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Small Empires: Vidyard demonstrates the time-honored art of the startup pivot

Small Empires: Vidyard demonstrates the time-honored art of the startup pivot


This Waterloo company started out creating videos, but realized they were better at analyzing other people's clips

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Before there was Vidyard, there was Redwoods Media, a small Canadian startup making marketing videos. Slowly but surely, the company, like so many startups, had to learn two lessons and has come to embrace them over time: being creative is difficult to scale, and they'e actually much better engineers than they are artists.

A lot of Redwood's clients were looking for ways to understand how their videos were performing and why. They wanted to be able to measure the ROI, return on investment, so they could justify the money being spent on these videos, and craft subsequent videos that would have more impact with their customers.

So Redwood began offering its clients a sort of guarantee. We'll help you track how people are watching, and if a certain number of people don't watch through to the end, we'll make your next video for free. As the company got better at helping their clients distribute and analyze what was happening with their videos, they realized the demand for that service was far outstripping demand for them to make new videos.

Instagram began as a way to check in to locations, before pivoting to photos and filters. Fab was a gay social network that became an e-commerce giant. Vidyard went on attend the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator and has been on a tear ever since. It even went through another milestone in the life of a successful startup, turning down acquisition offers from some of the biggest video platforms in the world. "I've learned so much, and we've had so much fun building this business that I don't think we would have had if we took that acquisition offer," said founder and CEO Michael Litt.

From Our Sponsor Inside Small Empires: Vidyard