FADE IN: NewBlue Founders Bring FX Catalog to Mobile Video Platform

Melissa Jordan Grey and Todor Fay trapped lightning in a bottle when they sold their Atlanta-based music software startup, Blue Ribbon SoundWorks, to Microsoft in 1995 (for an undisclosed amount). As part of the deal, they joined Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), which merged their audio editor software with its DirectSound technology. As they tell the story, the Redmond, WA software giant kept the Blue Ribbon team as a self-contained unit, and told them to integrate their interactive music technology with practically everything else in Microsoft’s product line.

“We learned so much while we were there,” Grey recalls. “We basically left there with another degree.”

Grey and Fay, who are married, moved to San Diego in 2003. Now the new media entrepreneurs are hoping to do for digital video production what they did for music software.

After working for years in their La Jolla home, Grey and Fey revealed their latest software startup, NewBlue, with the 2006 debut of NewBlueFX, a series of software plug-ins that automate the process of editing video transitions, light blending, and other special effects. Today NewBlue’s lineup of desktop digital editing products comprises 14 distinct video and audio plug-ins (for both Windows and Mac) featuring a total of 978 “presets” that are much like fixed palette tools for video special effects. The company sells its products directly from its own website or bundled with video-editing systems sold by Adobe, Sony, Avid, Corel, CyberLink, Magix, Pinnacle Systems, and Grass Valley.

Now NewBlue is on the verge of unveiling a new initiative in mobile digital video editing with the introduction of Vibop, which Grey says is scheduled to debut as a Beta version on Apple’s iPhone app store within the next week or so. In weeks to come, the company plans to follow its Apple debut with a similar suite of cloud-based, video-editing apps for the Android operating system. The move represents a substantial push by NewBlue into the mobile market that will allow smartphone users to enhance and share their video clips.

As NewBlue rolls out its mobile offerings, which include cloud-based storage for users’ videos, the startup also is moving to raise $1 million in early stage funding from individual investors in San Diego. Grey and Fay said they initially funded the startup themselves, and have largely bootstrapped NewBlue’s software development. Since 2006, the company has been operating purely off the revenue generated from its desktop video editing products, Grey says. The development of Vibop’s suite of mobile apps was funded entirely by a 70 percent year-over-year increase in revenue at NewBlueFX.

In developing Vibop’s catalog of mobile apps, Grey says they also … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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