narain and our co-investors Freestyle and USVP to help build Chute into one of the fundamental online media infrastructure layers.

Update: there’s some good press coverage this morning at Pando Daily and The Next Web.