Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Grokker Gets $5.5 Million to Build Out Expert Video Network — Here’s Founder Lorna Borenstein (Video)

Last week, I talked to Lorna Borenstein, the former eBay and Yahoo exec, who has just launched a video network aimed at consumer interests using “experts,” called Grokker.

She’s recently gotten about $5.5 million in funding for the startup, largely from Khosla Ventures, as well as First Round Capital’s Josh Koppelman and angel investor Ron Conway.

Grokker has been aiming initially to offer the “best content in cooking, yoga and fitness from chefs and teachers worldwide,” moving into an increasingly hyperactive arena, with all kind of efforts to take advantage of the explosion of video use by consumers and the increasing amounts of online advertising there.

While a lot of the video action has been centered on Google’s YouTube, the experience there for both users and creators of such videos has been haphazard to say the least — making it difficult to both surface and discover the best content in the lifelong learning space. There have been a number of different efforts in the space to fix that, such as the recently released Curious.com, for lifelong learning, and food-focused Tastemade.

Borenstein herself founded Grokker after she had a frustrating time searching for good yoga videos while on vacation, even when she was willing to pay for them. After examining the landscape, she discovered that the purveyors of such services also found it hard to reach those interested in what they had to offer, even when their videos were superior.

Thus, she decided to put together such “passions” — topic areas will grow with time — with the passionate.

Here’s a video interview I did with Borenstein last week about Grokker, including ideas on how best to monetize the audience she hopes to create:

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus