CreatorUp co-founder Mike Tringe and his team have created an online platform that teaches how to fund, produce, distribute and monetize online content. We spoke to him about his Los Angeles based startup and the online video space.
Mike Tringe is the co-founder of Los Angeles based CreatorUp. Previously, Mike worked in content partnerships at Blip, creative development at Michael Eisner’s Vuguru, and film finance and sales at CAA. CreatorUp can be followed at @CreatorUp.
Tell us about CreatorUp
CreatorUp is an e-learning platform which trains anyone to make and market their own video content. My co-founder, Sara Akhteh, and I both graduated from USC film school and had been working in the entertainment business for a number of years. We saw the challenge that businesses were having in transitioning their storytelling to the web and so we created a curriculum that helps people create video content from a story telling, production and distribution perspective. After we met some of our students, we learned that the market for learning how to create video content was much larger than film makers. We posted a few live workshops where we really got into the heads of our customer to learn what their challenges were. It was interesting to see how they were creating all kinds of content, whether for their business, non-profit, personal websites, organizations etc. It really transcended our narrative. So what we’ve done over the last four to five months is expand the curriculum to the needs of our customers. In addition to learning how to create online video content, we’ve added courses on a number of related peripheral topics, such as designing your own brand or getting started in social media. We feel that the CreatorUp methodology is unique because of our project based learning model, based on what is was like to learn to make a project in film school. We also provide more hands on help with interactive components where you can interact with teachers through both our platform and Google Hangouts.
What is the market opportunity?
We have started by targeting aspiring filmmakers (an estimated 1M) and YouTubers (1M+ Channel Partners, 500M YouTube Channels), and are looking forward to expanding to a wider market opportunity with the 30M small to medium businesses nationwide looking to build out their video marketing strategies.
What is the business model?
We’re currently structured on an on-demand basis, where a course costs in the range of $20-50. Each course has anywhere from 15-20 lessons which last for 30-120 minutes, depending on depth of the topic. We split the course revenue 50:50 with the teachers. We do expect this model to evolve and are currently exploring a subscription model.
What are some of the courses that have been particularly well received?
People love the courses on “How to Meet Your Crowdfunding Goal” as about 50% of crowdfunding campaigns are film or video related. They also seem to really like the courses on “How to Get Your First 10,000 Views” or “How to Distribute a Web Series.” The information is presented in a way that is fun, offers a step-by-step action plan that’s easy to follow with valuable information, and is challenging to find online in that format. We get a lot of people saying “I wish I would have seen this earlier!”
Tells us about the partnerships you’ve created.
We’re still in the building phase of those relationships. They currently fall into two categories: content distribution and enterprise subscription. On the distribution side, we’re now working with Office Depot. Their e-commerce platform, which is the 6th largest e-commerce platform online, offers our courses as a resource to their customers. This is particularly useful to the corporations as it helps them engage with their customers on a deeper level, rather than simply push product. On the enterprise subscription side, we’ve created a licensing model which is currently being piloted with 1-800-Flowers. They provide the courses to their national network of 8,000 florists to help them grow their businesses. As part of this, we also customized some courses that made sense to their audience. It’s still early days but looking at the bigger picture, we think that across every industry, video is starting to become the defacto medium for communication
Are you planning on providing production services to small businesses?
We certainly plan to partner with teachers and other filmmaker networks to provide these services to small businesses, and we already offer consultations and production services with those teachers as one of the options with certain courses.
What were some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far?
Identifying which courses will be the strongest in terms of demand, and finding key partners to help us build out our marketing channels has been challenging, but we’ve built up some great momentum now and have found some strategies that are working well. We’re starting to work with larger networks and technology partners to help us grow at a good pace.