SBJ/November 21-27, 2011/Idea Innovators
Priya Narasimhan, YinzCam
Published November 21, 2011, Page 20
President and CEO
Today, her YinzCam smartphone application allows fans at a game to replay video highlights taken from a variety of different camera angles on their connected devices, just seconds after a play has happened.
“The secret sauce is in how we do video streaming so it can be played on any smartphone, and how we scale so we can support that many devices on today’s Wi-Fi routers and broadband density,” Narasimhan said. “We obsess over doing that correctly.”
With a grant from Carnegie Mellon — which encourages its faculty to create spin-off companies — Narasimhan set to work creating a prototype in 2007. She approached the Penguins that year to try out the prototype at Mellon Arena, and in 2008-09 launched a trial run of the service within 1,200 seats.
According to Narasimhan, the number of regular users grew from seven to 800 in one season. The Penguins received such positive feedback that they built in permanent routers and servers for YinzCam into Consol Energy Center, which opened last year. News of the service spread, and Yinzcam now serves 13 NFL teams and three NHL teams, and Narasimhan employs a staff of 10 full-time employees. The application has been downloaded by 1.5 million people.
Narasimhan said she shrugged off funding offers from venture capital firms and prefers to grow the company from its current revenue. “If you don’t take a lot of money up front it keeps you hungry for sales, and that is how your revenue should come in,” she said. “We bootstrapped ourselves. We want to see how far we can go if we remain hungry and scrappy.”