Following Craft: Our First Try At Sharing Our Startup Journey
In the name of transparency
This article is part of our new monthly series, where we share the status of our business and lifes around Craft — The Art of Visual Storytelling.
Our hope is to give you, our great community, a sense of what is going on behind the scenes. #ShareYourProcess preaching practiced.
The State of Play
The Craft community is now 450 person strong, and we will soon be joined by 300 students from The Animation Workshop who purchased Craft for their educational program. Stat time, put on your glasses: 93% of everyone who signs up is active the month after and 13% of you are active at a given day. We use those stats to see if we’re actually creating content that makes you want to stick around.
There is a bit of a dry-spell content wise as we’re ramping up in our beta, but we’re happy you’re sticking around. We got things in store for you onwards, big promise!
We already love ‘Loving Vincent’
In July Co-founder Frederik and his wife Anna (who also works on Craft by doing upcoming video interviews for Craft) went to Gdansk to visit the studios of BreakThru Films and their exciting project Loving Vincent — a fully oil painted animation feature film that has gotten great publicity so far. The place was beaming with creativity from the individual booths of the artists perfecting the Van Gogh style oil paintings for the film.
The first batch from Loving Vincent will be live on Craft very soon with continous updates from the production. You should head over and follow the production from their official site and Twitter as well.
We will be going back to the studio to do in-depth interviews and get a better understanding of how a film like this was financed, managed, the creative process and why one starts with such an insane project! hah.
August will also see the be-a-utiful Academy Award-nominated Alê Abreu ‘Boy and the World’ and the sweet BreakThru animation short ‘Magic Piano’. One of the things we will have to perfect is when to announce new projects. We are eager to tell everyone, whenever a project is signed, yet we don’t want everyone to feel it’s taking forever to get it online.
This has lead us to create “slots” internally, in which projects can be filled. We’re aiming for a minimum of 2 new major projects each month, meaning two slots in which we can plan it more strategically and therefore also market it more timely with you, the community.
Hopefully this means a better momentum for announcements.
Budgetting for startup life
Craft is coming along great. But we’re not afloat just yet. We are discussing whether or not to bootstrap it for another 6 months (been going since January 2015) and opt out off venture capital. It’s been fun to start talking to investors, but generally we are in between two stages, seed and an A round, which leaves us in an odd place. If we can bootstrap it a bit further, we are in a stronger position to get venture capital without giving over too many percentages.
We are looking for Venture capital to scale up and make a better experience for you. The capital will be used mainly on hiring a CTO to develop new ways of exploring the content on Craft. We want to make you able to ‘peel off’ layers on your iPad, to have video Q&A sessions with the creators around their content, to make your art-of books augmented reality ready so the art is expanded into a digital layer (say what). And much more. As we are unable to do this ourselves we need a CTO and funding. Come that time, KAPOW!
A bit of makeup
We’re doing a bit of renovating around the site. While we are generally happy with it, improvements will be constant — as time allows.
A new bit is our new landing page, that now connotes more ‘film’ and ‘cinematic’ and less like we’re an app. Our conversion rate, that means the percentage of the people visiting the site signing up, is 1.7% which is a bit too low.
We realise it takes trust to sign up to something you haven’t experienced yet. You really need to understand it, want it and trust us. The key in this is a landing page that balances all three. This takes practice, feedback and understanding the community, which we’re striving to do every day.
Finally, we have experimented with new ways of looking at the content; Progression pages, progression reels and video playlists. It’s our first attempt so bear with us. Hopefully though, they give you a sense of how a scene came about in a different way than comparing images or looking at single videos.
We will be rolling many more out, but want to make sure that you like the format before spending the ever-so-precious time that we could be using on other stuff that helps you understand how the awesome content creators came from A to Z.
Thank you for sticking around in July as well — we’re looking forward to share new content and time with you in August. See you in the chat bubble *waves*.
— Anything you’d like us to work on in August? Let us know :)
Emil — Co-founder and Creative Director of Craft.