Hivemind Capital is excited to share the news of our lead investment in Huddle01, a decentralized Real-time Communication (dRTC) platform and network.
The Evolution of Video Communication
In recent years, there has been a significant advancement in the field of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), and it is transforming the way we communicate with each other. With the rise of digital technology and the ever-increasing number of people with natively digital habits, it has become imperative to find new and innovative ways to communicate with each other. AR and VR have proven to be an excellent solution for this problem. These technologies have opened up new possibilities for communication, which were previously impossible. In fact, they have already created an $8 billion ARR video conferencing industry which is expected to grow by 14% annually before reaching $20 billion in 2030. From virtual conferences to interactive gaming, AR and VR have changed the way we interact with each other, and will continue to do so as it evolves and grows exponentially.
The Problem with Web2 Solutions
As more people rely on video conferencing for remote work, education, and socializing, the demand for bandwidth and reliable internet connectivity has skyrocketed, yet video communication infrastructure has not been able to keep up.. As a result, video transcoding (editing file type to be more suitable to user’s device), streaming, storage and addressing latency and network congestion issues remain extremely costly, inefficient, and lacking in proper privacy practices. And even the benefits delivered by existing infrastructure come at significant costs. When scaling to larger audiences, the current model of webRTC (web real-time communication) requires media servers to support video and audio transmission. While consumers can use most video conferencing solutions for free, enterprises pay the bills. In fact, companies contribute more than 85 percent of total industry revenues. In addition to economic inefficiencies, the centralized nature of the video infrastructure introduces single points of failure, security issues, and privacy concerns.
While some mainstream narratives may continue to question the “practical use cases” of web3 for everyday people and companies, we are continuing to look for - and find - teams and technologies that are doing exactly that. Huddle01 is an excellent example of these convictions. In the words of William Gibson, “The future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed.”
Meet Huddle01: The Decentralized Audio & Video Communication Network
Huddle01 was co-founded by Ayush Ranjan and Susmit Lavania in early 2020 with the long-term goal to enable global mass communication facilitated by a permissionless and decentralized media network. Driven by a demand-first strategy, Huddle01 launched a video conferencing, archiving, and livestreaming platform that provides a superior streaming experience at a significantly lower cost by leveraging technologies provided by other crypto networks. For example, Huddle01 uses the Livepeer network for video transcoding and IPFS for distributed file storage. By accessing the building blocks of its infrastructure in a much cheaper way, Huddle01 can in turn offer significantly cheaper rates to its own customers. In addition, an ever-expanding suite of tooling (token gating, NFT avatars, ENS usernames) provides a holistic experience for crypto-native individuals, DAOs, and enterprises like Messari.
Huddle01’s first application demonstrates a level of sophistication and usability that few other companies have at such an early stage. While few companies can show a premier product at an early stage, Huddle01’s first application is actually far along that path. As a free, browser-based video conferencing platform, it is immediately accessible to anyone, with (in our opinion) an improved user experience over multi-billion dollar incumbents. There is no crypto requirement to benefit from the platform, as the web3 technology is abstracted from the user. However, those more native to the ecosystem, can benefit from token-gated meetings, NFT avatars, and wallet-integrated scheduling to name a few.
Huddle01 is a leading provider of developer SDKs for real-time communication, and its infrastructure has been the foundation of over 100 projects to date. These SDKs are designed to be composable, meaning that they can be easily integrated into existing web3 applications to provide real-time communication capabilities. With Huddle01's infrastructure, developers can focus on building their applications without having to worry about the complexities of real-time communication, and end-users can enjoy a seamless and uninterrupted communication experience.
Just the Beginning
This is, however, just the entry point. The Huddle01 team impressed us with their long-term blueprint for an open and decentralized real-time communication network to power any type of real-time communication at scale. Inspired by crypto’s proven ability to bootstrap and coordinate global hardware networks more quickly and efficiently, Huddle01 has an unprecedented opportunity to create the first decentralized real-time communication (dRTC) network where media nodes run by independent network participants facilitate scalable audio and video communication.
Decentralization and permissionless access are key to enabling superior media transmission quality at significantly lower costs. Decentralization provides for censorship resistance, but also for globally distributed data transmission and delivery. Permissionless access enables individuals or, most commonly, independent, stand-alone companies to enter and leave the network based on their expectation of profitability. This frees the network from the constraints faced by centralized entities building their own infrastructure in isolation.
Conclusion: The Future of Real-Time Communication
Real-time communication infrastructure will continue to be of fundamental importance to humanity, and Huddle01 has the potential to make audio and video communication accessible to everyone independent of background or financial means by using proven crypto concepts.
We expect Huddle01’s communication platform to become a preferred choice for enterprise users trying to save on infrastructure costs while managing privacy. We also see the Huddle01 network as an incubator of innovation in the real-time communication space, enabling other projects to build on top of this infrastructure. As such, we are proud and excited to back Ayush, Susmit and their team, who are not only innovators but who are laying the foundations for the rest of the dRTC industry.