Sydney startup Crew Scout helps customers find and hire vetted video production professionals

- September 14, 2016 3 MIN READ

Content is king for businesses of all kinds, and video content has steadily grown over the last year or so to reign above all. The problem is that good video content is hard to produce on your own, and costly to have someone produce for you – not to mention the difficulty of finding the right production team to do it for you.

Similar to fellow Fishburners-based startup Snappr, which has created a two-way marketplace focused on matching pre-qualified photographers with consumers, Crew Scout aims to help clients find and hire the right video team for their project, at a competitive price.

The startup was founded by Paul Moses last year. He saw the need for such a service after working in the video production industry for over a decade, witnessing first hand the problems faced by both customers and content producers. Having also spent the last four a half years running a video crew resource business, he knew there was an appetite from both companies and individuals wanting to hire crews at realistic prices.

So Crew Scout was the result, its purpose to “cut through the noise” of the video production industry and help simply connect clients to makers.

It works by having a user post a project to the community of vetted industry professionals, or put a call out for a specific crew member, such as a camera operator, editor, or sound recordist. They are aided by a costing tool which gives them a quick budget suggestion as they post their project, to help them suss out what to look for and make sure their expectations are reasonable.

The professionals then pitch their ideas and price to the client. Once a client engages a team or individual professional, Crew Scout’s milestone-based escrow payment system kicks into gear, with projects funded in stages according to the achieving of different goals.

Crew Scout allows the clients and professionals to chat through the platform, while the makers can also upload the videos to the platform for review and feedback. The startup guarantees two rounds of feedback and edits per project, with any additional edits to be made at the discretion of the client and makers.

For the video makers, getting on to Crew Scout means applying for membership, with each application vetted. Past work is reviewed and the team has a chat to the applicant to better inform their decision. If accepted, the maker then fills out their profile with a regular bio and recent work, which is automatically included in any pitch they send to a potential client.

As well as helping makers find new work, Moses said the escrow payment system cuts out a significant problem faced by the industry: chasing down unpaid invoices.

“When customers sign­ off the project and download their video, the final funds are automatically transferred to the maker’s favourite payment method. This means video makers get paid within three businesses days of client sign­ off,” Moses explained.

Signing up to Crew Scout and posting a project is free, with the startup then taking a finder’s fee of 12 percent from the video makers. This also covers the cost of the escrow system, bank transfer fees, and video hosting costs – a small price to pay for peace of mind, Moses said.

The startup is currently targeting small to medium sized businesses, with Moses saying a growing number are starting to see the potential of video content. So far he said the average project value has ranged from $3,500-$6,500 for full service projects – concept to finished product – while a couple have exceeded $10,000.

When it comes to finding an individual crew member, Moses said Crew Scout is looking to target the likes of media or ad agencies or overseas production companies who need someone with a specific skill.

On the other side of the market, Crew Scout is open to production companies of all sizes and genres and freelancers of all kind getting on board.

According to Moses, competition in the space comes mostly from international platforms that Australian professionals list on; the local touch, he believes, will help Crew Scout win out.

However, a growing force in the space is Shootsta, essentially a production company that works by distributing easy to use camera kits to clients, providing some training, and then letting them shoot. The clients then upload the footage to Shootsta via an online hub and provide a project brief, and Shootsta’s editors then turn it around within 24 hours.

With the likes of Qantas and Toyota using the service, ASX-listed communications agency AdCorp earlier this year acquired a 15 percent stake in Shootsta for $1 million in cash and in-kind services, valuing the company at just over $6.6 million.

As cofounder Mike Pritchett put it, however, Shootsta operates in a different space to traditional production companies rather than competing for the same client dollars, which means Crew Scout has the opportunity to become a leader in the more traditional side of the market.

Having funded the development of Crew Scout through this previous business, Moses said the startup has started to generate revenue. Going forward his key goal is to keep improving the platform in order to keep growing the community of makers and awareness among potential clients, and partner with other companies that complement its offering.

Image: Paul Moses. Source: Supplied.