From 0 to 1 million
Building a start up is hard and risky.
If you have what it takes, why not shoot for a $1b outcome?
You're already taking a risk, why not swing for the fences?
Unicorn or go-home. That's are new motto.
There are many start ups that hit 6 to 7 figures and coast, it's not the worst thing and is a tremendous accomplishment in itself, but there is nothing more exciting than going for it, even if it's hard – shoot for the moon and land among the stars.
We made a commitment and there is no turning back. With every commitment and desire comes a need for a solid strategy to achieve a positive result. In this post I am going to be as transparent as possible on my thoughts around how I believe we can take Motionbox to a $1b outcome.
You will learn about how we raised $725k, anecdotal lessons I've personally learned, and how we plan to take Motionbox to the promised land. Grab your popcorn, it's going to be a good one.
There Are Many Paths
General start-up advice is that in the early days you want to validate your idea before you build – it saves time and pain. Maybe get a few customers in the early days and build a prototype cheaply. However, in practice, this doesn't always work, and many startups end up pivoting anyways, this is why the advice makes it obvious to run cheap experiments early on.
It makes sense, but when you look at most innovative technologies, there are typically years of blood and sweat – also maybe a few tears. So if you're passionate about something that is hard, I see no shame in building first, as long as you can see your product being adaptable enough to fit into the market and you should have a baseline understanding of the market.
Good things take time, and it can be very hard to get conclusive evidence on what you should build, so why not shortcut it by building something you feel you must build (passion will take you a long way) – again as long as it's not too esoteric and you have a baseline understanding of the market you're attacking, for a $1b outcome you should also have a grip on the TAM (total accessible market).
Our path has been focused on building a great tool and solving complex problems that are adaptable like our rendering engine and our video editing tool. The rendering engine renders videos in the cloud, in parallel, and has the power of WebGL. It's incredibly portable and is playing a nice role in our new API.
Building a Foundation
Before you can get to $1b you need to build an asset or be really good at selling a vision. It's much easier to work with something real – however, you'd be surprised with what people can sell (Invisible Sculpture). Just look at %%what's that girls name, the juice press or even the Invisble Sculpture. Hell the Silicon Valley series is a pretty realistic version of how crazy Silicon Valley can get.
If you're like me then you're much more confident selling something that already works and can be seen by potential customers and investors.
A key component to building an asset is that it shows you clearly have execution ability, and this is very important in the success of a start-up. Being technical certainly helps, because you can build tools that are malleable to the market. It's incredibly hard to get your v.1 to fit the market perfectly in the early days, even after constant conversations with users. Having a foundation is important before moving onto the experimentation phase in my opinion.
Once you have leverage and a foundation you can start onboarding actual customers and you can run experiments. When you get some revenue and have a working asset your chances of raising money are much higher – especially if you put love into the foundation. This is exactly what we did, and now we are running experiments to find product-market fit.
Product Market Fit
So I've shared that not all paths to $1b have to be the same, we're on our own journey, we are looking closely at the trends of the other $1b+ companies, and are learning. Our product acts as the horse in front of the wagon.
Since we have a working tool we have been able to onboard hundreds of customers and from that we are able to test the resilience of the product. While at the same time have the ability to study the users who use the tool to get an unbiased understanding of what people need. The confusion gap between product and market is reduced because you can see who pays and figure out why they paid.
Before we reach $1b we have to work hard in hitting $1m first. We're currently in the PMF-seeking phase and it's an inflection point we must hit before advancing. It's exciting because we have a foundation that is malleable enough to take in several different directions. This is where we start treating our operation as a team of scientists.
Now that we've got a million we're going full out on everything. Here's just a tiny glimpse into what we will be doing.
Organic traffic is one of the most important aspects of any marketing plan. If you want long-term sustainable growth then this is the way to go. So we'll be going all out on it. Everything from content to technical to outreach. Watch this space for more information.
Ironically, as a company dealing with videos, our social presence is somewhat sparse. So ye we're going to be amping our outreach and publishing qualities across our social platforms.
While we're still figuring things out B2B is surely a strong growth avenue for us. For this we will be using LinkedIn as well as targeted outreach and content.
Going for a Billion
With Canva now worth 15 billion, and video content on the constant rise it's not unreasonable or unrealistic to expect an online video editing platform to reach a $1 billion valuation.
Of course, we still have a way to go but we're on the path so just try and stop us.