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Meerkat’s CEO Ben Rubin Talks about his Company’s Future

“It is just a little bit more hard for us to build a community around people, new users, but we already started to work on that.”


Founder and CEO of new Israeli startup Meerkat Ben Rubin sat down for an interview with Yahoo Tech to discuss his company’s future now that it has been blocked by Twitter.

Meerkat, which was developed by Israeli tech firm Life on Air, co-founded by CEO Ben Rubin, 27, VP Product Uri Haramati, 35, and CTO Itai Danino, 29, is based in Tel Aviv and allows users of its app to live stream their videos.

The videos are not stored on a cloud, but users can keep their own copies.

But with only two hours’ notice, last week Twitter blocked the startup from accessing its social graph. Twitter made the move because the company plans on offering the same service to its users. It also did so less than one week after Meerkat’s service went live.

Rubin told Yahoo’s David Pogue at SXSW that his company is now planning on building its own social network.

He said about Twitter’s move, “We knew Twitter would be upset at some point. We didn’t know they were buying a company in this space.”

“They block access to their social graph. It doesn’t mean they blocked the main mission of what we do. The idea was to jump-start the community on top of Twitter, but the idea was never to build the social graph on top of Twitter.”

“It is just a little bit more hard for us to build a community around people, new users, but we already started to work on that.”

Rubin said that what Twitter did was “not a hammer” but that it did slow his company down a bit. He expects Meerkat to get back to where it was before within a few weeks.

But no matter what Rubin says to put a spin on his company’s current situation, it is clearly in trouble.

Today, before an IPO, a new company’s valuation is based on how much money has been invested in it against percentage of ownership. Not revenues.

This is why Uber is already valued at more than $1 billion. But it is hard to imagine that Meerkat can attract much investment now that Twitter has made it clear that it plans to do the same thing by itself.

Remember what happened to the value of TiVo after all the cable companies in America began to offer their own DVR services?

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