Autodesk Shells Out $60M for Social Video Service Socialcam

WME was one of several angel investors in the company — Ashton Kutcher was another

Autodesk, a company specializing in 3D design software, has acquired Socialcam, a social video service that counts WME and Ashton Kutcher as angel investors, for $60 million, the companies said on Tuesday.

Socialcam is one of the main competitors in the burgeoning field of social video, with Viddy being its biggest rival. It is both a smartphone app and web-based service which people use to record, edit, publish and share videos.

Autodesk, which makes software for professionals like architects, entertainment and design companies, has been on a streak of acquiring consumer-focused apps and services. It has purchased sites dedicated to online photography editing (Pixlr) and online drawing and painting (Sketchbook).

“Autodesk has a proven track record of acquiring and scaling fast-growing, early stage consumer businesses while staying true to their core audience and vision,” Socialcam CEO Michael Seibel said in a statement. “With products like Pixlr, SketchBook and 123D, Autodesk is empowering creativity in millions around the world by making their award-winning technology accessible to everybody.”

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Socialcam, a service with a subscriber base of more than 15 million but little revenue, moves Autodesk into video. Its new owner will try to scale the platform and makes Autodesk's own technology for film and video creators “more accessible to a broader audience.”

“Mobile computing, the cloud and social media are improving and changing the way people design, engineer and create projects,” Samir Hanna, vice president of Autodesk’s Consumer Group, said in a statement. “Video is an ideal medium for professionals and consumers alike to communicate and share their design ideas. We are excited to have Socialcam join our growing portfolio of applications, services and communities for digital art, personal design and fabrication, home design and entertainment.”

Ever since Facebook shelled out $1 billion for Instagram, attention turned to social video for the next blockbuster deal. This is a far cry from that payout, but Socialcam not only lacks the user base of Instagram, it does not pose as direct a threat to its business. Instead, Autodesk can use Socialcam to make its existing software and products more social – and attract more clients to use them.

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Socialcam was founded in March 2011 and is an offshoot of online video site WME’s investment in the company was in the high six figures, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation.

Like Viddy, Socialcam has turned to celebrities and other well-known figures, including Floyd Mayweather and Lupe Fiasco, to generate buzz.