Wednesday, February 24, 2010

CEO Conversations: Ron Yekutiel, Kaltura's Open Video Architect

Ron Yekutiel stands tall among the competition, and aside from the fact that he's over 6 feet tall, he's the Chairman, CEO and Co-founder of Kaltura, the first and only open source online video platform. I spoke with Ron several months ago about the growth of his company from its initial inception as a collaborative video toolset, to where it is now as a leading online video platform in a crowded market. Kaltura's SaaS platform includes, streaming and hosting, ad serving, content syndication, and aggregation of related third party services, as well as maintenance, support, integration and professional services.

Kaltura is a founding member of the Open Video Alliance, a coalition of organizations and individuals devoted to creating and promoting free and open technologies, policies, and practices in online video. As part of Kaltura's larger vision to democratize rich media on the web, the company shook up the online video industry in July 2009 at the OSCON Open Source Convention, with the release of the Kaltura Community Edition - a self-hosted, community supported version of Kaltura's Video Management Platform completely for free. Kaltura has received numerous awards including the TechCrunch40 People's Choice award, Mashable's ‘Open Web' award, Microsoft's 2009 'most promising Israeli web startup' award, AlwaysOn's ‘top 250 startup' and 'top 100 media company' awards and was recently named one of the IDC Top 10 Innovative Applications Companies to Watch. The company recently integrated with a number of technology partners like LongTail Video, Artivision, Mzinga and released open source extensions for Joomla! and Moodle

In the recent research report, The Forrester Wave™: US Online Video Platforms, Q4 2009, that compared six of the leading online video platforms, Forrester Research Analyst Bobby Tsulani defined Kaltura as a "Strong Performer" that offers strong differentiated options.
"Kaltura offers a highly differentiated video platform option, which allows organizations to fully own the open source code at no charge. The company also impresses with pioneering user-generated video that allows viewers to remix video clips. Additionally, the open community at provides a great resource for innovation and sharing in development. As a newer entrant to the market, Kaltura has started with a solid entry; if it can buttress its monetization and reporting capabilities, it will certainly compete with the market leaders."
This is part one of a series of interviews with Ron, presented in this installment of CEO Conversations.

Larry Kless: What is Kaltura?

Ron Yekutiel: Kaltura is the first open source video management platform on the web. It opens up video similar to how Mozilla had opened up browsers with Firefox, or how Linux had opened up their operating system vis-a-vis Microsoft, and we bring that degree of openness into the world. What it effectively means is that we've released the entire code that would enable users to have, if you may, a Brightcove in a box or an Ooyala in a box, or thePlatform in a box, or anyone of these dozens of vendors out there that are proprietary, completely for free and in their hands to control.

Larry Kless: What have you heard most from your customers, in terms of what they're wanting and needing to be successful?

Ron Yekutiel: We had initially started Kaltura and its first step was more of a collaborative platform. We've started by enabling these advanced cutting-edge Web 2.0 feature sets, like remixing and uploading, and it was not just user generated content, it was letting users manipulate even rich media, but it's on the site, so it's the participatory and the collaborative feature sets.

And what we had learned through the course of the last year and half was as much as people see that as the future, and as much as that is required across almost every vertical in every direction, they still miss the plain cake, not just the icing, that includes the asset management, the configuration of the player, the configuration of the metadata, integration of the metadata with their taxonomy around other infrastructure that they have, the syndication and statistics analytics and reporting, all these different things and that's exactly why we had over the course the year and a half enhanced and have become a complete and full video management platform because we seized the opportunity and the need and the clear requirements and demands of the publishers out there to get that.

Larry Kless: What more can we expect to see from Kaltura in the coming year?

Ron Yekutiel: Until now, whilst all our tools were open they were just the client-side, so there was no ability to have complete self-hosting, and a lot of value proposition that I've just mentioned were not there. We had planned all along to release that backend from the day that we started our company, it was waiting for us in the right and the right place and had indeed done so. And right now in OSCON is were we had actually launched that, that means that over the course of the second half of the year a lot of the focus is all geared towards roping in the community, and now that have a complete full and robust open source offering to give them, to ask back - to ask back not for Kaltura - to ask back for all of us, for the community to continue to support, to enhance, to give, to contribute. Until now we've had tremendous support but I think it dwarfs the amount of support we'll be seeing in the future and I'm happy that through places like the Open Video Alliance, we have partnerships Mozilla and large other successful, thriving communities that appreciate and want that enhancements that we to offer, and are building upon it and pushing with it and together with them, arm in arm, we will create way more applications.

So you'll see a lot more focus around community building. But that again is a mean. The result out of that would be a wealth of applications shared in an environment called an application exchange on the website. Which would mean that now we may have a dozen applications and we would hope to have hundreds eventually, or thousands of different applications, all of which geared to different platforms and different functionalities in different places and kinds of use with new widgets around rich media, all of which is available under the open source license. And, therefore all of which would be available to anybody to use, and that's the second part of this year we expect to have even greater growth than we've had for each new extension that we have comes a wealth of a new market to approach. So we've just gotten into the eLearning space and we have tons of universities down our way. We just got into the enterprise world there is many enterprises and organizations out there, and the same goes with healthcare so it's definitely definitely exponential.

So the future of the video is getting into all these other verticals, I think media and entertainment are going to grow tremendously, double-digit like it's grown. But the green pastures, the blue oceans are in all these other places, in the enterprise, in distance learning, in the remote healthcare and all these environments. And by providing the toolkits for these industries to build their own solutions you can get there, where you could not have done that before by providing closed system that was offered to them to date.

So I believe that, that would be the future of rich media on the net and that Kaltura would take a significant role in enabling that.

End of Part One of CEO Conversations with Ron Yekutiel, stay tuned for Part Two.

About Ron Yekutiel
Ron is a serial technology entrepreneur starting companies in Israel, US, and Canada in the fields of Internet, mobile applications, and security. He holds an MBA with honors from the Wharton School of Business majoring both in Finance and Entrepreneurial Management. According to his bio, Ron is also a former helicopter pilot, loves traveling to authentic locations (Papua New Guinea and the Amazon are his favorites) and being breathless – shark feeding scuba diving, parachuting, bungee jumping etc.

About Kaltura
Kaltura provides the world's first Open Source Online Video Platform. Over 48,000 web publishers, integrators, and application developers use our flexible platform to add advanced video and photo functionalities including uploading, importing, editing, annotating, remixing, publishing, syndicating, searching, monetizing, and monitoring. Founded in 2006, Kaltura's open source code is available as a free Software Development Kit and as downloadable plugins for leading platforms, including content management (Drupal, Joomla, Alfresco), blogging (WordPress, BuddyPress), collaboration (MediaWiki, TikiWiki), enterprise (MindTouch, Elgg), and education (Moodle, Sakai). Kaltura's SaaS platform includes, streaming and hosting, ad serving, content syndication, and aggregation of related third party services, as well as maintenance, support, integration and professional services. Kaltura's self-hosted platform is offered as a free community edition, and as an enterprise edition under a commercial license.

Since its public launch, New York-based Kaltura has won numerous awards and endorsements, including the coveted TechCrunch40 People's Choice award, Mashable's ‘Open Web' award, Microsoft's 2009 'most promising Israeli web startup' award, AlwaysOn's ‘top 250 startup' and 'top 100 media company' awards, LeWeb's ‘top 30 web startup' award, the Open World Forum ‘Open Innovation' award, Esquire Magazine's ‘8 most promising Web 3.0 companies', TV Week's ‘5 most promising video startups for 2009', and IDC's ‘top 10 innovative application companies'. Kaltura is also a founding member of the ‘Open Video Alliance' (, a coalition of organizations dedicated to fostering open infrastructure, tools, and standards for online video. For more information: and