Ryan Duffy

Social video platform 


Vidme was a UGC social video platform reaching 25m+ MAUs. It was the first creator economy product to provide tools for native video monetization via paywalls, multi-tiered recurring subscriptions, and digital tip jars. Vidme was acquired by GIPHY (a Meta company) in 2018.     


Head of Partnerships and Operations Creator acquistion Community management Social media management Content marketing DMCA compliance Trust and safety    


Upfront Ventures  First Round Capital Initialized Capital NEA SV Angel Lowercase Capital

Company highlights

  6b+ videos played 
  225m+ unique visitors annually 
  25m+ monthly active users 
  1.25m+ registered users 
  Top 1000 Alexa Global Rank 
  Acquired by GIPHY 


Launched in 2014, Vidme started as the web’s simplest one-step video publishing tool: just drag-and-drop your file and Vidme would generate a shortlink that you could share anywhere, no account required — an “Imgur for video.” 

It’s hard to remember now, but sharing videos online wasn’t easy in 2014. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and other major platforms didn’t have native video tools, it was often impossible to send large files over SMS, and YouTube required sign-in and publishing to your G+ page. Vidme’s simple, one-step video upload drove massive early adoption and traffic.


I joined the team in 2016 at a pivotal moment. After early success as a video sharing utility, Vidme raised $6m to fuel its next phase of growth as a creator-friendly social video community with a broad set of tools for content creation, publishing, audience building, and monetization.

Creator acquisition

As Head of Partnerships, it was my job to kickstart the community flywheel by recruiting established content creators to the platform.

So I started knocking on as many doors as possible. And it wasn’t long before things started to click. Thanks to our small team’s relentless work (and a few savvy shoestring marketing stunts), what was once an outbound creator acquisition process became more about fielding inbound. 

We onboarded many of the day’s top YouTubers to Vidme, forged syndication and licensing partnerships with top global media companies, and established relationships with all major multi-channel networks (MCNs), the primary gatekeepers of the online video industry in the 2010s. 

As word of mouth spread among the content creator community, Vidme exploded in growth: 

  0 to 100k+ verified creators
  12x monthly video uploads 
  5x monthly creator sign-ups 


As Vidme grew, my role expanded to include oversight of our fledgling community. IMO, ‘community’ is a word that’s so overused in tech it’s basically lost all meaning. But Vidme had real community. For a brief moment in time, it was a truly special corner of the internet.

We saw Vidme creators collaborate on content, forge IRL friendships, and start companies. A few even moved in together! 

We did all the usual things a startup does to activate the community: engaged on social, replied in video comments, programmed contests and giveaways, gifted awesome merch, ran a Discord with 10k+ users, and more. 

But then we did things the big platforms would never do. We took creators’ phone calls. We invited them to our office. We mailed them holiday cards! That personal touch was worth 100x more to our creators than any free pair of socks would ever be. (The socks were pretty nice, though.)

I heard someone say once that when a user tattoos your company’s logo on themself then you know you’re really onto something. I don’t think that ever happened at Vidme, but the next best thing did. People from all over the world took it upon themselves to send us fan art of Vidme’s robot mascot, Astro. These small gestures brought so much joy to our small team and validated the immense effort we put into our do-things-that-don’t-scale approach to creator relations and community management.   

Content marketing

We didn’t just run a video platform. We were creators ourselves. In-house content creation was our most powerful marketing tool. Through weekly videos, we invited users behind the scenes of Vidme to show what it was like to build a startup. Several of our videos went viral, front-paging on Reddit multiple times for an audience of millions. 


Despite our growth and many wins, we sadly weren’t able to find a path to financial sustainability as an independent startup. GIPHY acquired Vidme in 2018. For a full summary, read CEO Warren Shaeffer’s post on Medium.  

Made in Los Angeles