Businesses recognize the power of video but don’t have the time, resources or know-how to produce it. Raw Shorts helps businesses overcome this challenge with an easy-to-use template-driven cloud-based video builder.
In the past year, the Miami-based company, run by Antonio Otalvaro, has successfully launched a working prototype for a complex platform with very few resources, opened access to the platform through an open beta and obtained validation from the paying businesses community that the solution the company helps address one of their biggest marketing challenges.
Otalvaro was the Challenge Champion in the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge in 2011 for a company called Raw Apps, which was developing and selling interactive live wallpapers skinned in branded content and gamified apps for smartphones. The team worked on that concept and enjoyed early success, but in 2012 Otalvaro decided on a very different course.
“With Raw Apps we were early entrants in the Android space and enjoyed a lot of success as a result of our timing. The Raw Apps model is still a great model but at the time it required a considerable amount of resources to execute properly since a major component was consumer facing. We were able to prove the model as first movers but to maintain a position of leadership and build a viable business we needed an influx of cash to fill our conversion funnel. Not having those resources meant facing a window of opportunity that was quickly closing,” Otalvaro said.
While running Raw Apps, another opportunity presented itself. Otalvaro started meeting a new wave of entrepreneurs launching “start-apps” who were in need of digital marketing services to bring awareness to their products. “A lot of companies contacted us to learn more about who produced our videos and that’s when I realized that I could provide a solution to the growing number of small and medium-sized businesses who were now believers in video as a competitive advantage.”
The many consultations Otavaro had with prospective clients and really getting to understand their needs and challenges — a process the Lean Start Up movement calls “customer development” — helped persuade him to change course. At the same time, the popularity of video was exploding.
Key to the Raw Shorts model is the template approach, so that the company could meet the rising demand for videos. And the lean team of three set to work on developing the platform.
Now, Raw Shorts is set to issue its first commercial product within the next three months and is in talks with several channel partners about integrating its platform into their existing online communities.
Otalvaro was a member of the first accelerator class at Venture Hive, and he encourages other tech entrepreneurs to apply for the 2015 class.
“Within a span of one short year we went from zero lines of code to a commercial MVP [minimum viable product] with over 3,000 businesses from all over the world benefitting from the use of our platform for their video needs,” Otalvaro said. “In addition to providing the financial resources we needed for a successful product launch, the mentorship I received through Venture Hive has helped me refine my model and go-to-market strategy and we’re now positioned for growth.”