Marketers now know that videos are more important than ever. Why not? Even a short video, as small as 30 seconds, can influence consumers’ choices. Headquartered in Florida, US, Sparxoo has already established itself as a digital marketing leader in the art of creating videos. While the CEO of leading Inc. 5000 award winner Sparxoo and its sister company, a fully integrated video production firm, David Capece felt something was lacking in the project management and collaboration software market. In a sea of sameness, none were built for the challenges of agencies and creative teams. He shares, “There were existing software solutions in the market, but they all seemed to be missing collaboration built for the creative and video production industries.”
The thought of streamlining creative and video production collaboratively led to the creation of CROOW – a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform designed to offer on-demand video production services with a streamlined process from scriptwriting, studio time, to final delivery. “CROOW was started in a whiteboard session of Sparxoo and creative production challenges that presented a series of unmet needs in the market. While still running the agency, we decided to self-fund an initial USD $30,000 to get to an MVP and market perspective. Then another USD $30,000 to get to an alpha,” recounts David. In just nine months from its conceptualization, David and his team decided to spin out CROOW and continue self-funding to get to beta. He adds, “At 15 months and USD $150,000 of investment, we brought the beta to six prospective investors for their feedback.”
CROOW spent the first 2.5 years simply getting to market, generating initial revenue, and demonstrating initial traction. David says, “In month 31, we held a few prospective investor meetings, and the feedback was that we were ready and should go out to market for our seed round.” By the end of the 31st month, since CROOW was conceived as an idea, the team had a market launch of Alpha, Beta, and eight paying customers who provided positive feedback. David created a full-time team of four, a fractional team of two experts, and an advisor team of three. They were also accelerated through leading startup hub Embarc Collective as they ultimately self-funded the initial USD $600,000. In month 32, the team went to the market to raise a seed round, which was oversubscribed, bringing CROOW’s total capital infusion to over USD $1 million. CROOW has expanded its product across multiple markets as it penetrates the video market.
What is CROOW?
CROOW is a creative project management software built to enable clients, agencies, and in-house marketing teams to streamline processes, get approvals moving, centralize access to files and assets, and improve communication. It is an innovative platform that allows creating studio-quality video for digital marketing at a fraction of the cost. The brand is envisioned as the next generation of software that can help businesses overcome challenges and accelerate growth. “The platform is designed in a way that helps businesses unite teams, automate processes, and deliver profitable work. It is much more than a project management tool. It is a performance management platform with everything needed to run a creative or service-based business,” explains David.
CROOW’s platform is designed to increase the efficiency of creative and video production. It is primarily categorized into three concepts. The first concept is that creative and video teams have distinct project collaboration and management styles (the market solution is CROOWpm). Second, as video consumption increases, there is large demand for low-cost, streamlined video production at high quality (the market solution is CROOW Studio). Third, exceptional agencies and production talent want to maximize their creative and technical abilities while minimizing the friction of time-wasting low-value tasks (the market solution is CROOW Studio).
The uniqueness of CROOW lies in the fact that they have tailored their software to meet the needs of the creative and production industries. CROOW has been involved in several pivotal projects along the way. It was the first project that led to CROOW’s approval. For a creative request, Sparxoo and one of its clients went through 11 rounds of revision. “The industry standard is the original exploration plus two rounds of revision, and usually you are high-fiving if you keep it to one round of revision, and you are tolerant of 3 rounds of revision,” says David.
Nevertheless, 11 revision rounds are demoralizing and a significant time and financial waste. David adds, “When we debriefed after the 11 rounds of revision, we discussed issues including the client changing their mind many times, our team missing some of the specific feedback, and confusion on the feedback.” They also lost track of the history of feedback in endless email chains at some point during the 11 rounds of revision. That inspired CROOW’s first collaboration tool for creative review and approvals to streamline the process within a project management enviroment.
The Delighted Clients
CROOW Studio is used by marketers, executives, and leaders for high-quality productions made painlessly simple. For instance, Savills North America, one of the world’s largest commercial real estate brokerage firms, used CROOW Studio for digital short videos to drive a spike in engagement on LinkedIn. Topics ranged from perspectives on the industry to the unique product differentiators. They achieved more LinkedIn engagement in 24 hours than in the previous 90 days. Jess Johnson, Executive Vice President, Knowledge Cubed, Savills North America, later said, “I’ve been waiting for the best time to post one of the CROOW videos, which was this morning. In less than an hour, I’ve had multiple prospects (and competitors!) connect with me on LinkedIn. Clearly the right message, clearly the right packaging. Great engagement from the community – you’re onto something!”
The case study of SpotOn Digital, a CROOW+ agency partner, is even more enjoyable. David explains, “As an innovative and progressive digital agency, SpotOn understands the value of engaging content. With so much content in the archive, the team sought to resurrect and expand the use of popular thought leadership blogs. To demonstrate their process, values, and value to the audience, the company used videos to outline and revive shelved content while speaking to prospective clients.” Due to the one-on-one nature of a digital short, Robyn Spoto, owner of SpotON, could establish trust with the viewer. Indeed, trust is essential for a boutique agency like SpotOn. Robyn commented, “Great engaging content shouldn’t sit on the shelf. It was invigorating to dust off highly read blogs to curate on video and redistribute everywhere – recycling useful content at its finest. And it was so much fun to be in the studio!”
Building a Culture of Innovation
CROOW has established the following five early values as a relatively new company. David says, “We believe this is the start of building a great culture for our organization.”
Those 5 values are:
Grow Forward – Take the initiative to lead with a growth mindset, forging ahead to reach beyond one’s comfort zone and persevering forward.
Empower Collaboration – Create client success by integrating technology, relationships, and processes.
Brighten Humankind – Build meaningful relationships by embracing diversity with a positive attitude.
Own Results – Take responsibility for the outcomes by facing obstacles, executing on the details, and achieving exceptional results.
Bring Energy – Work together as a team, bring passion and energy every day, and have fun.
David lives up to their “Unite & Conquer” tagline, as they unite before moving forward with accountability to their own results. David mentions, “As a startup, we have innovation and entrepreneurship in the DNA of our team. We encourage ideas and positivity. That being said, we also realize that executing and making progress is important. One thing I learned from a former colleague is about “eating your frogs.” There is a productivity mindset, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first,” which is passed down through Mark Twain.”
CROOW was created to become a global market leader. In keeping with their roots in Tampa Bay, they rolled out their initial CROOW Studio pilot there. After six months of success and learning, they expanded to Philadelphia and Atlanta. The company is expanding across markets in the United States, with additional geographies on the horizon. “We are revolutionizing the creative and video production industry with a mission to enable better collaboration and remove wasted effort. Our flagship product, CROOW Studio, is trusted by the next generation of industry leaders to deliver high-quality video cost-effectively and timely,” David concludes.
For More Info: https://croow.com/