Lauren Goode

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Grovo, a “How-To” Video Company for Web Services and Apps, Raises $5.5 Million in Funding

While some Silicon Alley tech startups appear regularly in the media or show up in splashy ads, Grovo has largely flown under the radar since it first demoed its video offerings at the New York City Tech Meetup in 2010.

Now Grovo says it has just raised $5.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Greg Waldorf, formerly of eHarmony and currently of Accel Partners. SoftTech VC and Costanoa Venture Capital also participated the round.

The startup is also launching a redesigned website and readying a new mobile app for its video education platform.

Grovo iPhone

Grovo’s business centers on 60-second animated videos that teach people simple things such as how to perform a function on an Apple iPhone, how to sync files to Dropbox, or how to list an apartment on Airbnb. So far, the company has produced more than 3,500 one-minute videos, all focused on Internet services and applications, with about 70 percent behind a pay wall.

Users have the option to pay $8.25 a month for a year-long package, or $16 a month on a month-to-month basis.

The company has also been lining up larger corporate clients that want to pay for advanced video tutorials, in order to train employees on mail, calendar and other task-based applications. There are even learning “tracks” for social media managers.

But there are many competitors here, including the fast-growing business of Lynda.com. And YouTube hosts millions of “how-to” videos — for free — although these vary quite a bit in terms of quality and expertise.

Grovo co-founder Jeff Fernandez believes Grovo’s professional, education-based approach to how-to videos is what sets it apart from some others.

Accompanying each video are text-based transcriptions that can be viewed as PDFs. Users can create personalized learning tracks for themselves, like a syllabus. And after each video is over, Grovo presents viewers with a short quiz, to ensure they’re watching the videos and to allow them to progress on to the next level of training.

Below is a short snippet of a Grovo video on how to manage your Facebook Timeline privacy:


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work