First off, I'd like to announce that I will be interviewing one distinguished tech start-up based in Tampa Bay, Florida every month or so. The Q&A style interview will be done in whichever method works best for both the start-up and I. For example, this interview was done via email due to our busy schedules and inability to meet. The following month it may be a Skype call or video recording, so I suggest you stay tuned if you are interested in learning about what the tech industry in Tampa is up to!
Gather photos and videos from any event and then turn those group memories into WeVues: shareable event recaps made with a few taps.
And now for our featured start-up interview with WeVue co-founder Taylor Wallace.
Jon: Hi Taylor, I'm glad you were able to take some time out of your day for this Q&A. Without further ado, let's begin!
1. How did you get started in this industry? Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have Masters in English Lit, and my background is really in storytelling and theatrical production. After taking an original play to the Edinburgh Fringe (largest theater festival in the world), I realized the internet was the greatest story telling invention ever created, and if I wanted to tell stories in the 21st century, I needed to figure out how it worked. So I took a job at the most complicated web startup that would hire me, a company called Brilig that matched offline consumer data with online cookies and then resold that information for the behavioral targeting of ads. I was fortunate to wear many hats there, from managing accounts like google, AOL, and Yahoo to helping engineers and designers with new product development. I quickly grew tired to the adtech industry, and wanted to focus on building consumer products that helped people tell their stories in new and interesting ways. My partner reached out to me to help him get WeVue off the ground, and here I am.
2. What benefit do people have with using your service vs the current alternatives, if any?
There are services that allow people to crowdsource pictures and there are services that allow people to make movies with their own content, but we are the only application that allows people to gather pictures AND videos, and then turn that content into a beautiful movie all on their phone. Our product is all about letting people create things together, with pictures and videos shared around events. Others are offering parts of our functionality, but we are the only ones that offer a full circle solution.
3. Why Tampa Bay?
My partner and I were both living in NYC when we founded the company. One of our investors is based here, and he helped us partner with a group of local developers and designers to get things off the ground. I started coming down to oversee the project about once a month, and I really fell in love with the city. I saw how robust the events industry is here, and we also took a page from the book of Bloomin Brands and Hooters. They test most of their restaurants in this area as it’s a great place of the average American consumer to live and visit. We’re building an app for the every day person, and we figured if we could gain adoption here, we could succeed elsewhere.
4. What has been the most difficult challenge thus far?
Building cloud based products that help people movie large photo and video files around is hard!
5. Tell me a little more about how you financed this start-up? Bootstrapped it? VC?
We were lucky to raise some seed money from friends and family to get us off the ground. Our network includes many successful entrepreneurs, and my partner and I have been starting businesses since we were little kids shoveling snow.
6. What are you doing to gain exposure?
We’ve been in quiet mode up to this point. We launched our beta in early September, tested locally with various Bay area events, gained invaluable feedback and completely redesigned the product. We are getting ready for a massive relaunch come mid March. To gain initial traction, we are partnering with various global artists to get exclusive content into the app and have them use it at their concerts and event. WeVue is a new tool that they can use to interact with their fans on an unprecedented level that we provide them for free. In exchange, they’re going to promote their use of the app across their large social networks. We also have partnerships lined with some various large event companies that are looking forward to using our product at their events.
7. Where do you see your company a few years down the road?
We want to be THE content app for events. If you go to the Super Bowl, we want you using WeVue, if you have a birthday party or a bachelor party, we want you using WeVue. We’ll have millions of users, a solid recurring revenue model, and we may even be licensing our technology to other event app developers so they can crowdsource content in their apps.
8. For aspiring entrepreneurs or those in the same boat as you, do you have any words of advice?
It’s a common saying that you never believe until you’ve gone through it. You can build things fast, cheap, or good. Pick two. Also, find a great designer.
Thanks for your time, Taylor and best wishes to you and the WeVue team!
Here are a couple of examples of WeVue memories:
I'm always appreciative of fellow entrepreneurs that are willing to share their story with others who may relate in some way, shape, or form regardless of what stage they are currently at.
Like the great Eminem once said:
But if one kid out of a hundred million
Who are going through a struggle feels it and
Relates, that's great, it's payback
Yes, I just quoted Eminem. Until next time!
Tampa Bay's IT Examiner