Less than a year ago, Brandlive won OEN’s Angel Oregon Spring 2013 competition, culminating in a check for $260,000. Here, guest blogger M!ke Russell, principal of Pivotal Writing, LLC, touches base to see how Brandlive has since grown, how they now define success, and what new challenges they are facing.
When you think ‘train car,’ a specific image may come to mind; an unwieldy box lumbering across the countryside. You wouldn’t think, ‘Headquarters of a small disruptive startup that aspires to change the way brands engage their customers.’ Though Brandlive’s traincar headquarters are stationary, this startup is gathering speed.
Ambitious? Sure. Audacious? If Needed.
Case in point: the supersized check Brandlive won at Angel Oregon last year, which now resides in their headquarters. At first glance, a proportionately outsized red ‘X’ draws your eye over the original amount; $260,000. Above that ‘X’ –in the same red- stands an ambitious sum; $1,600,000.
Is That A Goal, Or A Tally?
A tally, apparently.
“Winning Angel Oregon got us on more radars,” says Fritz Brumder, Brandlive’s co-founder. “That brought renewed support from our earlier investors, and new funding from the Oregon Angel Fund. Of course, with new funding come higher expectations. And since we’re creating a new product category, our message has to be really sticky.”
Brumder deftly summarizes Brandlive’s memorable proposition; “Ecommerce websites are a catalog experience. Chat is inherently limited to one-on-one engagement. Facebook’s timeline gets pretty close, but video does it a lot better. Brandlive provides brands with a one-to-many, live, interactive ecommerce platform. We’re getting closer to satisfying the desire for authentic interaction in a scalable way.” Here’s an example.
I believe success is an everyday process, not an end-state.” (Tweet this)
New Funding, Customers, and Challenges.
While Brandlive has to prove to new customers that it can help engage their communities in novel and meaningful ways, Brumder has to keep his growing staff even more excited.
“In the beginning, company culture took care of itself,” says Brumder. “Now, having tripled our staff, it requires more intention. We have to sustain the energy of startup mode while we put our stamp on this new arena of ecommerce. Everyone must want to be a part of it. That’s why I believe success is an everyday process, not an end-state like selling the business. There are so many milestones before that point.”
“That’s the journey, the process of creating a sustainable company. It’s hard to say which path will make the most sense for us, so we’re just going to adapt, and keep building momentum.”
Make Brandlive History. The 2014 Brandlive awards are coming to Portland’s Jupiter Hotel on February 27, 2014. Before then, cast your votes on the best productions made with Brandlive. Find out more, vote, and RSVP at brandliveawards.com.
This guest post is brought to you by M!ke Russell, principal of Pivotal Writing, LLC in Portland, and copywriter to SaaS businesses everywhere. Follow M!ke on Twitter at @PivotalWriting.