STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: VIDEOFIZZ TAKES YOUR GREETING CARDS TO THE NEXT LEVEL | KANSAS CITY

Laura Steward, FOUNDER & CEO, VIDEOFIZZ, contributor

By September 12, 2017, 3:42 pm EDT

    When was the last time you bought and mailed a physical greeting card? If you’re like most people today, this is probably a rare occurrence, unless you’re also curating a collection of CDs and VHS tapes. Since the introduction of E-cards in 1994, people have been trying to crack the online greetings market. Videofizz, based in Kansas City, MO, is taking direct aim with a solution that makes it easy for groups to create video greetings together. CEO & Founder of Videofizz, Laura Steward, sat down with Techweek CEO, Amanda Signorelli, to talk about the business

    • Amanda: What are three stats that shows how important VideoFizz’s impact has been or signifies the growth your business/market has seen?

      Laura: On average 9 people are in every VideoFizz…we’ve seen as many as 72! On Mother’s Day this year we had over 12,000 people download our app in 36 hours and made over 5000 VideoFizzes! Our app solves problems for businesses too and we’ve made white label versions that help businesses be more efficient, spend less money, and SCALE!

    • Amanda: Tell us a little about your company today.

      Laura: We make it easy to create group video greetings for any occasion. It’s all about simplicity for us.

    • Amanda: That sounds fun! So what is the hair on fire problem you address?

      Laura: We solve the problem of creating montages with videos from multiple users. And we make it easy enough your grandma can do it. We have file collection, editing, and hosting capabilities all inside one app.

    • Amanda: How did you discover this problem and why did you tackle it?

      Laura: When I was validating the idea behind VideoFizz I made the video montages manually. It was a disaster. Within 2 weeks I had over 70 projects going and I was trying to manage over 800 individual video files. Demand was high but the manual process wasn’t scaleable which is how the app was born.

    • Amanda: What’s the size of the problem? How big is this industry?

      Laura: Well the greeting card industry alone is a $7B domestic market and a $21B global market! Those are our people. We’ve been downloaded in 115 countries so we are absolutely a global business. We’re just beginning to tap into the potential market for our business clients, but the opportunity is enormous.

    • Amanda: What are the important trends that will shake up this industry? What will the industry look like in 5 or 10 years?

      Laura: Cisco recently published an article that projects video will make up 75% of mobile traffic by 2020. We know that what we create is an incredibly vivid way to remember an important event and all the people that shared in celebrating with you. Making it easy for consumers and businesses to work with videos on their phones is what we do and it’s a timely market with huge opportunity.

    • Amanda: How crowded is the space? What’s your competitive advantage behind your product or service that you believe makes it a winner?

      Laura: We house multiple capabilities in one place- a consolidation of services. That’s our edge. If I asked you “what company would use to create a montage video for a friends birthday” you’d probably draw a blank…that means we have a chance to be the market leader and that’s 100% our mission here.

    • Amanda: Who are your customers and how do you make money?

      Laura: We started out as strictly B2C, consumer focused and it’s $3.99 to create one video (less than a greeting card) or $9.99 for a subscription that allows you to make an unlimited amount of videos for a year. We quickly found out our technology helps businesses gather video content easily and solves some of their problems. We were approached by a number of them and we are building white label versions now. Who knew? It’s a blast!

    • Amanda: How do you attract customers, and how well has it gone? How did you acquire your first customer?

      Laura: Mother’s Day 2016 we ran our first campaign on FB. It was wildly successful. We saw thousands of downloads in the first few hours and we were celebrating wildly. Within a few hours we started receiving customer service emails asking “how long it takes to get the finished video.” Long story short, we weren’t set up to handle that volume, our servers crashed and we had to pull a successful campaign and do damage control. This year we handled over 10X the volume with zero hiccups!

    • Amanda: Tell us about raising capital – have you raised? What was the experience like? What did you learn?

      Laura: We raised $1.5M initially and we’re doing a Series A round now. Our first investors were primarily angel investors and our only institutional money to date came from the Missouri Technology Corporation ($350K), a big chunk was self-funded, and we won a $50,000 grant from LaunchKC. Raising capital is an evolution. Initially it’s about survival and getting off the ground but it quickly becomes about thriving and finding the right partners with acumen in your industry.

    • Amanda: Tell us about you – why are you the perfect CEO for this company?

      Laura: Is there such a thing as perfection? I doubt it, but when I say being a solo founder SUCKED, you can believe it! As a non-technical founder of a technical product it was obvious I needed a co-founder. Since I hired a CTO we’ve been innovating at twice the speed and everything is more fun!

    • Amanda: How many people are employed by you today? Are you hiring – if so who should apply?

      Laura: We have 3 employees and a group of contractors we’ve worked consistently with for a while. For me it was about staying lean until we were ready to scale. We will add a few crucial hires in the coming 6 months.

    • Amanda: Three words to describe the company culture?

      Laura: Well we lost about an hour of our lives answering this one! We decided on nimble, happy and resilient.

    • Amanda: What would be your company’s mascot?

      Laura: What about mountain goat? We’re nimble and intent on climbing our way to the top!