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Video software firm targets health care industry, training

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Tom Stine (second from left), president of Viddler Inc., holds a weekly marketing meeting. The Bethlehem company's clients include Amazon and The Walt Disney Co.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Tom Stine (second from left), president of Viddler Inc., holds a weekly marketing meeting. The Bethlehem company's clients include Amazon and The Walt Disney Co.

Viddler Inc. of Bethlehem, the creator of online video software for business training, has quietly and successfully built an impressive list of big-name clients.

Now, it’s on the cusp of broadening its scope in the health care industry and has risen above legal fights over patents and occasional financial setbacks.

Since its inception in 2007, Viddler “has transitioned from an online video platform for private viewing to a solutions platform for training and education,” said Tom Stine, president of Viddler.

In Viddler’s early days, it attempted to compete with the likes of YouTube, but then Google took over YouTube. When that occurred, Viddler knew it had to change its mission.

According to Stine, the company began focusing on providing the tools to enable customers to view videos securely within a private network. Viddler software supports videos that offer corporate training to many industries around the globe.

“We provide a secure environment and network, and people can access the product in 162 countries,” he said. “So we enable a video and its content to be played anywhere in the world and from essentially any device,” whether it’s a phone, computer, iPad or other electronic device.

Stine cited the example of a training video that gets sent electronically to an employee who is on a trip in Bora Bora. Viddler provides the means and support for the employee to privately view the video.

WELL-KNOWN CLIENTS

Stine said Viddler has thousands of clients who use its video products globally.

Noteworthy customers include online retail giant Amazon, McGraw Hill Education and The Walt Disney Co. A new addition to Viddler’s client roster is Ascension, a large health care provider.

Viddler recently announced its latest venture into the health care industry and its partnership with Ascension.

Viddler said it’s providing Ascension employees the capability to take part in engagement and training videos around the clock and throughout Ascension’s 2,500 locations.

FUTURE IS IN HEALTH CARE

“Helping our clients apply our video-centric technologies and lessons learned, across the enterprise, is our highest, best and most cost-effective purpose,” said Donna DeMarco, co-founder and vice president for professional services at Viddler.

Stine said Viddler is focusing on beefing up its client base in the health care market.

“We have had successful results so far with our health care clients,” he said. “Our future is in health care.”

FINANCIAL BACKING

Stine, who has 20 years of experience founding and co-founding software companies from coast-to-coast, has been running operations at Viddler the last seven years.

Over the years, Viddler has received significant financial backing from Ben Franklin Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, based in Bethlehem.

Capital ventures and private investments were additional funding sources for Viddler as an early stage company.

INCUBATOR

Wayne Barz, manager of entrepreneurial services at Ben Franklin Partners, estimated that Ben Franklin invested $450,000 in Viddler the last 11 years and helped get the startup off the ground.

At the beginning, Viddler occupied space in the Ben Franklin TechVentures incubator on Lehigh University’s Mountaintop campus. In 2011, Viddler moved to the Pi building on Evans Street on Bethlehem’s South Side.

“Viddler’s business model early on was similar to YouTube, and then it repurposed itself, and added rebuilding tools and functionality,” Barz said.

He also said Ben Franklin invested in Viddler at the start and continued to make investments as it saw fit. It believed in the tech company’s potential for growth and recognized its profitability.

LEGAL ISSUES BEHIND IT

Stine acknowledged that, like many other businesses, Viddler has seen bleak times and struggled financially, especially during a recent lawsuit filed against a company regarding patent infringement.

“That is over, but we were spending all our money to defend ourselves, and the others involved in the lawsuit were much bigger companies,” Stine said.

Viddler made it through those legal troubles and now is focused on building new relationships and attempting to move forward into unchartered territory.

DESIRABLE LOCATION

At home in its Bethlehem digs, Viddler has the opportunity to take advantage of Keystone Innovation Zone benefits such as technology grants and tax credits.

It is one of several other up-and-coming businesses in the Pi building, a repurposed blouse factory.

“Our employees love the reclaimed factory loft situated in the heart of a hip and diverse downtown community of restaurants, coffee shops and bars,” Stine said.

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