We talked to Angus Lancaster, founder and CEO at CelebVM about personal video message platform and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Angus Lancaster: Doing very well and trying to eat healthy and vegan and get as much exercise and fresh air as possible
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded CelebVM.
Angus Lancaster: I came up with and developed the original idea from scratch and started the company in 2013.
I saw that many people wanted selfies with celebrities, but most were not able to, and the celebrities could only randomly pick a few fans to do selfies with before rushing off.
So I decided to come up with a much fairer, easier, and mutually beneficial way for celebrities and fans to interact with each other while also allowing the celebrities to raise money for charities, generate income for themselves, and make many more fans happy by giving them a very memorable and magical moment that they could keep forever. I created the idea, systems, the website, and the APP for celebrities to record the videos before even meeting with any celebrities. When everything was ready and tested, I stood outside some theatres to approach my first few celebrities about the idea, and they loved it, immediately made money, and could immediately see how easy and fun it was for them while making many fans very happy. These celebrities quickly spread the word and introduced their celebrity friends (we offer a 5% lifetime commission for introducing celeb friends/contacts).
How does CelebVM innovate?
Angus Lancaster: I constantly speak with celebrities and fans to improve and make everyone’s experience better. Always tweaking and improving something.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Angus Lancaster: Our revenue has increased by 1065% in the last 12 months alone and continuing to rise, we are constantly being approached by new celebrities and with new opportunities.
More and more celebrities are starting to use the platform to raise money for charities also.
Did you have to make difficult choices?
Angus Lancaster: I have self-funded everything myself and created everything in a very simple way so that the site almost runs itself, so I haven’t had very many difficult choices to make.
I have had some offers to invest or buy the business, and turning those offers down was kind of a difficult choice. The right deal hasn’t come along yet, but with the right buyer/investor, we could do a great deal more and disrupt even more of the celebrity/fan space.
What are the lessons learned?
Angus Lancaster: I have, of course, learned many lessons, including knowing when to take a break and step back when needed, when not to take things so seriously, and not get stressed over any problems that may come along. I have mainly learned just to enjoy the experience and trust myself.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Angus Lancaster: I always refer to the books ‘Stop Thinking Start Living’ and ‘Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff’ by Richard Carlson.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Angus Lancaster: Every year, new copycat competitors usually come and go (many have long gone/started to disappear despite large amounts of funding and big pushes).
Originally I was worried about competitors and thought that they would easily wipe me out; however, I have found quite the opposite.
The competitors have massively helped me; for example, they would start up, recruit some celebrities, fall out with the celebrities or close down, and then the celebrities would join CelebVM.
I am amazed that the competitors have done very little if anything different to my platform and simply copied almost every aspect with little to no positive innovation.
I don’t believe that anyone can compete with us because we already have everything working so well, we have very low overheads, we pay the celebs more than any other platform (up to 85% compared to 75% or even less), we pay the celebs instantly for every video that they record and we give them a 5% lifetime commission for introducing other celebrities. We are the original and the best!
Your final thoughts?
Angus Lancaster: This is just the beginning, and this is just a tiny part of my vision for fan/celebrity interactions, and I am very excited about the future.
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