You may remember Matt Barnett from Vimily one of our founding startups at Tank Stream Labs in 2012. He joins us once again with a new name, a new direction and a focus on market fit & industry development. Taking on his learnings from Vimily, Matt is keen to share how Verbate makes real video accessible to research and PR professionals. Proving, pivoting could just be the best thing that’s ever happened to the business. Here is Matt to tell us more.
What is Verbate?
Verbate is simply the most effective way to gather great user generated video from anyone, anywhere in the world, for research, and PR use. Sent by SMS, consumers are Invited to complete tasks, or answer questions via video. We’ve seen mums & kids give feedback on fashion, lots of home product testing and even had people take us mystery shopping – all on camera.
Not only is this great, “real” video that can be shared online, we extract all the spoken word and soon facial expression, giving awesome data-rich, qualitative insights at a scale and cost previously not achievable.
What led to pivoting from Vimily?
Market fit & industry development. We were starting to realise the power of video feedback as a research tool at events in 2013, then someone invented the selfie stick. Suddenly people were comfortable filming themselves on camera like never before. We ran a few successful remote video campaigns with big clients and they kept asking for more.
How did you navigate the change in business direction?
As we were running early projects to test the pivot, one founder exited the business moving back to Europe. To be honest this put things into perspective, a little. We made the tough decision to pull back everything, downsize, run lean and focus on development for 6 months to head back out with a revised offering. We relaunched with a very basic system and got heavily involved (manually) in early client campaigns to figure out what needed (not wanted) to be built. 6 months & a lot of testing later, we’re now systemising each valued element of the process to enable us to scale.
And what made you choose to come back to TSL?
We work with bigger agencies and brands and currently our sales cycles are 6 months +, so at the end of 2014 when these came to fruition we knew we’d be coming back in.
TSL for us is great for location, and great for the relationships we have with many of the startups in there. There is also something to be said for the mindset “shift” that comes from working in the CBD. When your customers are large brands and agencies, as ours are, it is definitely a plus for internal culture.