Storygami: “We felt that there must be a better way to encourage action”
Heidi Lindvall is co-founder of Storygami, a tool that allows video creators to add calls to action, context and monetisation features into their videos. They have also created Maven, a video platform for internet explainers and reviewers. Storygami was one of eight companies selected pitch at TechPitch 4.5 back in October. We caught up with Heidi to hear from about the Storygami proposition, how the start-up developed from idea to fruition, and get her take on the post-Brexit innovation ecosystem in the UK.
-Heidi, thanks for taking the time to talk with us today. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself and your professional story?
I’m originally from Finland and have lived in London for 11 years now. I originally came here to study media but ended up staying to work after finishing my studies. I am now running my second company, Storygami, together with my co-founder Guy.
-Tell us how the idea for Storygami began and evolved. Was there a particular experience that led you to spotting the market gap?
We were running a video production company called Codoc in London at the time and we were creating videos for many high profile clients, such as Virgin Media and Amnesty International. The more we worked with video the more we became frustrated with its capabilities. Video is a very powerful medium but we realised just how hard it is to get people to engage and take action after watching one. We felt that there must be a better way to encourage action, so we started to explore how technology could be used to make video smarter. We ended up building a prototype for something that we called layered video technology. A few years later we started Storygami as a separate business.
-Where did you start once you had the idea for creating Storygami?
We started by doing some extensive research to find out if something like this existed and then we tried all similar technologies that we could find. After realising that nothing out there fully solved the problem we had identified, we built a simple prototype that we used to showcase our idea and acquire our first paying customers.
-What is Storygami and how does it work? Why is it unique in the market and what value does it give to its users?
Storygami is an easy-to-use drag-and-drop tool that allows video creators to add calls to action, context and monetisation features into their videos. These features can be in the form of articles, polls, and micro-payments. We have found that Storygami users get an average of 90% increase in engagement, up to 200% increase in retention, and their in-video calls to action are 5-10 times more powerful. Our technology has already been used by clients such as Virgin, Thomson Reuters, Sky News and Unilever.
We also have a brand new platform called Maven, which is a video platform for the internet’s best experts, explainers and reviews. Maven uses our patent pending technology to help creators engage their communities and earn revenues through our in-video monetisation tools.
-What is the status of Storygami now, in terms of employees, office space, etc?
We have been working full-time on Storygami for almost two years now. We have raised £300,000 in funding to date from angel investors and 500Startups. We have a brilliant team of six and are based in London, although some of our team work remotely.
-How have you funded yourself so far and what are your plans/hopes for future funding?
We started out bootstrapping until we could validate our idea and gain some traction. Once we saw enough interest we raised some angel investment and after that graduated from one of the top startup accelerators, 500Startups. We are currently getting interest for a seed round, which would help us launch Maven publicly, gain more traction, and prepare for a Series A.
-What is your take on the start-up ecosystem in the UK, especially after the Brexit vote?
London is a great hub for talent and starting a company here is fairly simple compared to many other start-up hubs. I think London has a great eco-system with a lot of potential but if it becomes harder for Europeans to work and start companies in London then I definitely think this will negatively impact London’s role as a leading start-up hub in Europe.
-We enjoyed hearing your pitch at TechPitch 4.5. Did you enjoy the overall experience?
Yes, I enjoyed pitching at TechPitch 4.5. We had a good audience from mixed backgrounds and had some great conversations afterwards.