“The three co-founders of Viddyoze are basically all introverts,” was Joey Xoto’s opening line to a room full of judges at this year’s Northern Tech Awards.
Flanked by one of his business partners Jamie Garside, he continued with an apology: “Our fellow co-founder David Chamberlain was meant to have done this presentation, but he’s got COVID – so it’s just us. Sorry.”
Fast forward a few hours and Xoto and Garside were walking off stage at Leeds’ New Dock venue clutching the Judges’ Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Northern Tech Awards 2021.
“It’s the first award we’ve ever won,” admitted Garside modestly afterwards. “Mind you, it’s also the first award we’ve ever entered. We prefer to keep our heads down and work on our products.”
If you prefer your tech entrepreneurs to be brash, fast-talking salespeople then the three co-founders of the SaaS-based animation firm won’t be for you – which is just how they like it.
The trio launched the business after recognising that video content was only accessible to companies with big budgets. Their technology enables people to create and use their own video animation in three clicks and at a fraction of the cost.
Viddyoze’s soft launch in September 2015 was with 30 templates – and generated $500,000 revenue in four days.
The templates were typically 6-30 seconds long and customers could embed their logo and message into the animation in three clicks. It’s proved a winning formula.
Today the company has 180,000 users worldwide, 2,000+ templates and 70 staff around the globe – and all without receiving a penny of investment.
Viddyoze’s growth rate of 67% put them in 16th place in the Northern Tech Awards’ list of the 100 fastest-growing tech companies in the North of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Garside puts their success down to the relationship between the three co-founders and remaining true to themselves.
“We are definitely introverts but we’re also busy building a business and working on our products,” he says. “It’s important not to get too distracted.
“I’m not a complete introvert. I think there’s an element of shyness there. I host webinars with thousands of our users without a script and don’t have a problem. I feel at home then, but stick me in a room with 30 strangers and it’s a completely different proposition.
“I think that’s the same for Joey and David too. It’s not something that comes natural to us.
“If I’m working on a product I can go a whole day without speaking to anyone else.”
Garside describes himself as the ‘most conservative’ of the three co-founders and the most risk-averse.
“Joey is the biggest risk-taker of the three of us and probably the biggest optimist,” he says. “I err on the side of being pessimistic while David is somewhere in the middle.
“I think if any one of us was an extrovert then the dynamic between the three of us wouldn’t work as well.
“We’ve all collectively just kept our heads down and focused on building the product. Although we’re similar, we all bring something different to the business and that helps us make better decisions.”
Chamberlain and Xoto have spoken publicly about their battle with depression and Garside says it’s important to stay authentic.
“We launched Viddyoze in 2015 and we’ve grown while continuing to stay true to ourselves,” he says.
One of the attractions of Viddyoze’s technology is it can integrate with a client’s data to create personalised content to scale.
Xoto believes winning the Judges’ Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award was a validation of their approach to running a business.
“We’re a three-person entrepreneur and work collaboratively so it’s a fitting award to win,” he says.