Gary Vaynerchuk and the founders of Eight TV, Leon Crutchley & Chris Knight, on Planet of the Apps.

Mobile QVC without leaving your bed.

Our investment in Eight TV.

Have you ever wanted to star in your own show? Have you ever wanted to start your own store? On Eight TV, anyone can start their own TV Shopping Channel, anytime and anywhere.

At Lightspeed, we like to invest in an inherent consumer behavior with a technology layer over it. The insight here…the analog version is watching QVC and HSN. And the mobile-first version for shopping similar items is Eight TV. It is a shopping network with thousands of shopping TV shows made by people all around the world, often from the comfort of their own home.

Eight TV makes it just so simple to start your own mobile shopping channel. You can do your own product review and broadcast it on Eight TV in under 1 minute (compared to the 1–2 hours that it usually takes to get something up on YouTube).

On Eight TV, users can record 1 minute stories about any product they love (or hate), and then hover the phone near the product to magically make it instantly able to be shopped for in the app. The Eight TV app already recognizes over 100 million products, and the team is working with the most cutting-edge consumer-driven brands in the world to create the next generation of shopping TV shows. Many of the most popular teen YouTubers already create shows on Eight TV, including Fiona Frills, Emily Lee, Yung Poppy, and Mel Joy, along with thousands of other “bedroom TV creators”.

Eight TV’s co-founders, Leon and Chris, are video-makers themselves. They are focused on enabling anyone to create their own TV shopping channel and make fun video reviews that are easy to shop. They’ve thought a lot about the content that will really resonate with their core customer, and we are excited about their deep understanding of Gen Z and Millennials.

We are very excited to be investors in Eight TV, and to watch Leon and Chris unveil Eight TV to the masses on this week’s episode of Planet of the Apps on Apple Music.

Leon and Chris talk about where they see Eight TV headed today: Bedroom TV comes to Hollywood. And I recently asked Leon and Chris a few questions about how their backgrounds influenced them as founders, how they got the idea for Eight TV, the benefits of diversity, and last but not least, what it was like partnering with Gary Vaynerchuk.

Nicole: What’s your background and how did it inform your idea for your app?

Leon: Beyond apps my passion has always been movies and video. I wrote my first screenplay in college in London and have worked on multiple indie short films over the years. I got into app development after winning a Pepsi video competition back in 2010.

Chris: I’m a designer by trade and throughout my career I have been lucky enough to experience all forms of design, web, branding, photography, videography marketing campaigns, UI, UX, you name it, I’ve done it and done it for some of the world’s biggest brands such as Stella Artois, Conde Nast, Harrods, Chevrolet and UEFA. I have been building apps since the release of the very first iPhone. So the combination of building apps, helping brands sell products, and filming TV ads all led up to creating Eight TV. It’s in my DNA.

Nicole: How did you get the idea for this app?

Chris & Leon: There was never a big plan to start a video company. We were just helping friends out recording videos for their YouTubes. But we noticed over and over again they’d be talking about products somewhere in their videos. We just wanted to find an easier way to let them do that.

Nicole: Who are you targeting with Eight TV?

Chris & Leon: Our initial idea was to target up-and-coming amateur YouTubers, but the app has exploded in popularity with teenage girls so we’re making sure it works well for them too!

Nicole: What benefit do you provide that’s relevant to the customer and their pain?

Chris & Leon: 93% of teenage girls watch YouTube primarily for product reviews, but hardly any actually make them, because of the time and effort required to make the videos and get subscribers. We make it easy for those 93% to make product reviews, not just watch them. And many Youtubers already have more followers on eight than they do on YouTube so something’s working!

Nicole: What was it like to work with your celebrity mentor?

Chris & Leon: Gary’s an absolute legend! A lot of people know him as Mr Hustle, Mr Grind. Yes he is all that but he also has an unbelievable business mind. We got to see the visionary side of him. He instinctively saw what our business was and what it looks like 5 years down the road. And he was ready to fight with us to make it happen.

Nicole: What does diversity mean to you?

Chris & Leon: Diversity has always and will always be in our DNA. Our team is evenly split male/female, we’re nearly all immigrants, and between us we represent Cuba, Spain, Australia, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, UK, Portugal and Sweden! Our first break with a major brand came when Iman, one of the most powerful diversity advocates in the country personally took a chance on us to create a video campaign celebrating the diversity of women’s skin tones. Diversity is critical and our company would’t work without it. We like to think our team’s diverse DNA can be seen in our product.

Nicole: What founders do you admire?

Chris & Leon: Honestly we’re continually impressed by the teenage founders on our own platform. Fiona Frills is an absolute inspiration- 14 years old and her own thriving beauty business. Wow. Likewise Emily Lee and Mel Joy are inspiring millions of young women across the country every day to take control of their lives and become their own bosses. Iman at Iman Cosmetics has been a huge inspiration too.

Nicole: What’s your ultimate goal for your company?

Chris & Leon: Give millions of people a new way to build their own business through their own video shopping channel.

Nicole: What’s the most valuable piece of professional advice you have received?

Leon: When we started out, I remember my Stephanie’s dad saying, if you can’t ride three horses at once, you shouldn’t be in the circus. Whenever things are hard I remember that!

Chris: No one at the “top” is anything special. They’re just the same as you and me.

Nicole: What kind of culture do you/your business thrive in?

Chris & Leon: Creative chaos. You need to embrace and love chaos before you can find any patterns in it.

Leon Crutchley.
Chris Knight.

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