Wooshii #CODEInvested interview
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Fergus Dyer-Smith, CEO of Wooshii, home of the video making universe in interview about what brought them to use AltFin.
Wooshii is a video production marketplace that allows clients to post project briefs to a global community of over 10,000 freelance video creators. The platform gives clients control over budget and quality and video creators increased work and reputation.
Their diverse customer base ranges from small businesses to large corporations such as Google and Ebay. Wooshii is experiencing high revenue growth of 130% year-on-year to total revenue of 1.2m in tax year 2014/15.
We sat down with Fergus Dyer-Smith, CEO and founder of Wooshii, to find out more.
Disclaimer: Please note that the answers that Fergus gives in the interview are his own opinions and have not been prepared by CODE Investing or approved by Resolution Compliance Limited.
CODE: Tell us about your background and what inspired you to set up Wooshii?
Fergus: I actually left university as a BioChemist. I self taught myself to code whilst at University and that allowed me to pick up numerous freelance projects as a student. What I noticed was that life as a freelancer was pretty lonely and I seemed to spend 80% of my time trying to find work.
I also come from a family that has been in film and TV since it began. The industry has been freelance for decades and so the problems I felt were reflective of those I witnessed when growing up.
When online video started to gain traction I just connected the dots. There was going to be huge growth in demand but the supplying industry was even more predominantly freelance. This represented big problems for both suppliers and buyers and therefore an opportunity.
CODE: Online video is the fastest growing advertising form and a huge market to conquer – are there any similar products that currently exist in this sector?
Fergus: Yes, video is a large and rapidly growing market. There are a number of other teams out there looking to achieve similar things. We were one of the earliest to recognise the problems and build a solution so we have timing advantages.
It also gives us liquidity advantages – our existing network could handle 20x the amount of work it is currently doing. We’re an open network which allows us to build our supply side quickly – we got to 10,000 video-makers purely through word of mouth. We have also chosen not to specialise which means we can supply all video services, not just say animation or camera shoots.
Having made hundreds of videos we now have even more of a view on the problems buyers and suppliers face. That has allowed us to file IP for tools that will simplify the process of getting videos made.
Our approach is what has led us into being selected as a partner of choice by one of the worlds’ largest companies Google, from over 20 other similar businesses.
That said, video is an involved purchase, difficult to commoditise, unlike getting a taxi for example and so there is room for multiple players.
CODE: With over 10,000 registered freelance video creators and customers such as Google, eBay, Intel and LinkedIn, what do you believe to be the key benefits that have convinced the thousands of video creators and well-known corporations to join Wooshii.
Fergus: From a creator’s point of view it is easy. We give them a really simple way to find new work. All they need do is assess the projects on the board and decide which they would like to pitch on. For companies there are mixed pain points.
All companies are looking for more efficient ways to create more video content. Hiring in house teams is not scalable, agencies are expensive and the existing freelance industry difficult to interact with at scale.
We provide these companies with a single place and contract, that gives them access to 1000’s of creators and control over budgets – buyers set the project budget. The platform then allows them to ramp production up or down without incurring fixed costs.
CODE: Why did you choose crowdfunding over traditional methods of sourcing finance?
Fergus: Wooshii is a community-based business. Our business is built on the back of a network of suppliers and so we had always thought that funding part of our growth through the same mechanism would be a great part of our story.
We also saw the opportunity that a larger group of investors brings with the potential to open up new customer doors – the larger the army promoting our services the better.
CODE: How do you intend to use the capital raised?
Fergus: We have three core areas. We want to continue to expand our customer base – in the last three months we have seen more than 54 large corporate clients add to our pipeline.
We want to continue to realise the vision for the product – we have made large steps in just the last month. All of this will mean we need to hire a few more key people as the year progresses.
CODE: Finally, why do you believe Wooshii is a great investment opportunity?
Fergus: It solves the problems of video production, that are being felt at an increasing rate, by companies large and small and of course from an investment standpoint two sided marketplaces like Wooshii enjoy high valuation multiples.
N.B Wooshii successfully raised over £300,000.00 and closed their funding round on 30th September 2015
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