Releasing the spare processing power from computers and offering it to animation studios.
- Location Bristol, United Kingdom
Product(s) and/or service(s)
YellowDog releases the spare processing power from people’s computers, giving computer users money for nothing.
This is then offered to animation studios giving them their own personal supercomputer to improve how they render animations.
We believe this has the potential to create the world’s fastest super-computer. There are 8.8 million people in the UK between the ages 24 & 35; there are 2.3 million students in higher education, 89% have laptops. If we joined together all these laptops we would create the fastest supercomputer the world has ever seen, over 4x the current fastest. That’s enough processing power to render a film like Toy Story in 1 minute 12 seconds.
93% animation studios interviewed by YellowDog have problems with turning their computer models into the final film, a process called rendering. We have found that:
• They run out of computer power. In the words of one animator, ‘there’s never enough’. This causes project delays and may result in additional capital spend on IT equipment.
• When the rendering is outsourced to external render farms, the time the job takes and its cost are unpredictable.
• Render farms often have complex IT processes; complexity that the artistic animators do not want to be troubled with.
• It’s not unusual for there to be errors in the final rendered animation from render farms.
YellowDog will change everything about how studios render animations. YellowDog would provide:
1. Predictability of cost and time taken. Studios only get charged what is quoted and the time taken to process is precisely calculated up front.
2. Ease of use: compared to many technically complex render farms, YellowDog is very easy to use and interact with.
3. Control. Studios decide when their project would be completed: the faster it gets done, the higher the price.
4. Quality: every processed frame is checked using advanced algorithms to ensure its quality.
We believe this will help studios control and save costs, do more render jobs every week and, most importantly, keep their clients happy.
For the computers users, YellowDog gives them money for nothing.
This could be a cash payment straight into the bank, or a donation to their chosen good cause. The amount would vary depending on the power of their computer and how long it’s available to YellowDog. A computer that’s less than two years old and is used eight hours a day would earn £5 a week. £260 a year.
Substantial accomplishments to date
• YellowDog was incorporated in January 2015.
• YellowDog was accepted into SETsquared – a high tech/high growth business incubator in the South West of England.
• Proof of concept built showing that the speed of rendering jobs can be increased 10x by parallelising the processing over multiple computers.
• Product development ready for pilot launch in July 2015.
• YellowDog trailer website launched (www.yellowdog.network) capturing additional market data:
o 89% studios who responded want to be kept up to date with how YellowDog progresses. Four beta customers identified.
o 98% computer users would be interested in renting out their processor for a reward.
The YellowDog business model is two-sided:
1. Animation Studios pay YellowDog for the amount of computer power used to complete their render.
The price is set per hour and is charged by the second. The more computing power the Studio requests, the higher the price and the quicker the render completes.
2. YellowDog rewards Computer Users whose machines are used to complete the render. 15% of the overall cost of the job is distributed across all the computers used to carry out the work.
3. YellowDog pays royalties to the providers of the render engines.
Use of proceeds
This investment would be used to accelerate YellowDog’s commercialisation, making sure we incorporate feedback from the pilot.
The £150,000 will be allocated:
• R&D: 65%
• Marketing: 18%
• Payroll: 12%
• Office and Admin 3%
• Ops: 2%
YellowDog has a two-sided business model that means there are two markets it needs to serve.
On one side you have the Studios, the people purchasing the processing power. These are small and mid-size animation studios (less than 15 employees).
On the other, you have ‘The Pack’, those who rent out their processing power to YellowDog and get rewarded for their participation. For the pilot, students in full time higher education in select Universities with animation courses are the target market.
Please note that only the UK market is considered here despite there being animation studios and students across the globe.
Characteristics of target market
In 2014, we believe there were 4,127 companies carrying out rendering in the UK with 89% having less than 5 employees. 93% of those interviewed have problems with rendering.
We believe the total addressable market for render services in 2014 is £50.1m and is growing at 14.1% a year.
There were 2.3 million students registered to study in the UK in 2012-2013. In 2014, 89% students owned their own laptop.
Financial concerns are a priority for the majority of students – shown by an increase in the proportion of students who work during term time, plus usage of credit cards and bank overdrafts as a main source of income.
74% of students believe that ethics are very important.
These beliefs translate into practice with students being 51% more likely than other adults to choose to purchase brands/products
that have ethical credentials or demonstrate ethical values.
YellowDog’s go to market is two-sided, just like its business model:
For Studios, the messaging focuses on the personal supercomputer that’s completely in their control and is easy to use. This is supported by:
• Transactional sales – short sales cycle driven by month-on-month demand in studios.
o Direct sales person.
• Flexible pricing to suit the studio’s need: standard power would be £1 per hour (equivalent to two servers). This can be more expensive for more power, or less expensive for less.
For The Pack, the proposition centres on getting money for nothing. Tactics are different to the Studios, using:
• Social media.
• Online promotion on moneysaving websites (both general and Student).
• Referrals & word of mouth.
• £260 a year if used 8 hours a night – which pay’s for a Student’s laptop during university, or mosquito nets for 16 children every month, through Oxfam.
The differentiators, we believe make YellowDog stand out in the market are:
1. Predictability of cost and time taken. Studios would only get charged what is quoted and the time taken to process is precisely calculated up front. We have found that current render farms’ costs and time to process always differ from the initial estimate.
2. Its ease of use: compared to many technically complex render farms, YellowDog would be very easy to use and interact with.
3. Control. Studios would decide when their project is due to be competed: the faster it gets done, the more it costs. In our experience some render farms have the ability to prioritise jobs, however nobody guarantees when the job will be completed.
4. Reward for The Pack. As far as we know YellowDog is the only solution on the market that uses spare computer power to create a render farm whilst rewarding the computer owner with money for nothing.