We met up with Victor of Videolance, a great venture which tackles a problem experienced by video specialists as well as clients. What’s it all about? “We came up with a platform that solves a problem for both clients and video specialists. Small videos illustrating products or ideas are essential nowadays. As such, more and more companies are in need of such services.” And that’s where Videolance comes into the story! Victor tells us more about the venture, where it is now, where it came from and where they’re headed.
StartupCatchup: Please introduce us to your venture Videolance.
Victor: Videolance is a new platform focused on connecting video specialists with brands and small businesses in need of their services. Founded in early 2014, we provide the only platform dedicated exclusively to video and motion graphics experts. In fact, Videolance is designed to help such artists from around the world properly showcase and market their skills. All for free!
Considering that 89 million people in the US watch 1.2 billion online videos daily and that global online video viewers are expected to double to 1.5 billion in 2016, businesses and marketers can no longer ignore online video’s growth and must seize the opportunity. To do that, they need a simple, quick way to connect, evaluate and hire the right video specialist for them. Enter Videolance.
Who are we? Well, my name is Victor Antiu and I am one of the co-founders. My specialties are Marketing, UX and Business Development. My partner in this venture is Costin Voicu, who, as a senior Web Developer is an expert in technologies from the well-established PHP and MySQL, to the newest, like Couchbase. Costin is also the brains behind the ultra-fast platform we developed for Videolance.
StartupCatchup: How did you come up with the idea?
Victor: Videolance was really born out of need. One month, while developing a marketing campaign for a client of mine, I realized we could use an explainer video. Since this was a Romanian product, we needed someone who could animate over Romanian voiceover. This proved surprisingly difficult. It took over a week to find 3 specialists. And even then they were either too expensive, unavailable or difficult to work with. A couple of weeks later another client of mine had a need for two demo videos. Same problem.
What we needed was a platform like Dribbble (the designer community) but just for video. Unfortunately, there was none and no easy way of finding video specialists outside of contacting an agency. We decided to make one.
StartupCatchup: What made you actually take action and go for it?
Victor: One thing we noticed in our preliminary research was that this new market and the growing demand for video content took many brands by surprise. A recent statistic from Invodo states that 52 percent of consumers say watching product videos makes them more confident in purchasing. Also, 76 percent of marketers plan to add video to their sites, making it a higher priority than Facebook, Twitter and blog integration. These are numbers you just can’t ignore.
But while we thought we had a good idea and the market was booming, we had to find out if video specialists would actually want such a marketplace. Only after getting feedback from over 300 video freelancers and business owners from around the world, we got to work.
StartupCatchup: How many people are currently working on the project and who are they?
Victor: We have a small and agile team consisting of 4. While I handle the marketing and business stuff, Costin manages the backend development and all-round coding of the platform. In addition we have a brilliant designer who also does front-end and a marketing assistant that helps me with some external research and data-processing. We also have 2 advisors, both former CMOs and CEOs backing us.
StartupCatchup: How are you funding the project?
Victor: Videolance is self-funded at the moment but as we will be expanding and have big plans for the future we will need to get investors on board soon.
StartupCatchup: What are your plans for the business and what do you hope to accomplish?
Victor: Our first goal and mission is to become the hub for the video specialist community. Just like dribbble is for design. This is why we’re spending so much time on the portfolio showcase section. This will be the heart Videolance and it’s essential we get it right. Beyond this we plan to expand with a video service marketplace.
StartupCatchup: What has been the most rewarding experience so far on the journey?
Victor: Right near the beginning we wanted to do a proof of concept. We wanted to prove the fact that video specialists would actually sign up for the platform. We basically made a landing page that showcased the product and asked interested parties to sign up. Through all channels tested, we had splendid results: 70% open rate for email newsletters, 2% CTR in Facebook ads and 30% conversion rate. Right now we have well over 2000 sign-ups and have begun beta-testing with some of our sign-ups.
StartupCatchup: What, if anything, would you have done differently looking back on the journey now?
Victor: I would have better expectations of the development cycle. We were way off on our predictions and there is definitely something to be learned from this. Also, I would have launched the blog sooner – it really helps our SEO.
StartupCatchup: What would you advise others who have an idea but simply don’t know where to begin?
Victor: Sketch your idea on paper. Do the designs, the user flow, as much as possible. It’s harder than you think. After that, the most important thing is to find out who would most benefit from that idea and do a proof of concept test on that audience. If they’re interested in a mockup, they’ll definitely be interested in the real thing.
StartupCatchup: Can you give us a quote that motivates and inspires you to keep going?
Victor: I actually have two that I keep falling back on:
“Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” – Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO
“Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.” – Guy Kawasaki