While Europe might be mired in economic problems, a growing entrepreneurial community still exists. Just look at Scott Button. Based in the U.K., he sold ad-serving operator Connextra in 2006. That same year, he launched another company — Unruly Media — and currently serves as its CEO. Unruly Media recently snagged $25 million in funding, and I had a chance to interview Button about his entrepreneurial efforts:
Q: So, you bootstrapped the company?
A: Yes, I sold my prior company and invested about $500,000 in Unruly Media. This was deliberate because of the advantages of discipline and rigor. I also wanted to be independent and have the agility to experiment. But now with our funding, we can go into “execution mode” and max out. We’ll also benefit from the help of our investors, who have backgrounds in scaling companies.
Q: What was the vision when you started the company?
A: We knew that there would be an intersection of video and social sharing. So we built a platform called RAMP (Real-time Amplification and Measurement Platform), which helps to distribute and analyze social video campaigns. The system has a reach of 725 million people across 74 countries. We work primarily with large brands, such as Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS), adidas and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO).
Q: What works when it comes to social videos?
A: Humor and shock videos can get lots of traffic, but they are hard to do. Instead, brands have a better success rate by focusing on content that has positive emotions. It’s the warm-and-fuzzy kind of videos.
Major brands are also starting to make the kinds of investments they typically do for national TV campaigns. But there is much more flexibility since the videos do not have to be 30 seconds long. A social video can be a short film.
Q: How big is the market opportunity for social videos?
A: We think it can be $100 billion. But it will take time. It could easily take a decade.
Q: What about the start-up environment in Europe?
A: There are ecosystems developing in London and Berlin. It is much more vibrant than, say, five years ago. A key has been a change in culture, such as with the investors, advisers and entrepreneurs. The debt crisis has had an impact, but it is mostly a change in sentiment from buoyancy to uncertainty. But it is not pessimistic.
Tom Taulli runs the InvestorPlace blog IPO Playbook, a site dedicated to the hottest news and rumors about initial public offerings. He also is the author of “All About Short Selling” and “All About Commodities.” Follow him on Twitter at @ttaulli. As of this writing, he did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.