Our tech start-up of the week is FanFootage, a platform for crowdsourcing videos at live music and sporting events.
The brainchild of multimedia and video experts Cathal Furey and Vinny Glennon, FanFootage works with bands, music venues and sports venues and organisations to make moments in time last forever … from the crowd’s perspective and from the stage.
“We help turn the crowd into a huge fan video crew, allowing them to document the moment from their own personal perspective,” Furey explains.
Furey says the market for fan-based video is ripe for explosion due to the proliferation of smart devices.
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“More and more people have high-quality video cameras in their pockets at all times (in the form of the latest smartphones), and like to record special memories at live events. Individually, these fan-shot videos are of limited value and most of them just get deleted from phones or a handful of views on a personal YouTube channel.
“However when all of these video are gathered together in one place and can be edited into a fan-shot highlights video, they are much more valuable.”
He explained that for live music concerts, bands use FanFootage for just one song from their set, and make a great live audio recording themselves.
“Our proprietary video-sync technology matches all of the fan videos up with this band-approved sound recording, so the resulting videos all sound great and can be edited together into a broadcast-quality official live video.
“Choosing one FanFootage song from a concert for fans to film is also a useful positive way to control the frequently irritating habit some fans have of videoing most of the concert instead of just enjoying the moment. We think one FanFootage opportunity per concert is a great compromise and allows the fans really connect with the band.”
CEO Cathal Furey used to lecture IT, multimedia and enterprise with Fiontar in DCU, before setting up a video production company.
“It's what let to the initial idea which then became FanFootage.”
FanFootage’s CTO Vinny Glennon is also a DCU graduate, and experienced the renowned Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator programme as part of a previous start-up Echodio (sold to RealNetworks).
CCO Rowan Devereux has a proven entrepreneurial track record as co-founder of fintech startup Blue Insurances and a former EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist.
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“We have built a complete platform for easy crowd-sourcing and curating video content at live events. Fans log in and upload their videos using our iPhone and Android apps, or can upload any GoPro, DSLR or other video content using our embeddable web uploader.
“Our Content Producer tools make it easy to filter and curate this fan video content into an interactive video experience. For music, our video sync technology automatically syncs all of the fan videos to the professional live audio recording of the song, making them all sound great.
“It's also easy to broadcasters and third party editors access to this fan video content, allowing them to use it to complement the professional video content or to edit it into high-quality branded content.
“With amazing video quality on the latest phones, ongoing roll-out of 4G data and an explosion in video creation and consumption on mobile generally, this is a very exciting space to be in.
“We are currently recognised leaders in event video crowd-sourcing worldwide, and want to build on that until our technology is used at thousands of live music and sports events worldwide each week,” Furey explained.
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Furey explained that the company’s focus until now has been on building its technology platform, proving it works and making sure there is real value created for bands, clubs and brand sponsors by using FanFootage.
“We have successfully done that at live events in 27 countries across 4 continents!
“Although we have progressed this far using founder funds and some help from Enterprise Ireland, to grow the business at the pace we want to take on outside investment. We are currently talking to Irish and UK angels and early-stage VCs about a seed round.”
Furey belives there are always plenty of challenges trying to build something completely new, but that's just part of the fun of the start-up game.
“Getting the technology right and designing a great user experience always takes longer and is more stressful than anticipated. On the other hand working with the live music and sports industry means our team gets to enjoy some amazing performances first-hand too!”
Just do it
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Furey believes it is an exciting time for the start-up scene in Ireland.
“I feel the reality has now caught up with the hype – there are some really world-class companies starting to emerge, along with a growing pool of proven serial entrepreneurs and successful angel investors to help the next wave of Irish start-ups come through.
“Another recent trend is that the large tech players such as Google, Facebook and Twitter are reaching out and getting fully involved with the start-up scene, particularly in Dublin.
“Myself and Rowan are taking part in the Blackbox Connect programme in Palo Alto this month thanks to Paddy Flynn and the Google for Entrepreneurs initiative for example, which is a great opportunity for us.”
His advice for other founders or would-be founders is not to wait around or caught up in theory.
“Just DO it. Don't get too caught up reading endless blog posts and books about starting a company, if you have a great idea then take active steps to bring it to life.
“Make that call or send that email today rather than tomorrow or next month. Once you take those first steps, it gets easier and before you know it you'll have made substantial progress. Do pay attention to the details though, especially equity vesting and shareholder agreements.
“Most importantly, enjoy it. Not everyone gets to try to create a new business from scratch.
“Yes it will be bloody hard work and yes there will be low points, but you will learn loads and build a great business network even if it ultimately fails. So relax those shoulders and remember to enjoy the journey!”