After a lengthy hiatus, we are excited to re-introduce our startup spotlight segment where we feature interviews with founders and other interesting people in the startup scene.
To kick us off is Michael Hoffman of CEO of Gather Voices app, a user-generated video platform that lets users easily create and share videos with their networks.
Video content on social media has become one of the most powerful tools in any organization’s chest war Video content is the primary way content is consumed by millions of people. Gather Voices is helping organizations stay ahead of the curve.
Take a look at Michael’s entrepreneurial story on building a robust platform below.
Tell us a bit about your app Gather Voices – when it was founded, by whom and what you do
Gather Voices is a company that was founded in 2017 to make it easy for organizations to collect, manage and share user-generated video. Our main product is the GV-One platform, which includes an app, but also offers full functionality from a browser.
What inspired you to start Gather Voices?
I’ve run a digital marketing agency for 10 years. Our clients need more and more video content. Agency-produced video is too expensive and doesn’t have the authenticity that comes with user-generated video. But gathering videos from customers has been hard. We started Gather Voices to make it easy.
Who are your main competitors and how do you stay ahead of the pack?
Our main competitor is paying for professional production or simply asking people to make videos. Those ways are terribly inefficient. So we’re educating the market and when CMOs see what we’re doing they are very interested.
What is the biggest accomplishment the business has had in the last one year?
Our product is being used by America’s top charities to engage supporters. The Sierra Club, Make-A-Wish, Boys & Girls Clubs and St. Jude Children’s Hospital are just some of our clients using our product to change the world.
What’s the most important thing you’re working on right now, and how are you making it happen?
Entrepreneurs are jugglers. I’m trying to manage a small team and deal with a lot of customer demand. We want to scale smart, and we’re being very deliberate about our moves. Having great investors and advisors makes it all easier.
What obstacles are you still working through?
Running a startup is one challenge after another. So I don’t think we’ll ever be done with obstacles. One that I’m working through is our product roadmap. There are many potential opportunities and directions and we are making sure that we validate those options with customers before putting resources against them.
How are you getting word out about your company and services to potential clients
Right now we’re focused on direct sales and word-of-mouth. We have a very basic website and are doing no advertising. Our customers are telling others, and we’re calling on organizations where we know they will have an ROI that is at least 10x the cost of our platform. When they see a demo, they get it and we have a terrific close rate.
How do you see your Company Changing over time?
AI and other new technologies are going to impact us – and everyone else. I think we don’t totally know where it’s going to go, but one thing I know for sure is that video will continue to dominate the content mix. So as cellphone cameras get more powerful, we’re in a great position to help organizations leverage the new technology.
Tell us a bit about your company culture
We’re all about client impact. Our goal isn’t to sell product, it’s to help organizations succeed with their digital marketing. Our product is a way to do that. By having that attitude we’ve built a culture of services and insures we will always put the customer first.
If you sold your company today, what would be the tone of the conversation? What would you want to gain? What would you want to avoid losing?
For a sale of the company, I’d want to know that the philosophy of serving our clients impact would continue to be paramount. But we’re a start-up and I don’t expect to have that conversation for a while.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years Gather Voices will be a substantial company, offering a must-have marketing service to a large number of enterprises, SMEs and nonprofits. We will be responsible for a shift in marketing from clever ads, to authentic voices of real people.
You are raising money for Gather Voices, how will you use the funds? Are you targeting or talking to anyone in particular about raising the funds?
We have just completed our first round of funding. Our investors understood quickly the opportunity with video and we’re grateful for their partnership. The funds we have raised are primarily being used to support our growth with customer success people and sales infrastructure.
Thanks Michael for your time. We are eagerly waiting for the new frontiers Gather Voices is set to conquer. You can earn more about Gather Voices by visiting their website here.