Answers Served: Poptent’s New CEO Talks Crowdsourcing Video Ads

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conversationADOTAS – Poptent, formerly known as XLNTads, has had a busy week. The social network of 20,000 video auteurs, which uses crowdsourcing to build video ads for online and offline purposes, not only raked in $3 million in Series A funding from MK Capital, it also got a new CEO — Poptent board member and former Kidzui chief Andy Jedynak.

Jedynak took a minute to elaborate on the workings of Poptent and detail the company’s future direction.

ADOTAS: Could you explain the idea of Poptent for a layman like myself?

JEDYNAK: Poptent is a social network that produces crowdsourced videos; that is, connecting top brand advertisers and advertising agencies with 20,000 independent video creators across the U.S,. and more than 80 other countries. Poptent enables the development of high-quality commercials and other video assets at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods for both online and offline use.

Neat, but how exactly does it work?

Poptent has many of the features that you would find in a “traditional” social network like Facebook, with the ability to participate in smaller, more intimate conversations, global discussions, input on one-anothers video creations, critique work on-display, upload edits and additional new versions, and numerous other features.

The Poptent platform allows video creators from all around the U.S. and beyond to collaborate or work independently to produce exceptional-quality video executions for online and offline use. We’re talking broadcast-quality product. Poptent allows creators to develop their own profile or portfolio page to showcase their videos, as well as other media, such as print, scripts and more.

What inspired the company’s creation?

Chairman and founder Rick Parkhill had a talented son who was doing very high quality video at a young age (12-13 years old)… Seeing this inspired him to realize that there was and is a lot of talent out there…thus the establishment of a social network for big brands to harness video talent. Rich remains active with Poptent as chairman and as a very active board member.

How do you differentiate from your competitors?

Poptent is largest in class in terms of clients and size of online network/members, but two companies with somewhat similar offerings are Genius Rocket and Tongal.

To our knowledge, we have done more assignments for more major brands (Fortune 500) with more repeat customers (for example, we have already done six assignments each for Proctor & Gamble and Anheuser Busch) and more total videos produced than all the others combined. We also feel strongly that our quality of production is unmatched.

There are three other important points of differentiation for Poptent:

  1. Having done it (brand and online advertising) ourselves, our direct understanding and client service is superior;
  2. We have in-house social networking experts who lead the charge, building, maintaining and growing our network community. This community of video creators is growing (with 20,000 members) and is active, vibrant, and excited about the process.
  3. We have by far the largest and more robust client list, making us the leader.

Though you just brought home $3 million in funding, is the company profitable?

Poptent is profitable and growing on all fronts, most significantly adding to our network of 20,000 video creators in the U.S. and more than 80 other countries, as well as expanding our base of brand clients. Many factors attribute to our growth, but with a continued sluggish economy, the need to develop high-quality video for online and offline campaigns at a reasonable cost is more important than ever and is partially fueling the company’s rapid growth.

The fact that we have many repeat customers, as well as a rapidly growing base of new customers speaks to the traction we have. Repeat customers include P&G, Callaway, Unilever, Nestle, Anheuser-Busch, and more. We’re also finding that with clients having budgeting challenges in this economy (as 2011 budgets begin to surface), more brands are turning to us than before as an innovative way to marry high quality production and lower cost.

What’s on the horizon for Poptent?

We anticipate more global activity, potentially opening offices in London and elsewhere, all with an eye toward expanding our network to 70,000-90,000 creators in two years. In three years, we look toward doing 20-40 assignments per month.

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