#StartupStory: Go live with Send it – SA’s live streaming platform

Article by Evan-Lee Courie on BizCommunity

How we interact with one another and the events that we attend have changed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re not going to be gathering together in person anytime soon. Fortunately, technology has played an indispensable role in connecting people and allowing many businesses to pivot their operations to offer their services and products online.

To support industries that have been negatively affected by South Africa’s lockdown, a new, easy-to-use and proudly South African online video streaming platform, Send it, has recently launched and is currently free to use.

The platform allows users to create and schedule live video streaming events. These events, such as cooking classes, concerts or online theatre, can be offered to audiences for free or at a cost.

“We want to help creators generate income during these uncertain times,” explains Brandon Muller, co-founder of Send it. “We’re aware of the devastating financial impact that Covid-19 has had on many industries, particularly those in events,” he adds.

Brandon Muller and James Coetzee, both serial entrepreneurs, have been involved in the eventing space for over eight years. They founded an internet solution company, Quick Connect Wireless, in 2012.

Brandon Muller
James Coetzee

The co-founders of Send it share more about the platform.

BizcommunityCan you tell us a bit about Send it?

Send it is a locally built, end-to-end live video platform; a tool for content creators to deliver free or paid-for-access streams to their audiences. Send it is also a service provider to corporates needing white-labelled live video delivery or video conferencing that can be reverse billed on all SA telco networks.

BizcommunityWhat sparked the idea and when did you get started?

We’ve been in the eventing industry for about eight years, delivering high capacity Wi-Fi networks. In doing that, we’ve done a lot of live streaming and came to learn of the shortcomings and pitfalls of other platforms in the space.

When Covid-19 hit, it gave us some nice breathing room to refocus our engineers on building out a whole new platform as opposed to servicing needs of existing clients.

BizcommunityWhat is the core function of Send it?

Our main purpose is to provide live video delivery.

BizcommunityWhat are some of the obstacles you’ve had to overcome since starting out?

Video tech is very difficult when building from first principles. There are a lot of open-source frameworks out there for video conferencing etc., but to do scalable few-to-many live video broadcasting is a challenging tech environment with an incredibly small margin of error. There is nowhere to hide during a live event if something breaks.

BizcommunityWhat services will you be providing?

Our offering is two-fold. For content creators, it’s a platform to help kickstart an online revenue stream or grow an existing audience through live video. For companies, it’s a fully customisable live video platform that is hosted in SA and can be reverse billed on local mobile networks.

BizcommunityCould you perhaps elaborate more about developing the platform?

We have a dedicated team of three highly-skilled engineers working on the internal mechanics of the platform. We’ve brought in freelancers, where needed, for consultation on user experience design, load testing and some other minor components.

We’ve been building this platform since the beginning of March and have a very long road map ahead. We’re very proud of what we have achieved thus far.

BizcommunityThe platform is free to use for now. How will you generate any revenue?

We currently take a 5% fee for any payments going through our platform. In the future, we will charge creators for hosting larger events. Our commercial white-label offering is a paid service and thus will be the most significant cash-generating component.

BizcommunityWill you need any assistance going forward?

At some stage, we would like to launch on a global scale, but there are a few features we’d like added before we get there. We’ll probably look to raise capital at that time.

BizcommunityLive streaming is quite a competitive market. What differentiates you from the competition?

We’re local, we provide excellent support, we’re currently very competitive in terms of price, and we’re an end-to-end solution for someone who is perhaps not that technical.

BizcommunityWhat trends would we start seeing in the online streaming market?

The streaming market globally is seeing a massive uptick. In the East, it’s already an enormous industry and hasn’t quite taken off elsewhere in the world.

We’re firm of the view that the unfortunate outbreak of the coronavirus is going to ramp up the adoption of live streaming.