Expanding to three international offices in under six months is no easy feat for a growing startup, but that’s the path video tech startup Shootsta decided to take. The startup’s scalable model helped it acquire 22 new clients in the past three months, resulting in 116 clients globally.
It also meant hiring new staff to keep driving the business forward.
Speaking to StartupSmart, Shootsta’s co-founder and chief operating officer Tim Moylan says it was “a milestone no sane person wants to accomplish”. As the number of clients grew both in Australia and overseas, Moylan says it was a logical step to take on more staff.
“When we get X amount of clients, we need to put on a new team on people,” he says. This ratio is roughly 17 staff members for every 30 clients.
“That really is the cookie cutter approach. Everything we do is based off the clients we bring on board. It’s almost a franchise model, that allows us to scale overseas,” he says.
Moylan tells StartupSmart Shootsta has reached annual turnover of $5.5 million, with a global team of 41 staff. But as the business cements its presence overseas, Moylan and his co-founder Mike Pritchett are looking to hire more.
Three new offices, quickly
Shootsta delivers in-house camera kits to businesses, trains staff on how to use them and provides quick turnarounds on editing so clients can get video out quickly.
The startup opened its office in Singapore in August 2017 and Moylan tells StartupSmart its expansion into the region was underpinned by global companies wishing to contract Shootsta in its overseas branches.
“Singapore found us. We had two introductions — Oracle and one other. So we all had the support of Singapore,” he says.
At the same time, the startup was also eyeing off the US and UK markets, and was slating a January 2018 launch in both. Those plans came to fruition and were born from a desire to scoop up some of the potential market share on offer. With a larger population and great company density in metropolitan regions in the US and the UK, Moylan says it was a logical step.
“The growth has been really great because we’re leveraging all of or clients in Australia. Those international brands are giving us warm intros to the two new markets we’ve entered,” he says.
Shootsta has recently signed up Coles, Downer Group, AstraZeneca and Red Cross Australia as clients.
Getting the “systems and processes” in order is crucial
But the expansion has not been without its challenges. For the UK office, forming relationships with clients has been difficult without all the staff on the ground and Shootsta is currently looking to grow its team in the UK to ease this issue.
“Our business is quite a hands-on business and there’s a human touch element. We need people on the ground. That’s the biggest challenge we’ve faced, supporting UK clients from Australia,” Moylan says.
Other issues when expanding overseas have included accounting and legal costs, tax and company structure advice, as well as trying to understand the laws of the land. However on the sales side, Moylan says Shootsta hasn’t encountered problems working overseas because the all clients seem to have the same problems that need resolving.
“The good thing about scaling is that all the regions have the same problems,” Moylan says.
“There are the same content problems each business needs to fix, the same constraints when producing content.”
When pitching to new clients, Moylan says the most effective way to get your message across is to draw upon industry examples. As an example, Moylan uses Shootsta’s work with construction firm Growthbuild, which Shootsta assisted in producing video modules to train employees in OH&S procedures.
“Growthbuild now has the ability to show videos about all the OHS procedures. When we’re able to give relevant specific industry examples, that’s a great way to pitch,” he says.
When working in an unfamiliar work environment like a new country, Moylan says it is important for businesses to be able to adapt in order to survive. For businesses looking to expand or scale overseas, Moylan says the secret is to have your “systems and processes” secure. Additionally, make sure you’ve tailored your products to cater to the local market.
“The truth is, if you do want to go overseas make sure its actually going to work, make sure your systems are in check so you’re not reinventing the wheel,” he says.
“Video is very specific to the market you’re in. Western type videos seem to be different to Asian markets. The way the US views video is also different.”
For the while, Moylan says Shootsta is looking to knuckle down on its international offices and settle in, but future expansion certainly isn’t out of the question.
“I’m definitely not ruling it off the cards. The natural and organic growth inside the company is dictating where we start, but there is nothing on the horizon,” he says.