Launching a business is a big accomplishment, but attracting the users and investors necessary to scale said business? That requires a buzzworthy idea, capital via bootstrapping or fundraising and a motivated team with a shared mission. In part two of a two-part series, we spoke to six more leaders about the inception of their tech companies, how they’ve grown and their plans for scaling.
Hari Sankar from VideoAmp said for his company, the biggest contributor to success has been developing a shared culture of innovation and fostering an “entrepreneurial spirit amongst the team.” Some other tips? Developing key partnerships and using AI technology to streamline business.
What They Do: 15 Seconds of Fame (15SOF) immortalizes users’ brushes with fame. If a user appears on TV, (think via kiss cam at a sporting event) 15SOF will send the user that clip so he or she can save it. By partnering with live events and sports venues to capture content, 15SOF is letting its users stay in the spotlight.
How They Got Here: “15 Seconds of Fame was founded on the premise that in a world where content is king, there is no content of greater value than people themselves,” explained Chief Business Officer Michael J. Mackey. “From nostalgic to epic, people want their moments on camera. Our patented technology is incremental, additive and non-disruptive. We are simply unearthing content that is already being created and are a product-market fit for licensors, brands and consumers. We see exponential growth moving forward with an unlimited total available market (TAM) for live events globally.”
From nostalgic to epic, people want their moments on camera.”
How They're Growing: “Over the next year, 15SOF will see growth in all facets of our business. Most notably, Version 3.0 of our mobile app will be launched and our software development kit (SDK) will be utilized for an expansion of partnerships with entities wanting to focus on their own apps. We anticipate additional growth and adoption at colleges and universities, as well as with international leagues and teams. We are most excited about additional technologies from our robust patent-portfolio that will expand the company into consumers’ lives on more of an everyday basis,” said Mackey.
What They Do: Quibi is a media company creating content designed for smartphones. Founded by former chairman of Walt Disney Studios Jeffrey Katzenberg and former CEO of Hewlett Packard Meg Whitman, Quibi is a marriage of entertainment and tech.
How They Got Here: “We really have a key opportunity to lean into the white space of the video streaming landscape with premium short-form content that is designed for your phones. We specialize in original Hollywood quality content built to tell quick-bite stories,” said Head of Product Management Tricia Lee.
She added: “The biggest factor driving our growth and success is that we’re committed to a true equal partnership between technology and entertainment team members. It was the principle we were founded on and it’s evident in how we develop content and how we develop technology and product features. From “script to screen” is a central part of our company DNA.”
I’m particularly excited for us to continue to lean further into our “script to screen” feature innovations.”
How They're Growing: “We’ve built our company and our products from the ground up over the last year. I’m really looking forward to launching our tech and content into the world in April. Growth for us looks like millions of users loving the overall experience of Quibi, and continuing to come back to watch our shows and engage with the product.”
“I’m particularly excited for us to continue to lean further into our “script to screen” feature innovations. Since we are a startup, creating all of our content from scratch while we build our product feature roadmap allows us to develop concepts that take advantage of our entire library of content and the technology on users’ phones,” said Lee.
What They Do: Edify Lab’s omnichannel platform is built to improve a company’s customer service. Last October, they received $10 million in seed funding.
How They Got Here: “It all started back at Purdue University where Edify co-founder Bracken Fields and I were both studying and minding our own business. We got a phone call from someone we had worked with in the past asking for help buying a new phone system. To which we responded, “why would you buy a thing like that? It can’t be that hard to build.” I can attest, 12 years later, it is that hard,” said CEO and Co-Founder Cameron Weeks. “In my opinion, the two most obvious factors of success are experience and building relationships. It takes an equal footing in both to create your own overnight success story.”
No two companies use our platform the same way.”
How They're Growing: “Over the next year we’ll see growth in every aspect of the company,” said Weeks. “We are well-positioned from a product standpoint to send shock waves throughout the $350-billion customer service industry and we are well-capitalized to extend our reach.”
He added: “While I enjoy growing our team around the world, and learning from new people and cultures, the part of growth I enjoy most are the use-cases and solutions our customers create with the Edify Platform. No two companies use the platform the same way, and how they each design their environment and use it to push the limits of CX is what I find the most fulfilling.”
What They Do: FloQast faced challenges early on targeting a new market with a new category. Today, it exists as a cloud-based software built by accountants for accountants with over $32 million in funding. Its purpose is to help accountants close books faster and more accurately by centralizing their workflow, assigning tasks and supporting documentation.
How They Got Here: “We started off by recognizing a very real problem that every accounting team had — the need to effectively manage the month-end close process. With this problem in mind, we built a product that was designed to meet the needs of the large, underserved mid-market,” said Senior Vice President of Business and Corporate Development Ken Sims.
He added: “From its first iteration, FloQast was designed to be easy to use and to provide quick time to value. It was challenging in the early days because nobody knew who FloQast was and because we were pioneering a new category: financial close management. Today, accounting teams love FloQast as is evidenced by our high retention and strong NPS scores. Potential partners now seek us out because they have heard about us from their clients. We have roughly 800 customers today.”
Our “land and expand” strategy will allow us to accelerate our growth at lower costs.”
How They're Growing: “Our business is on track to roughly double next year,” said Sims. “We will continue to acquire new customers rapidly, however, the most exciting accelerator to our long-term growth will be our ability to sell new products to our customer base. Earlier this year we introduced AutoRecs, which uses artificial intelligence to automate the time-consuming and error-prone reconciliation process for busy accounting teams. We’ve had a nice uptake of this product across our customer base. From a business perspective, this, “land and expand” strategy will allow us to accelerate our growth at lower costs.”
What They Do: “VideoAmp was born out of a curiosity to be able to measure ad spend effectively and find out the quantifiable benefit of ads across OTT (over-the-top), linear TV and digital video,” said Hari Sankar, executive vice president, client success & product. Today, it is a software and data solutions company that focuses on optimizing cross-platform advertising. VideoAmp enables advertisers to plan, buy and measure the success of targeted campaigns that reach linear TV, VOD, OTT and digital audiences.
How They Got Here: “We got here by challenging the paradigms and maximizing the value of the advertising industry,” said Sankar. “The first biggest factor to success is the continued development of a culture of innovation and making sure we foster an entrepreneurial spirit amongst the team. The second factor is obsessing about driving value for our customers. How do we make sure that we are extracting and adding value to the ecosystem where both we and the clients win. This will start to snowball and permeate throughout the entire industry.”
We are looking forward to being apart of the new generation of how adtech looks for the next 50 to 100 years.”
How They're Growing: “The new paradigm will be driving dollars spent and growth for the company. We are looking forward to being apart of the new generation of how adtech looks for the next 50 to 100 years,” said Sankar.
He added: “What I am most excited to see from a people perspective, is people achieving something that they never thought they would be able to accomplish. From a company perspective, we are creating mutual value across the board, not a zero sum game.”
What They Do: Advertise Purple is a digital marketing company focused on affiliate management service. The Los Angeles Business Journal ranked Advertise Purple, Inc. as No. 8 on the “100 fastest-growing private companies” in Los Angeles list.
How They Got Here: “Sustainability is going to be the most significant factor in our success moving forward. In our mind, growth is a simple byproduct of the correct ratio of service to sales. Sustainability, on the other hand, is proof there are proper systems to withstand the load growth places on the shoulder of company leaders,” said President Kyle Mitnick.
Over the next year, our efforts are focused on weaving our AI technology into the fabric of company workflow.”
How They're Growing: “Over the next year, our efforts are focused on weaving our AI technology into the fabric of company workflow. This marriage of bleeding-edge technology and teamwork should elevate our service in the marketplace. The team is most excited about reducing the complexity of our work through a tech— a nice mix of polar opposites that will keep us on our toes,” said Mitnick.