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No webcam? New Mevo can fill the void and stream to Facebook, Twitter and…

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No webcam? New Mevo can fill the void and stream to Facebook, Twitter and...

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Mevo’s tiny webcam camera, invented as a pure live streaming solution for those who didn't want to use their bulky cameras or battery-powered phones, it was reinvented as live streaming suddenly came of age.

(You missed the live concerts by Chris Martin, Neil Young, Yo Yo Ma or Coldplay by Coldplay Garth Brooks on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube?)

The Mevo Start is the latest model of the small camera. (Photo: Jefferson Graham)

The new $ 399 Mevo Start edition features a longer battery life than the original, improved audio and video resolution and a smaller body.

The webcams are sold out at Amazon and Best Buy and being sold at twice the list price on eBay, but Mevo Start will be in stores next week. It's like a webcam, as it offers a fixed focus image and connects to your computer's USB port. It's different, with the companion smartphone app, users can edit the image quickly, zooming in and out and giving the viewer a different look, like a TV director.

For those looking for live worship services, conferences and sporting events, Mevo is a viable alternative to a phone that sucks the battery or a bulky camera. It is broadcast directly to the main platforms Facebook, YouTube, Twitch and Twitter, and LinkedIn will be available soon. (Mevo does not work with Instagram because Facebook did not open the platform to third parties.)

What it doesn't do is allow people to replace the low-resolution computer video camera with a high-resolution alternative to meetings on Zoom, Google Hangouts or Skype. In May, a software update will allow this.

During the COVID crisis, demand for Mevo cameras increased "tenfold", according to Max Haot, founder of the company that sold Mevo to IAC's Vimeo in 2017 and then bought it in 2019.

"I love the product," he says. "When I had the chance to lead it again, it was too good to pass up. I always say that every event must be broadcast live. Now it is happening."

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Invest in Mevo?

Haot's original idea was to build a camera exclusively for live broadcast from the beginning. The new Start originally cost $ 299. Amid the new demand, it increased to $ 399.

In a twist, Haot sought out the public to invest in the company through the crowdfunding platform WeFunder, which sells shares directly to the public. "Help us avoid running out of stock by investing in Mevo," Hoat asks on the WeFunder page.

There he expects sales of 500,000 cameras over the next five years. About $ 400,000 has been raised from the total $ 1 million investment he is analyzing.

Unlike traditional investment in the stock market, investment in crowdfunding is more like "angel" investment, he says, in that the payment comes with potential future dividends, being listed in the public markets or in a sale.

Haot has many competitors. A popular live streaming solution is to connect a mirrorless or DSLR camera to your computer with free OBS software or connect to paid software such as eCamm Live (starting at $ 12 monthly). Sling Studio is another option, but starting at $ 999 before adding the cameras.

For Mevo to work with videoconferencing applications, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, it will launch an application, "Mevo Webcam", for computers in May. "This will make Mevo appear as a webcam with any software," he says, but it will have the Mevo touch of being able to change the image, zooming in, recording audio on a separate memory card and broadcasting to places like Facebook without having to use a computer or phone.

Mevo, which sold 90,000 cameras in the first three years, had revenue of $ 5.9 million in 2019. Hoat says his factory in China is running at full capacity.

Follow Jefferson Graham of USA TODAY (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter

Read or share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2020/04/16/mevo-sees-boost-interest-livestream-camera-during-coronavirus/5134450002/

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