The Business Owner: Michael Venn, Duplia
The man behind Tagstr talks to is4profit about liaising with celebrity YouTubers to promote his apps, and early stage beta testing
Name: Michael Venn
Company: Duplia Ltd
Founder: Michael Venn
Location: Cheltenham, UK
Proposition: Duplia develops mobile apps. The company was incorporated in 2012 and in 2014 we launched Tagstr, which allows users to share and tag photos, videos, and audio. In March 2016 we launched Frames, the video-only social collaborating app which received 40,000 users in 40 days.
Size: 10 employees
How is your business different from what’s already out there?
Our most recent product, Frames, focuses on video collaboration in a unique way. With Frames you can create collaborative videos with your friends and followers no matter where they are in the world. Just record your clip or clips, send them to your friends and see the masterpiece that is produced.
How did you finance your business?
The company has received £2m from high net worth individuals in the last few years to develop the Tagstr technology and they quickly realised a demand from Tagstr’s 400,000 users for a video-only collaboration tool.
The Frames team and I are now looking for a further £500,000 in investment that will be used to develop the technology to further support the demand of collaborative video functionality
What is the most important thing to keep track of in business and why?
For me it would be client satisfaction – listening to their feedback, and actually taking it on board! For us, this would apply with the early stages of launching an app and working closely with beta testers. We launch apps to specific audiences, working with them to create and tweak an app that they love.
What is the biggest day-to-day challenge you face?
Time management! The days are too short! It’s very hard to keep track on my work and my tasks when I have to be on hand for the team and get things done with them. The company is small, and we help each other a lot. So by the time I have got around to my own tasks after delegating the working day is gone!
What marketing techniques do you use to attract new customers?
The most successful method through vigorous testing on our different products has been influencer marketing, working alongside online celebrities, influencers and popular YouTubers.
We like to get them behind our products, acting as ambassadors and then they organically promote to their loyally fan bases. The most important thing for us, is that we match the right type of influencer to our products, products they will actually use and love.
What’s the business app you couldn’t do without?
The two apps I use daily and a lot are; Doodle and Evernote. Doodle helps me manage my meetings and calls and Evernote helps me organise my ideas and take notes, I couldn’t live without it!
Describe your company’s culture in three words:
Creative, ambitious and driven
What would you like the government to do for small business?
I personally feel that the UK government does quite a bit to help small businesses. I know there are a number of grants schemes available, government funded investment funds, business rates relief and also research and development tax reimbursements, which can all be very helpful to small businesses.
Who’s your biggest small and medium enterprise hero?
I would say Elon Musk for what he is doing with Tesla and Space X, even though they have experienced setbacks they are really trying to drive innovation.
Where do you want the business to be in three years?
Ideally a globally used social video network that has reacted well to the markets demand.
What’s your top tip for keeping it lean and making profit?
Hire driven people and the right fit for the company. Saves a lot of money and time, if you get it right.