COUNTDOWN TO DEMO DAY
With Arturs Grobins and Artis Kehris, founders of VideoAvatars
Hi, who are you?
We are Artis Kehris and Arturs Grobins.
Where are you from?
What is the name of your company?
Can you tell me what you do in one sentence?
We enable brands to use their new or existing brand characters effectively in online and mobile rich media campaignsxc across publisher and corporate sites.
How did you come up with your idea?
It was 4:30 in the morning; we just came back from a party. The TV was on and there was a show on Discovery about how Google was founded and the story behind the company. At one point we saw the presenter walking in front of a screen- Google search bar. We thought it looked cool and we wanted to do something with that.
How did you find out about Rockstart Accelerator?
Six months ago we graduated from StartupBootcamp in Copenhagen where we build the most of our technology and after the program we returned back home to Latvia. In a short period of time we landed a few campaigns but at the same time it was clear for us that the market in Latvia is way too small. In January 2012 we went looking for bigger markets and an international vibe. We saw a tweet of Rune Theill Knudsen on our social media with the message “Guys, 72 hours before application deadline”. In a few hours we had a skype call with Rune and it was clear that we had to be a part of Rockstart Accelerator.
You’ve been in Amsterdam now for almost 100 days and part of the Accelerator program Did it meet your expectations?
Rockstart Accelerator definitely met our expectations. The Netherlands turns out to be one of the oldest markets on digital advertising in the world. And one of the most crowded and progressive markets too, so it’s really interesting to be here and prove that we can find our place in a red ocean market.
Do you benefit from working with 9 other startups? If so, how?
The imgZine guys helped us a lot. On the other hand we helped other startups too. What’s more important than helping is sharing the experience. Many teams become good friends, especially the international teams. Working together definitely helped.
How do you benefit from the mentor program coaching? Do you have a favorite mentor?
The mentors were really helpful. Our top dog mentors are: Kees Sadeq and Oscar Kneppers.
Demo Day is on the way. How do you prepare?
We just got back from Malaysia, so we might have a few days disadvantage but we’ll be fine. We’re shifting our focus to Demo Day right now and on practicing the pitch. As a team VideoAvatars always follows just one simple rule, the rule of ABC (Always Be Closing) so we’re sure we’ll close Demo Day successfully.
Will you participate to the additional three-month Summer Program?
We’ll be around but we will probably move to Malaysia this summer – our dream market is in Asia. But we’ll keep our HQ in Amsterdam.
Is the Rockstart Accelerator a business changing event for you?
In our case definitely because we have found our market. The Accelerator in general helps you change your personality as an entrepreneur and it’s also changing you as a team.
Do you have one insight you wanna share with other startups?
Try to build a minimum viable product (MVP) and before you do so: try to understand who needs it. Also be flexible and ready to pivot at any time.