Developing Minds Want to Know: Q&A with Dr. Oren Boiman of Magisto

by Brad Spirrison

Oren BoimanMagisto - Magical Video Editor, one of our daily app picks a few weeks ago, also made it into our Android Apps of the Week, we liked it so much. It offers a simple and easy way to edit the videos on your Android phone or tablet automatically. It’s a clever app which analyzes the footage you’ve shot and splices it together to create a good-looking movie which is then easy to share with friends and family.

In today’s Developing Minds Want to Know, we talk to Dr, Oren Boiman of SightEra Technologies, the parent company of Magisto. He discusses what inspired him to become an app creator, how he harness innovation and where he sees the future of the mobile industry heading over the coming years.


Key Company Facts:

Name and Title: Dr. Oren Boiman

Company: SightEra Technologies LTD, parent company of Magisto

Location: HQ in Israel + presence in San Francisco

Size (Revenue and/or Employees): 20

Primary Apps/Platforms: Magisto for Android and iOS, web


APPOLICIOUS: What inspired you to become an app creator?

OREN BOIMAN: I founded Magisto because of the personal frustration of trying to edit my first born daughter’s videos. It was difficult enough on a destkop, and almost impossible to do right on a smartphone. Obviously, it takes time to develop that level of artificial intelligence that enables a computer to think like a human video editor. Once we got that working, we built an iOS app and then an Android client to provide ‘video editing in a click’ to everyone carrying a smartphone.

We also just recently announced that consumers can edit videos stored on Google Drive, automatically. Right now our Drive integration is available via our web and YouTube applications and the new Chrome extension, but we are working on providing consumers with the ability to use it within our mobile Magisto apps in the near future as well. In the meantime, Android users can install the Magisto Chrome app from the Chrome Web app store to create Magisto movies using Drive integration on mobile.How long have you been developing apps, and what is the most significant difference between now and when you began?

We launched a web app and an app integrated inside YouTube.com in September, 2011. But, we quickly understood that mobile apps can provide a way better user experience.  So, we launched the iOS client at CES 2012 -and won first prize! Since then, Android has established itself as the largest platform for App developers, but all in all, Apps are more important right now than any other software platform (desktop, laptops).

Here’s a video of the Android app Magisto - Magical Video Editor in action:

APPO: What apps (outside of those that you develop) inspire you the most and why?

OB: Evernote, Dropbox to mention a few, because they understand that it is not just the mobile app, but existence over all platforms and eco-systems that sets your product apart. Their monetization strategy works equally well on all platforms.

APPO: Where do you see the most innovation in the app sector?

OB: I think that the photography sector is the most innovative (especially video), as it completely revolutionizes the basic concepts of photography. I believe that in a few years from now, capturing video/photo without an app to process and share them will be inconceivable. Photography – photos and ideos – has been essentially reinvented.

APPO: How do you harness that innovation in your own titles?

OB: We combine unprecedented sophistication of Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities in the cloud, with the 24h connectivity of the video camera on the smartphone to give every user the impression that Magisto brings a whole professional casting crew – director, editor, producer – ready to help you tell your story, in real-time, 24-7. The ‘blown-away’ responses, positivereviews, and very high ratings (higher than any video creation app in iOS, e.g. iMovie) tells it all.

APPO: In such a crowded space, explain how you generate awareness and drive downloads to your applications.

AB: At the end of the day, you need a killer app to make people talk about you and ‘spread the word’. All other channels are available to everyone and don’t provide differentiation. But it’s not just direct to consumers – we have a lot of interest from tier 1 device manufacturers and operators that are interested to help distribute the app in their eco-system.

APPO: What are the biggest technical constraints that exist today in the app sector?

OB: Getting your app to provide a consistently good UX on all platforms as they evolve (more screen sizes, hardware capabilities, operating system versions etc.)

APPO: How do you (or will you) make money from your application?

OB: On top of the basic level of features available for any Magisto user, on iOS we have a premium subscription service. This will be shortly available on Android.

APPO: What advice do you have to those working on their first applications?

OB: Work iteratively – launch something small, learn, improve and iterate. It’s very difficult to get it right on the first shot. That’s a good recipe for not wasting your time and improving your chances to develop something users really want.

APPO: Where do you see the app sector one year from now? Five years from now?

OB: In general, we will see more and more apps, but this means that app discoverability is going to be more important than ever. Utilizing multiple discoverability platforms will become one of the most important parts of marketing your app. Moreover, due to the multiple screen usage that increases, apps that are relevant on all platforms and eco-systems will have a significant advantage. This means that funded companies or startups will have better chance to develop these apps as this takes time and money. So, although there will be more and more apps, the apps that will be actually used will cause some consolidation in the app market (quite similar to what happened on the PC market after the first happy days of shareware software).

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