Don’t miss your customers’ cues, said Laura Steward, founder of VideoFizz.
Though the Kansas City-based startup originally developed its mobile app as a tool to help individuals create video compilations of their personal photos and videos, Steward and her team noticed a growing number of real estate agents using the technology to stitch together video listings for homes, she said.
A subsequent collaboration with United Real Estate Group to create a customized version of the app that caters specifically to real estate agents’ needs now has led to a more than $500,000 contract with the group, Steward said.
“I think the secret to surviving as a startup is living long enough to learn what customers want to do with your product,” she said. “It’s always hard to start out; I guess we’re getting rewarded for having made it this long.”
If at least half of the 8,700 agents at United Real Estate Group sign up for the app, it would be worth a half million dollars, she added. That payday could rise as high as $1 million if all agents chose to use the technology. The customized app is set to be unveiled to the group’s agents next week at the 2018 Viva United Education & Awards Convention.
The news comes fresh off word VideoFizz was awarded another $250,000 from the Missouri Technology Corporation. The state agency sustained major cuts to its 2018 budget.
Video is an integral part of modern-day house hunting, according to a 2013 joint study conducted by the National Association of Realtors and Google. But making a video takes up valuable time, energy and resources, Steward said. That’s why her company has found that real estate agents keep using the VideoFizz app to do the work for them.
“Instead of adding a process to the real estate agents that is cumbersome and takes them more time and costs them a lot of money, what they’re able to do is create really inexpensive quality listings so they can sell homes,” she said.
Dan Duffy, chief executive officer of United Real Estate Group, said they are excited about working with VideoFizz.
“This is an absolute rising star opportunity for Kansas City to get on the map with something that, in my opinion, is the technology of the future, not just for real estate but for other vertical markets,” Duffy said. “It’s unbelievable and random that, you know, we happen to be headquartered internationally here, and this sharp technology company is right in our backyard.”
United Real Estate Group members, of course, aren’t the only agents using the app — though the group is the first franchisee of the customized technology, Steward said. Agents from Coldwell Banker, RE/MAX, ReeceNichols, and Better Homes and Gardens also take advantage of VideoFizz’s offerings, Steward said.
“If you’re emotionally tied to how someone wants to use your product, you might miss the cue,” she said. “We saw customers using it in a specific way. It solves a problem for them, and now when we look at the problem that we solved for them, that is the way our business will grow.”
Steward and her team will focus on executing VideoFizz’s contract with United Real Estate Group before shifting greater energy to the next vertical, she said.
School districts, multi-level marketing corporations and small businesses are among the company’s looming prospects, not to mention the individual consumers VideoFizz originally targeted when it launched in March 2015, she said. Since then, VideoFizz has seen nearly 100,000 downloads, Steward estimated.
“It’s like the power of the platform and the process of what we have created has had so many applications across so many verticals that we that we did not realize because we were only talking to consumers,” she said. “Our next question is, ‘How big will it get?’” she said.
The pivot point for Steward was when she noticed many of their customers were businesses, not just individuals.
“We pivoted from business-to-consumer to business-to-business, and it happened so quickly that we can’t even explain it,” Steward said.
VideoFizz has a team of six developers and two full-time employees, but it’s expanding, Steward said, adding that the company just moved into its new headquarters.
“We’ve been very lean, and we’ve had a lot of contractors, but at this stage, we’ve found our market niche,” she said. “We understand what our product is, and it is time to build our team.”