Today’s Featured BizSpark Startup is Tomorrowish from Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Have you ever recorded a television show only to find your friends talking in social media about the series finale before you’ve seen it? Mick Darling, CEO of startup Tomorrowish, has been there. He has a solution to the problem – and Microsoft BizSpark helped him make it happen.
Tomorrowish is a B2B service that records the social media conversations about television series, shows, events, and advertisements as they air live on TV. It then curates and plays back all the conversations when users are ready to view it. So, when TV viewers use Tomorrowish, they can watch the show at their leisure and still see all the fun social media conversations as if they had been sitting in front of the television during the actual showing.
“My friends and I would get tweets and other posts telling us all the spoilers and things about a TV show that we didn't want to know yet, because we hadn't watched it yet!” says Darling. “We built this so that, as friends, we could still participate in social media conversations about the show when we wanted to watch it.”
From a technical perspective, it wasn’t so simple. Tomorrowish had to filter all the television and social media content in real-time – and automate as much as possible. Through participation in accelerators, the startup learned of the BizSpark program. The program offers startups free access to cloud software like Microsoft Azure and Visual Studio, plus tools and support for three years.
“It's been fantastic to use those tools without having to worry about overhead and all the other things that go on with technology,” says Darling. “Plus, we’ve received some support as well as part of all of those tools available.”
He says that having a connection to Microsoft, which has contacts in all kinds of corporations and other entities that Tomorrowish wants to work with, is incredibly valuable for his company.
“Now we work with Twitter, Fox, Hulu, Facebook, Vimeo and many others,” says Darling. “In the beginning, we didn’t necessarily have the ability to network with folks that we want to sell products to. Microsoft has helped us make some of the key partnerships we have today.”
Darling lights up when he considers the possibilities for his startup over the next five years. He’s starting to look beyond the entertainment industry into other niches.
“We can use this for education,” he says, “like in those huge online classrooms that have no personal connection to a student. They could ask questions, teachers can sort through social media comments to determine who is having trouble and where the most question marks are popping up in a topic.”
In five years, he adds, folks will simply assume that they'll be able to have an interesting conversation about their favorite shows and entertainment whenever they want to watch that video. The conversation will always be there waiting for them, he says, and always be improving so they'll have reasons to go back and watch their favorite content when desired . . . you know, Tomorrowish.