Backed by HTG ventures and The Reuben Brothers, FightMe is a video challenge app which allows people to challenge each other through 30 second videos similar to last year’s ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’. With partners such as former boxing champion David Haye, champion freerunner Tim Sheiff and surfer Sophie Hellyer, FightMe allows people to engage in new ways through the growing medium that is online video.
What is FightMe?
FightMe. The best 30 second challenges from around the world
Users, brands and charities can create challenges to raise awareness and engagement with causes and campaigns or simply create great social video content.
“FightMe. The best 30-second challenges from around the world. Challenge and nominate your friends. Don’t just make another video, start a movement.”
How it works:
We are part of the new wave of platforms that break down the barrier between brands and users. Rather than users interacting with brands merely through likes or comments, we empower both brand and user by providing deeper participation via video challenges.
We focus on real social interactions by inviting people to ‘join in’ using the power of a challenge supported by nominations. This is about inspiring others to join a challenge that reflects the voice of a brand, charity, or user.
We are providing a new way to directly engage with target audiences, followers and friends.
FightMe is curated through community leader boards – all videos are ranked by applause, where the best content rises to the top. Users are also prompted to nominate their friends, which encourages direct engagement.
This is what we believe is the future of ‘real’ social interaction.
Marketing Phase 1 – Master Creator and Brand Partnerships
In the past year, we have worked with various niche brands and Master Creators including Alibi drinks, Revive Skateboards, 1 Face Watch, Slick Willies and master creators including Tim Shieff, Kie Willis, and David Haye to name a few. When these partnerships have been in action there has been an increase in user acquisition and weekly active users in comparison to when partnerships have not been in action.
The primary target for FightMe has been the urban youth market aged 16- 25-year-old, whose interests are in music, extreme sports, arts, comedy or are opinion lead. We know that these users are content creators who are looking for a place to express their talents and interact with their peers.
Our focus for 2.0 is with key influencers (Master Creators) and brands relevant to its core target market. Brands and influencers will run campaigns on FightMe with the purpose of engaging with their existing audience and drawing them back to the app to participate in the campaigns. We have found this to be the most successful acquisition strategy to date to gain new users. As mentioned, when these partnerships have been in action there has been an increase in user acquisition and weekly active users in comparison to when partnerships have not been in action.
We will leverage brands and master creators as an initial user acquisition source and later a revenue source.
The strength of a partner is measured on an ‘Influencer Score Matrix’ created internally by our marketing team. The matrix is a way to asses brand and Master Creator influence based on their existing social media influence against the potential user acquisition numbers. The matrix tracks potential partners on a scale of 1-6 depending on their social status and influence, 1 being the lowest influence and 6 being the highest, with a different fee being applied to each level. The matrix is a way to define the worth of a partner and what we will gain from the partnership and provides a basis to track campaign success.
We are currently working with a number of Master Creators who range from level 1 to 6 on our Influencer Score Matrix. These include Champion Free runner Timothy Shieff, skateboarder Doug Des Autels, dancer Lizzie Gough, surfer Sophie Hellyer and online personality Ben Phillips to name a few.
For the release of 2.0 we are looking to work with a range of brands including the charity PETA to run campaigns, setting challenges to their existing networks and databases.
Alongside our marketing strategy, we believe the Master Creator and brand partnerships will drive forward the FightMe experience, adding millions of users throughout 2015.
Product to Date
During 2014 we decided to re-architect the product to better serve our mission in two ways:
- A challenge based structure
- An engine of growth based on nominations.
We believe in lean product development; building features based on user data and facts rather than guesswork. This requires a balance of research, just-in-time delivery and excellent communication and we feel we’ve mastered this blend in the last year.
Development Roadmap 2015
The immediate updates for 2.0 will be an improved record journey including upload from camera roll, larger and better quality videos (with a smaller load time) and a stream to catch your friends’ latest activities.
- Private (non-public) challenges
- Android release
- Website updates and re-release
- On-boarding with challenge creation and viral elements
- Tighter address book integration
- Nominations Stats (Gamifcation)
- Brand, VIP profiles
- Optimised UX
- ‘Invite only’ challenges
- Premium services
We are looking at revenue streams based on monetising our users content and social influence. Brands are interested in working with ‘stars‘ to tap into their highly engaged fan base and we will act as the ‘broker’ for these deals, acting as the middle man between brands and creators to form these partnerships. FightMe will take a percentage profit from these brand partnerships. This model has proven successful with other video networks such as Vine.
Currently the team is focused on growing audience engagement and retention before switching on monetisation streams. This is a common model seen across social sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, the latter of whom has yet to fully switch on a revenue stream, despite a multi-billion dollar valuation. We will monetise our highly engaged audience through a number of different revenue streams including games, competitions, in-app purchases, advertising and official brand accounts. Below are some revenue streams that will generate early revenue through 2015 and 2016, whilst aggressive user acquisition activity is progressing. The app is expected to start generating significant revenues in 2016, and become profitable in 2017, as the global user base expands and more revenue streams are activated.
Brand Partnerships and Sponsorships
As mentioned earlier, brand sponsorship campaigns and partnerships offer a monetization opportunity. Based on the growing interest from brands in the online and mobile video space and the increase in marketing spend that brands have to allocate on this area, we will be able to tap into this potential source of revenue. Based on previous discussions and partnerships with brands, FightMe could charge anything from £5k per campaign for small brands to £50k for bigger brands to use the platform as a source of promotion.
We have already had early stage discussions about brand partnerships with one of the largest game show networks in the US who specialise in digital cable and satellite television channels.
Premium Subscription Fees
Just like other online platforms that focus on social, we can offer official accounts that will become available and will be charged for. The premium services will include detailed reporting on how users behave across social channels, improved promotional tools, better in-app visibility and access to viral features.
With a captive user base of talent, we believe many leading brands will find that access to the Fightme.com community creates a strong value proposition for research and development, advertising, and product launches. The recent growth in niche sites represents the value of highly specific audiences and highly innovative marketing platforms for marketers. As a result, companies have already begun to partner with these niche sites to appeal to their desired customer base, as seen during the Superbowl where McDonalds & Mountain Dew worked with Snapchat. With so many marketers in the playing field, we believe the niche market will be a lucrative one, and that market-sponsored niche social networking sites will be standard practice in the marketing plans of large corporations. The Fightme platform will also offer the entertainment and music industries a great opportunity to promote their latest styles, newest films, television shows, albums and books. A mix of display and performance based advertising will be present across the website but primarily in the open forums and editorial sections, where there are more potential users.
We have raised £1.1m to date from a mixture of high-calibre angel and institutional investors (see people section). These funds have been used to build version 1.0 and 2.0 of the product, as well as the development of a marketing strategy and team.
We are now looking to raise a further £400,000 to expand the content offering of FightMe through a heavily increased marketing spend focused on Master Creator acquisition as well as expanding into the US market. Funds will also be used to roll out key features in 2015 and the hiring of new team members.
FightMe provides a platform for advertisers to promote their brands, or products in a non-intrusive way to consumers. This is done in two ways through in app advertising to users and through banner ads on external websites. The in app advertising provides both the brands and consumer with a native approach to advertising; the brand can serve content and products to the users that doesn’t disturb their natural user journey. A second way that this can be done is through external advertising on websites, which is served to users based on their interests. For example, a Facebook user who is interested in sports could be served a Nike advert is their feed, this would give users the ability to be able to win free Nike products by clicking on the ad. This ad clicks through to Nike FightMe brand page where the user can participate in the challenge easily from their Facebook to FightMe page in one easy step.
Market Opportunity – Online video “it’s only getting started”
In recent years interest in online video has increased, specifically using mobile video as a platform for greater social connection and relationships.
Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz shared their 16 tech trends for 2015, online video being one of these. They stated,
“It’s only getting started now”.
“…Leading platforms are entering the market. Facebook and Twitter have both launched serious video efforts that appear to be targeting YouTube. Both have the potential to generate distribution and ad sales that can rival YouTube/Google. And in Facebook’s case, it could potentially change the video advertising game altogether and impact ad spend overall. Remember the Thank You Mom ad by P&G? Or the Ice Bucket Challenge from this summer? What we do know is that online video is far from done… so it will be interesting to see what even a little competition will do here.” – Jeff Jordan, Partner at Andreessen Horowitz
FightMe provides a platform for users & brands to interact via video in a new way, not only showcasing their talents, opinions, products or interests but interacting directly with others users based on a structure of nominations and join-ins. Users and brands can gain direct feedback and input from others by participating in their challenges through a more personal medium of video.
The interest in online video finds further support from Trendwatching.com. In their 2015 trend report they mention that“social connections forged with total and immediate liquidity will see explosive growth in 2015, as a wider variety of people embrace services that enable them to not only flirt with, but also work alongside, eat, travel or stay with, compete against both friends and strangers…But behind all that lies one of the deepest human impulses of all: the sharing of experiences, interests and values with others.
These connections are a key part of how human beings construct meaning in their lives, and – fleeting or lasting – they are easier to make than ever before.”
As well as providing greater social connection for users, online video has seen a growing interest from advertisers. ReelSEO reported that marketing agencies will spend 83% more on their video advertising campaigns in 2014 than they did in 2013 and 31% of brands pulling funds from broadcast TV advertising to invest in video advertising, a 19% increase from last year. This shows the value that advertisers are now placing on online video and the impact that they know this has on potential consumers. We provide a platform for advertisers to promote their brands, or products, in a non- intrusive way to consumers. Brands can use the platform to create challenges and promote these to their network and reach out to new consumers via FightMe. Brands will be promoted via in app and advertising to interested potential consumers to not disrupt the user experience and flow. With native advertising, brands have the opportunity to provide brand safe environments for advertisers and brand context. FightMe provides this space, allowing brands to promote through this manner, gaining an organic in-app presence. Users will be served brand challenges through the Explore section of the app and through in-app notifications.
Users can be highly targeted and segmented into various demographics and interests.
We launched FightMe at the end 2013 with the aim of being the first to market in the video challenge app space. At this time there was no direct competition that we were aware of, but we have seen many similar video based apps appear in the last six months. These new platforms coincided with the viral sensation of the ice bucket challenge, which we feel further cemented that there was a need for challenge-based apps.
FightMe v.1 was based on a hashtag structure, which proved difficult to track in terms of collating and discovering challenges to join into. The app pivoted 8 months ago to reflect a clear challenge and nominate structure.
Some of the competitors that have surfaced since then are Blend, VidiBee, Mettle and Horse. Many of these apps mirror FightMe v.1’s old challenge structure. We know that we are a year ahead of these competitors. Not only has the year been a great investment into technology, research, endorsement and marketing but also in terms of the community- generated content we already have that is being repackaged into the new challenge structure and being promoted to new users.
Founders & Management – FightMe has built what we consider is a market-leading team from the likes of Skype, Lulu app, SocialPoint, PKR, Yazino, BBC, Sony PlayStation, The Cuckoo Club and TVcatchup. We have a wealth of experience in both the music and tech industries.
Jamie Lorenz – Chairman & Founder
A serial entrepreneur, Jamie has a history as an active investor in numerous start-up businesses including creative and digital agency Me:Mo Interactive and 3D poker website, PKR. Jamie is also the founder of members-only nightspot ‘The Cuckoo Club’ in London,
Joelle Hadfield – CEO & Co-founder
Joelle has been part of the digital start-up space for the last six years. She ran a family catering business and spent several years working for luxury fashion brands. She gained a wealth of relevant experience consulting and working within the product, brand, marketing and communication departments for several startups including the gaming website Yazino and was the head of PR and communications for social networking app, Lulu.
Derrick Grant – UX, Design & Product Lead
Derrick was only a 6ft1 8 year old when his love of design blossomed into an obsession. After decades of honing his skills making interactive experiences he’s now product manager at FightMe. He has worked for Sky, Skype, BBC, Sony Playstation, Comic Relief and Ogilvy to name a few.
Albert Piero – CTO – Android Specialist
Albert lives and breaths social and video startups. He co-founded a geo-location driven social network and a photo sharing app. He built a wealth of experience at video streaming agency SimpleStream (MTV, National Geographic, Box Nation) and was the first developer to help bootstrap SocialPoint – now one of the biggest social mobile game developers.
Rachel Cheal – CFO
Qualified chartered accountant spent 15 years working in strategic and commercial finance positions specialises in start-ups she has worked for Arthur Andersen, Deloitte, Warner Bros, Turner Broadcasting, TigerSpike, Music choice & Lulu app.
David Reuben Junior, of Reuben Brothers Ltd. A leader in private equity, real estate investments, development, and venture capital.
HTG Ventures, a private equity and venture capital firm specializing in startup, early stage, and growth capital investments.
Indoo Sella di Monteluce, who manages the sports investment fund Global 11 and is one of the Tate’s talented Young Patrons.
Daniel & Raph Khalili, investors in Yahoo-acquired Summly.
Kamran Mahdavi– Angel Investor
David Haye – is a British professional and world Champion Boxer.
Tim Shieff – British Parkour Champion
Key sales drivers: Brand campaign revenues are based on conversations we have already had with brands around how much they would be willing to pay per campaign. Campaign volumes are based on a number that would generate good revenues whilst not overcrowding the product with branding.
Other sales drivers: Premium subscription revenues are based on the assumption that 1-2% of the user base (predominantly brands and talent) will pay for access to premium tools such as bespoke profile creation, user behaviour data, profile promotion and so on). Advertising revenues are based on average market CPMs
USE OF FUNDS:
Funds will mainly be used in two ways: (i) full launch of the Master Creator marketing campaign to attract both brands and users to the product; (ii) further development of the product and launch of new features
EXPENSES AND PROFITABILITY:
Expenses: The largest expense category is our team – mostly developers and marketing experts. In addition, to that we need to ensure we have a marketing budget sufficient to support a team of Master Creators.
Profits: As with most social video networks, the early stages are all about development of the product and then marketing that product to drive a significant user base before beginning to monetise that base.
EXISTING DEBT OR EQUITY INVESTMENTS:
Equity: Existing equity amounts to £1,169K (including the £90K raised in March 2015)
Current cash burn is currently £46k per month and is set to increase to £80k per month once the Master Creator campaign kicks in during Spring 2015 and the team is further developed.
Next round will be raised in November 2015 (£500K), 6 months into the Master Creator marketing campaign.
The Exit Strategy
FightMe’s main objective is to develop a well-functioning platform with a strong and growing user base that can surpass the 10 million mark in the next 2 years. During this time we anticipate a trade sale as our most likely exit route, with potential buyers being drawn from large media groups, large internet portal companies and consumer brands.
FightMe has worked hard to build a powerful team and is building a valuable user base and proposition. We anticipate that we will continue to receive acquisition offers as the company grows, from a range of different companies and sectors. As FightMe grows its user base it will become more valuable to acquirers.
FightMe could make an ideal acquisition target for a cash-rich video streaming services, large media groups, consumer brands, game show developers wishing to get into mobile. Once we aim to scale into the millions, we are confident we will become a key acquisition target for rival social media companies or internet giants.