WIP – a work in progress

Following on from last weeks interview with Timely and Kiwi Landing Pad, we caught with the other BNZ STartup Alley winner, WIP.

WIP founders
WIP founders

We talked with Matt Lee, WIP’s Head of Marketing.

Webstock: What is WIP? Give us an idea of exactly what it does, what problems it solves.

Matt: WIP is a new way for video makers to share and review their work-in-progress videos.

Right now there is a massive disconnect between the video and the feedback: lengthy email chains with time-codes are the way people currently communicate changes. This just seems crazy to us given video makers are visual people and video is a visual medium. Doesn’t it make sense to approach the feedback workflow in the same way?

So that’s what WIP does: we’re a cloud-based platform that lets you upload your work-in-progress videos, privately invite clients and collaborators to give feedback and comment directly on the video. It’s really that simple.

Webstock: So all good products have a founding story. What’s the story behind how WIP got started?

Matt: Like many great products, WIP was born out of necessity. 18 November 2012 was the day WIP’s CEO, Rollo Wenlock, came up with the idea after a frustrating experience trying to share a video with a client and get feedback on it. After searching the web for a better solution he was gob smacked that nothing decent existed. He stopped by Creative HQ on a whim to pitch the idea, this lead to a meeting with soon-to-be co founder and CTO Nick Green and six months later here we are, about to finish New Zealand’s first startup accelerator program, with a full-time marketer and designer on the team as well and a product that’s used by video professionals in 24 countries.

Webstock: You were one of the winners at BNZ StartUp Alley and have been accepted in the Lightning Labs program. How has each of those things helped you and what are you learning from them?

Matt: Webstock was a great launching platform for WIP, it led to coverage in a number of local publications and put us on the radar of some of NZ’s most influential tech and business people, who have been great mentors over the last three months.

The Lab has taught us some of the science behind business and what it takes to run a successful start-up – before that we were just four guys with an idea. The 110 local and international mentors they introduced us to have also been vital to the growth and development of the company.

Webstock: Is there much competition out there for WIP? What sets you apart from your competitors?

Matt: Of course there is competition, it’s extremely rare to start a business these days and not have a competitor and we see this as a good thing, it helps to validate that there is a market out there for WIP.

The problem with many of them is they treat video makers as second-class citizens, they don’t understand the user and in some cases their products actually make the process harder by adding complex functionality to the process.

What sets WIP apart is that our team truly understands the problem and the solution and its paramount to us that the user experience is at the heart of everything we do.

We’ve built a platform that makes the video the central focus and the comments appear on the video so they’re contextual. Nobody else does this.

Webstock: Where would you like to be a year from now? What are you plans for the next 12 months?

Matt: I’d like to say we’d be kicking back on a yacht in the South of France, but we’re here to make a great product, which takes time.

The Lightning Lab will draw to a spectacular close next Wednesday with the investor Demo Day. So there are three primary focuses for us: 1) securing investment, 2) product development and 3) thought leadership and media relationships.

We have two major product releases scheduled for September 2013 and March 2014, which will enhance the feature set and functionality, and allow us to focus our marketing efforts and concentrate on the USA, which is our biggest market opportunity.

Thanks Matt! We’re looking forward to seeing WIP’s progress over the coming months.