The Reason For This Startup That Raised $1 Million Stopped at a High School Before Releasing Its App
At South By Southwest, some of guys meet and have an idea for an app and then in Los Angeles, they raise $1 million plus in seed funding and establish shop.
And what happened? To test their app, they go to Midwestern teenagers. It is exactly what Wheel Video co-founder and CEO Paul Boukadakis returned to do to his school, Bishop Kelley High School in Tulsa, Okla. Then, students at his high school live on mobile and can be bought with pizza.
In an interview with Entrepreneur, Boukadakis says “we have taken the concept and we have seeded it in the Midwest. We came back to our roots, and a lot of people on the East and West Coast get first glimpses of products. We wanted to take it back to the Heartland.”
Although Wheel Video, which officially launches an upgraded version of the app in the Apple app store today, is kind of like Snapchat, not collaborative. A user records a video from one to thirty seconds long and then other users can add their own clips to the piece.
Because a second language for teenagers is to communicate with emojis, mobile videos and filtered snaps, perhaps with mobile phones they are the most intuitive age group for creating stories. Until, the teenagers signed off on Wheel Video.
According to Boukadakis says “we have grown from 1 high school to several high schools, between 100 power users from other social media networks and now about 10,000 users in about a month.” Since May, the app has been in stealth mode.
Getting people to download another social media app is no small feat to make sure. However, to help with that, Boukadakis and Chris Shaheen, his technical co-founder, brought in marketing heavyweight Lane Wood. In the past, launch the prestigious non-profit charity was helped by Wood: water and helped increase the trendy eyeglasses company Warby Parker and the augmented networking site Humin.
Wood, who does acknowledge that app fatigue is a real thing, said that “the way you get around it to make sure you make people attract, to ensure the content is really interesting. … This type of interaction is not just another one of something, it is a really unique way to interact.”
As a business, however, to survive Wheel Video needs to impress more than only teenagers. Also needs to impress advertisers, on the platform they need to want to build creative campaigns.
By goliaths like Vimeo, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Facebook, breaking into a market dominated is no small feat, especially for a six-member team that has not made any money as of this time. To replace any of the legacy giants, Boukadakis just sit alongside them, he does not intend according to he says. In his thinking, Wheel Video will be supported by the insatiable desire of teenagers to express themselves online will support.
According to Boukadakis says “these kids want to express a different side of themselves, on different platforms they are doing things and creating a la carte. And in their arsenal for creativity this is that next tool, by this innovation I think it is never ever going to stop. To create through, they are always going to find the next thing.”