Short-Form Video App Clash Acquires and Merges with Byte

Short-form video app Clash, which debuted in August, just acquired Byte, another short-form video app released a year ago. Byte creator Dom Hofmann was a co-founder of Vine, the once-popular six-second video app that shut down operations in 2016. Clash CEO and co-founder Brendon McNerney, formerly a star on Vine, explained that it is “more of an IP acquisition where we’re going to be taking over the community.” Byte and Clash will debut “in a few short months” as one product with monetization tools for creators.

The New York Times reports that, “Hofmann will take on an advisory role with Clash.” Users who heard in 2017 that Hofmann was working on a new short-form video app dubbed it “Vine 2.0.” Byte, which debuted in January 2020, “was a near clone of Vine … [although] certain metrics, like follower counts, were hidden.” Of course, the Clash-Byte combo arrives in an environment where TikTok dominates and whose “recommendation algorithm was far superior at serving content to users than Byte’s follower model.”

Clash focuses on monetization, something that neither Vine nor Byte did well, allowing “fans to tip influencers and pay them monthly subscription fees.” McNerney stated that creators can also monetize “individual pieces of content,” similar to dropping a dollar in a busker’s guitar case.

Clash adviser Karyn Spencer, who “helped spearhead creator monetization efforts at Vine,” said that, with Clash, “we will be able to put more power into the hands of creators so they’re able to focus on what they love without spending as much time worrying about how they’re going to make a living.” NYT notes that, “spurred by Patreon’s billion-dollar valuation and the rise of TikTok, the influencer economy has finally caught the eye of Silicon Valley investors.”

Seven Seven Six, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s new fund, is leading a new round of investment in Clash with “additional funding from M13 Ventures and Plug and Play.” “If you’ve been watching the creator space a while you’ve seen this growing steadily for years but then it rocketed forward,” said Ohanian. “There’s a lot of tools that need to be built, and I think this is the platform to do it. If we can create more ways for more people to make a living creating content, that’s a good thing for everyone.”

Online platform Stir also “raised $4 million from big names in the social space including Jack Conte, the chief executive of Patreon, Chad Hurley, a co-founder of YouTube, and Casey Neistat, the YouTuber.”

The Verge reports that Clash co-founder P.J. Leimgruber doesn’t see the new app, which “quietly launched” in beta in July, as competing directly with TikTok, but rather “offer[s] a supplemental service where creators can connect with — and get paid by — their top fans.” The Verge adds that, “Byte has been installed 4.5 million times since launch and that Clash reached half a million installs as of the fall.”