In 2012, Matt Barnett and Katrin Suess began working on a technology in hopes that it would change the traditional family tree forever. Back in those days, Vimily was a structured creative video platform. It allowed people to capture the life stories of their family members, preserve the videos and share them with the whole family for generations to come.
After giving their startup a good push, It became apparent to the trio that although the product and what it could achieve was fantastic, the purpose and target market were off par. From my observation, true traction for a business in that market would be at least a generation or two away, and that does not make for a profitable or sustainable business model.
It was at the back end of 2012 when Vimily went through its first pivot and started to focus on the business market. The company saw considerable traction partnering up with events such as CeBit in 2013 to showcase their technology. Customers started coming in and money started to flow through the door. The team started to grow and so did the use of Vimily across Australia’s small and medium business space.
At the time, being a user, I thought that these guys had nailed their market down, and that the next step was growth and educating small businesses about the power of video and how it can enhance their daily operations – especially online.
Only now, following their recent name change, rebranding and preparation for their imminent relaunch, do I see that in 2013, things still weren’t entirely nailed down from a “branding” perspective.
Verbate, as the company is now known, has been redesigned with a focus on professionalism, not fun.
At the end of last year, Co-Founder Katrin Suess exited the business, moving to London to launch another business, Style Icona. The remaining founding team members, Barnett and Mitch Flindell, have spent the first months of this year focusing on simplifying the offering and designing a service that is targeted towards the top end of the SME segment – the ones who actually have a marketing budget and care about traction and having an edge over their competitors.
This is a smart move, as it shifts the company from being a “cool” platform to have and be used sporadically at events and so forth, to being a long term daily marketing tool for businesses.
The corporate feel creates a stickiness that the company never possessed before. From a business owner perspective, the conversation is now less “do we play with this and see where things go” and more on the side of “how can we use this strategically to drive business”.
One of the major growth opportunities for Verbate is in the area of testimonials. As Tasnuva Bindi reported in an article last week, fake reviews and testimonials have become increasingly sophisticated, and one of the reasons I see that being the case is because a majority of them are written statements next to an image.
A video testimonial has been proven by internet marketers to immediately increase the level of trust potential customers have with a business and increase conversion rates. They also provide a more focused engagement – allowing a business to relay much more information in less time than it would take to read something.
Markets such as real estate, where the environment is heavily competitive and where building a reputation is critical is one such industry I predict Verbate will be targeting.
Video is certainly a competitive market; however, I would argue that affordable end-to-end short form video platforms are a need that is not being fulfilled properly in the local market. The Verbate platform is certainly the right solution; the SME education part of the equation is where the challenge will be.
But once the company reaches a tipping point and dominates a scalable vertical, Verbate will become known as a critical marketing platform for business.