Startup Spotlight: Turn a day at the slopes into a memorable clip show with Highlight Hunter

Highlight Hunter founder Noah Spitzer-Williams

If you’re an outdoor adventurer who shoots video while skiing, snowboarding or mountain biking, Highlight Hunter might just save you a few hours when you get back in front of your computer. And that means you can devote even more time to your favorite pursuits.

The Seattle company, led by 28-year-old former Microsoft project manager Noah Spitzer-Williams, allows video hounds to easily bookmark the best clips as they record hours and hours of raw footage.

With Highlight Hunter, snowboarders, skiers or other outdoor enthusiasts simply cover the camera lens for about a second after a memorable moment. That means you don’t have to fumble around on the slopes, or at the computer trying to recover the best clips.

We caught up with Spitzer-Williams to learn more for the latest installment of Startup Spotlight.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Highlight Hunter finds the highlights in your videos eight times faster than you can yourself. This means you can spend more time recording highlights of the activities you love, and less time searching for them.”

Inspiration hit us when: “We tried to create a highlight reel from raw snowboarding footage on our GoPro camera and realized it would take hours to find the highlights worth sharing. A few beers and brainstorms later, the concept for Highlight Hunter was born.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Bootstrapped. Read Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week and you’ll know why.”

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Our small team’s expertise is balanced across design, business, and technology. We move fast and understand how to think holistically about delivering experiences that are simple, delightful, and profitable.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Focusing on a specific, unmet need and solving it in a simple way. The entrepreneur in us is always on the lookout for problems to solve but you need discipline. Otherwise you risk diluting your product’s core promise and spreading your team too thin.”

Highlight Hunter's Spitzer-Williams on a paddleboard

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Starting with a fancy operating agreement that was too complex to be useful. Keep it simple otherwise you’ll spend more time reviewing legal docs than actually building your business. Fortunately, our team quickly noticed this mistake and resolved it without collateral damage.”

Would you rather have Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner:  “Jobs. Ultimately our vision for helping people find and share the moments they care about is best realized when the hardware, software, and services work together in perfect harmony. No one knew how to orchestrate that harmony better than Jobs.”

Our world domination strategy starts: “When people can easily relive and share the best moments from the activities they love, without technology getting in the way. We want to go far beyond extreme sports–highlights from your kid’s soccer games, a child’s first steps, etc. One day people will no longer look at their cameras and say to them:”Every time I bring you out to record, it’s more tedious boring work for me.” (Yes, we also believe people talk to their cameras.)”

Rivals should fear us because: “We are the missing link. The camera companies have figured out how to record your adventures. The social networks have figured out how to share them. But up until now, no one has figured out how to quickly find the highlights that are actually worth sharing. Our solution is simple, clever, and memorable.”

We are truly unique because: “Our patent-pending technology puts control in the hands of the user. You decide what’s a highlight and what isn’t–not a computer. Our software works with any digital camera on the market today and it’s compatible with other video editing applications in case you want to make more advanced edits.”

The biggest hurdle we’ve overcome is: “Going from prototype to product. As expected, our first prototype was painfully slow, not as accurate as we needed, and only worked on a PC. Now Highlight Hunter processes your video 15X faster, consistently grabs only the highlights you care about, and is available for both Mac and PC. It felt like a long road of iteration, but we’re really proud of the results.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Understand precisely what your personal and product goals are. What do you and your users truly value? Focus on delivering something core to your users’ needs that enables you and your team to realize long- and short-term goals. Lifestyle design shouldn’t be separate from product design. They should be deeply intertwined to ensure your happiness and success.”

Startup Spotlight is an occasional look at a Seattle area startup company. Have an interesting new venture you want spotlighted in GeekWire? Fill out the questions above, send a few photos of the founder(s) and a logo to tips@geekwire.com. Past profiles can be found here.

  • Bhua

    Wow! Sounds like a Great gadget to have. I can’t wait for it to come out.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1700788 Noah Spitzer-Williams

    Hi Bhua — it’s available now! Head to http://www.highlighthunter.com to download it.