Launched in 2019 by co-founders Joshua Hintze and Mckay Christensen, Vendoti offers live video streaming to influencers and distributors supporting real-time video streams on popular e-commerce applications as well as Facebook.
Josh was first attracted to Linode years ago because of its affordable price to set up Linux servers. Linode was and continues to be a good fit for the work Josh does because it gives him more freedom to deploy and scale infrastructure and install the application software he needs. According to Josh, the decision to work with Linode was “a fundamental shift, at a great price.”
The Virtual Reality Arcade
As virtual reality (VR) became, well, a reality, Josh and McKay decided to leave their corporate engineering jobs and start a VR arcade called VR Junkies. While a number of VR arcades were starting by using their personal game library and charging for use in a commercial landscape, the duo knew they needed to fairly pay game developers for usage. So, they created a cloud-based system to log traffic and for data monitoring aggregated non-personal information.
Linode was the obvious choice. The arcade garnered national press, and before Josh and McKay knew it, people around the globe were asking for them to license their software to other arcades.
As the arcade grew in popularity, Josh and McKay had to get creative scaling the service they built from scratch. After experiencing a security incident, they developed proxy servers to mask their actual data servers’ IPs.
“With Linode, it was very easy to spin up additional resources to be able to connect things and grow. We did it all manually, and we love the way that Linode’s dashboards allow you to spin servers up and remove them whenever we need to,” said Josh Hintze, one of Vendoti’s co-founders.
Video Streaming on Facebook
As the VR arcade grew, Josh and McKay looked to expand and apply their skill sets in other areas. They found an opportunity within the network marketing channel that had historically used Facebook’s live video presentations to sell and resell apparel—a process that was arduous at best. Sellers would present merchandise on a live video that often endured 20-30 seconds of lag time. Customers would try to comment to claim items. Afterwards, the seller was responsible for picking through all the comments, obtaining shipping and billing information from each customer, organizing the products, and getting them mailed.
Josh and McKay entered into a deal with one network marketing group to create a mobile app, so they didn’t have to continue operating their business relying on Facebook. What made it possible to roll out the app in less than four months was a partnership with Red5 Pro, which provided the real-time low-latency video streaming their customers lacked.
The new app allowed the apparel company to continue the live videos and commenting, reducing latency to 1-2 seconds and supporting features like in-app checkout and item favoriting. The app made the sales process much easier and meant the company could focus on live presentation and selling, which is what it does best.
Vendoti is Born
Josh and McKay packaged the services they created for the VR arcades and Facebook sellers and started offering them to network marketers and other marketing organizations. “We priced our apps in the same way as most e-commerce systems, where we didn’t charge fixed fees but received a percentage of sales. This is in contrast to almost all software provided to the industry that requires massive upfront payments and ongoing monthly without any guarantee of success,” said Josh.
“We knew that the more we could save on our bandwidth cost and back-end services, the more profitable we would be, and Linode’s transparent pricing made finding that balance all the easier for us. After some calculations on what it would cost with AWS or others, Linode was hands-down the best option.”
The Vendoti team loves the Linode API, which gives them the ability to spin up and down servers through a RESTful API design. They also run their live servers on a Dedicated CPU plan and use Linode’s data centers in Fremont, CA, and Dallas. As Vendoti expands, the team is confident that it will host live streams in Europe, Asia, and beyond, leveraging additional Linode data centers located around the world.
“Linode has given us the ability to really know what’s going on—to be able to debug and come up with solutions to fascinating problems,” said Josh. “We wouldn’t have been able to afford this solution if we were using AWS. Overall, our whole experience has made it, so I have never even thought of looking for another provider. We got in there, we were treated well, and we never left.”