Posted: Fri 15th Mar 2019
With the vidiCREW app, wedding guests record priceless moments and the videos are then edited into personal wedding films. Paul Hulligan is one of the entrepreneurs behind the ingenious idea. The Enterprise Nation member shares his story.
How have you funded your business?
My business partner Alex Wilding and I competed against 90 other start-ups to win the 2017 E-Factor competition. The prize was a £6,000 grant and free office space for a year.
Shortly after, we pitched to a panel of business experts as part of the Tower Hamlets Start-up Ready scheme, securing a £5,000 grant. Then we won the Haberdashers Boost your Business award securing a £2,000 grant.
How did you come up with your idea for your business?
My business partner and I both have a background in filmmaking and we used to make fun weddings videos for our friends with our mobile phones, which would get a hugely positive reaction on social media.
We quickly realised that an app which sends videos to one online location would allow everyone to contribute videos towards the final film. Making it even more personal.
We took this idea to the E-Factor start-up competition in 2017 and won. This gave us the boost we needed to complete our minimum viable product (MVP) and start making sales.
What start-up challenges have you faced?
A lack of upfront finances to build the business has been the biggest challenge we've had to overcome. I'm still not quite sure how we've built what we have on such little resource; hard graft I suppose!
Essentially we've had to build a tech business (iPhone and Android app, website, online gallery) and conduct meaningful marketing with just £13,000 grant money. We freelance as filmmakers to pay our personal bills whilst building the business.
What has been your biggest achievement?
We've won a start-up competition, secured grant money, made organic sales and went down a storm at the recent National Wedding Show at the Excel arena!
But I'd say that the biggest win has been to get a lead investor on board, which will really help us secure the rest of our first investment round (SEIS).
What is your next big business goal?
Secure our first round of investment; £150,000 SEIS. The investment will really help us capitalise quickly on the UK wedding market, and enter the US wedding market.
What do you think will be your biggest challenge?
We've got until July this year to secure the SEIS funding round, so the biggest challenge will be to secure the investment within a few months. But we're making good progress and feeling confident.
How has Enterprise Nation helped your business?
We've made great business connections at Enterprise Nation events.
We attended the big StartUp 2019 event in January and managed to speak with a number of expert speakers, some of whom were angel investors. That was very useful.
Which other entrepreneur inspires you and why?
Justin Miller, the co-founder of WedPics, has proven what can be achieved in the wedding market, with WedPics being valued at $18.5m in 2015. He successfully exited in 2017.
We see vidiCREW as the video version of WedPics and as single guys ourselves, we are inspired by Justin's journey because he and his co-founders were exactly the same; three single guys crashing the wedding market! We are confident we can do the same.
What are your three tips for business success?
1. Stay lean. We've never paid for office space and won't until it's absolutely necessary. This has allowed us to make big business decisions easier because we're aren't tied down by massive overheads.
2. Build a team of advisers and use them. Having experts with different experience related to your business and the start-up world is invaluable.
3. Network! The more people you meet at relevant events the more connections you'll make. We've found that leads to all sorts of opportunities; sales, advice, support and investment.
Anything else you would like to share?
Our favourite story is of brides competing!
A bride used our service to create her wedding film and did a great job, capturing lots of moments resulting in a great film. We noticed soon after that her friend from the wedding had chosen to use our service to make her wedding film too and she put even more of effort into capturing moments and made an even better film!
It was thrilling and funny for us to see our customers adopt the service in that way.
We're proud to have entrepreneurs like Paul as members of Enterprise Nation. Join Enterprise Nation today and become part of an amazing community of small businesses.