Founded by Laura Steward, Video Fizz in September won a $50,000 grant as part of the LaunchKC pitch competition. Video Fizz, an app that enables collaboration to make personalized video messages for celebrations or special occasions, was among 10 startups to win a $50,000 grant in a competition held during Techweek Kansas City.
After winning the grant, Steward said that Video Fizz was selected from the field of 10 winners to represent Kansas City in Techweek’s “Launch Championship” in Miami, where she could win an additional $50,000.
“It’s awesome — I’m super excited to be chosen,” said Steward, who will be traveling to Miami in December for the competition. “I’m really excited to get the opportunity to go and represent our city in that competition. I’m going to do my best to have a good showing.”
Adding to her good fortune, Steward said that Video Fizz’s seed round recently surpassed $1.2 million. The round includes friends, family and one regional investor. Steward plans to use the funds to hire five people — creating a full team of six — to beef up marketing and technical operations.
“This is about driving customer acquisition,” Steward said of the seed round. “Marketing is going to be extremely important as a business-to-consumer product. We’ve got to spend a lot of time listening to the customer and we’ve got to have the money to adapt the product in a way that gives customers what they’re looking for.”
While it has a bubbly name, Video Fizz is taking on a market with serious potential. Steward said that the company is targeting the $7 billion greeting card market via its app that allows users to collaborate on making personal, high-definition video messages for birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions.
To create a Video Fizz, an iOS or Android user may purchase a single message for $5 or a one-year, unlimited account for $10. The user then selects from a variety of message templates — such as graduation, birthday, retirement and more — and sends an invitation for participants to record a brief video. The videos are then compiled into one message and sent to a recipient.
On average, Steward says about 13 people participate in creating a Video Fizz message, which drives downloads via personal invitations. In her pilot testing of the app, Steward said she quickly realized that not only is there demand, but also a need to handle significant traffic.
“For every Video Fizz we made, we had at minimum two other people that participated in it want to make one,” said Steward, a former executive for General Electric Healthcare. “In less than 10 days, I was managing over 800 video clips. And I realized that as exciting as a business as that was, it wouldn’t be scalable without automation and that’s why I had the app built. … It’s not just an app from an idea, but rather an app that solved a problem.”
Here’s a video of how Video Fizz works: