Start-up launches viral video platform

A platform for discovering viral videos, which uses artificial intelligence and cloud-based technology, has been launched by a Manchester start up.

The app, called Wattl, aims to change the way users interact with social media and in place of what it says are the “linear and restrictive” content feeds opted for by Facebook and Instagram, Wattl provides users with a scrollable, interactive grid.

Videos play simultaneously and in real-time. Users pinch, scroll and drag the grid to navigate the content, zooming in or out, to view individual clips and images.

The platform’s innovative algorithm ranks and displays videos based on a proprietary blend of user engagement, genre and age. Users get a bird’s eye view of what’s trending and relevant across the internet.

Husband and wife co-founders, Emma and Matthew Ryan, have previously developed apps and platforms for a number of global brands, including the BBC, and Universal Pictures.

Based at Manchester Science Partnerships’ (MSP) Bright Building, the pair have been developing Wattl within Mi-IDEA: the innovation center, which MSP and Cisco launched in partnership last September.

Emma Ryan, Wattl co-founder and CEO, said “The traditional newsfeed is dying out. Users increasingly want innovative ways to access content, on their own terms and without restriction.

“With so much content being uploaded daily it’s becoming harder and harder to find relevant and engaging videos. Wattl provides a bird’s eye overview of the web’s most interesting clips and pictures, keeping you ahead of the curve by showing you what’s popular each day, and removing old content.

“Although it has the potential to disrupt tech giants like Facebook and YouTube, we’re not aiming to be a direct competitor. We see Wattl as the first place you go to find content. It’s a shop window for the best videos on the internet, which may well take users to other established platforms. The long-term vision is for pre-recorded and live-broadcast footage to sit side by side on the grid; with users publishing alongside their favourite brands and celebrities.”

Matthew Ryan, co-founder and CTO, said “Wattl is an exciting technical challenge that we’ve loved working on. We have an international patent pending on the video platform and we are using the very latest cloud and AI technologies.

“Manchester has been the ideal place to develop the app, and the support afforded by the Mi-iDEA programme has been invaluable.

“As a city, it’s also home to a buzzing, tech-savvy population and the perfect user base for Wattl. We’re delighted to reach this stage of development and excited to see how the app is received.”

Anne Dornan, head of innovation and partnerships at MSP, said: “Emma and Matt have amazing track records of developing successful apps for global brands. We are thrilled to be able to support their new venture based at Manchester Science Park, where they can access additional specialist services to help scale their business.

“Mi-IDEA is designed to nurture the most promising startups in the digital technology sector; and with this exciting new product launch, Wattl certainly fits that description.”

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