When you run a startup it’s limited how much you can share about your experiences. There are a few a exceptions, such as Buffer’s founder Joel, who -my guess- has turned sharing in to one of their marketing strategies.
Another one is Alex Blumberg, who you might know from This American Life and Planet Money (I recommend listening to both of them). He’s just released a new podcast StartUp, about starting his own podcast company. I listened to both episodes yesterday, walking through Golden gate park down to the ocean (pic at the bottom). The podcasts are really funny, and they are real.
Earlier today I had a meeting with an experienced VC here in San Francisco. – That’s one thing that’s great with Silicon Valley: people are so friendly, and helpful! This VC had nothing to gain from meeting me (he even paid for lunch), still he set aside over an hour of his time. He listened to my case and pitch, gave me very good advice on how to improve it, he though about a couple of introductions he could give me, and he even agreed to let me try out the new, improved pitch on him later. It was a really helpful meeting, and all of this in the ‘Pay it forward’-mindset. As a new, small company it’s not much we can do to pay him back, but we’re gonna pay it forward if anyone, anytime needs any help from us.
Still, walking away from the meeting I had much the same mixed feelings as Alex describes in the podcast, but also very motivated from the feedback. I know that our product and business model are game changing, so now it’s up to us at YAY to find out how we can tell our story in the best possible way (ref the last post about how it’s easy to build a good pitch, since our case is strong).
Want to know what our pitch is? It’s a variety of this one. All three founders have our own version, and it varies from meeting to meeting as well. But the basics:
The image industry is at the same place the music industry was before: lots of piracy, in lack of a better solution. It’s estimated that over 90% of images online are used illegally. –> The music industry got solutions like Spotify and Pandora, and they converted people from piracy to paying. –> The image market is estimated to 20 billion dollars when looking at the paying customers. Imagine the opportunity then if you could convert some of the 90% piracy use to paying users. –> That’s our goal with our ‘spotify for images’-solution. –> We’ve made an image tool that is easier and faster to use than google images (=piracy). And with it you can also add text and filters. All our 5 million images are legal, and we give you unlimited online use for only 9.90 a month. –> To make it even easier we’re integrating with online services. We already have a wordpress plug in, and we’re working on integrating with other partners. The goal is that you’ll find our images when you use twitter, linkedin, mailchimp, godaddy, and every other site you’re on. So to sum up, we want to take people from piracy to paying by giving them a great user experience with our Spotify for images / image streaming model.
As you can see, it’s a new business model, combining different technologies (we stream the images, so we get ‘big data’ as well). To keep it short: We want to take over the online world of stock images. Because nobody else is doing it.
I don’t think this blog has many pitch-trained readers, but I’d appreciate any feedback. Getting to know what people think is unclear, what they don’t understand, or if something is just .. bad – it helps!