Auckland based startup 90 Seconds is the world’s leading cloud video production platform, allowing brands to purchase, plan, shoot, edit and review video anywhere in the world, online and on mobile.

Tim Norton, Founder and CEO, and Richard Chew, CFO, recently talked to us about 90 Second’s Series A capital raise and how they have found working with Simmonds Stewart.

the 90 seconds story

Tim has been building tech companies for the last 14 years from SaaS to video platforms. It was after founding a media company that profiled the startup community through print and video, that Tim realised how hard it was to create videos. He says that the process was varied, it was difficult to shoot between countries and despite the fact that online video content was growing in popularity, professional videos were not easy to make.

This led to Tim’s idea to connect people around the world in order to create professional videos. 90 Seconds was launched in 2010, with Tim and one other developer creating online video production tools, off the back of seed and angel investment.

The concept and tools grew, and Tim managed to solve his previous issues through the creation of a cloud-based platform, which lets users handle almost every part of the video production process in one place. Brands can purchase, plan, shoot, edit and review video from the platform anywhere in the world, online and on mobile.

It was always part of Tim’s vision to build a truly global company, so two years in Tim began to establish a presence in Japan, Singapore, Australia, on top of NZ and the UK. The company became profitable in 2014 and Richard also joined as CFO. In 2015, Tim decided to hire a Head of Talent and they grew from 20 to 78 people in under a year. They then secured NZD$11m through their Series A capital raise led by Sequoia in 2016.

90 Seconds have now worked with more than 1000 brands including Google, Barclays, PayPal, Visa and Sony to produce over 10,000 high quality, fast, easy and affordable videos, in 70 countries.

The company has a global team working across Singapore, London, Tokyo, Manila, Sydney and Auckland, and they hope to open new offices in San Francisco, New York, Hong Kong and Berlin going forward.

Tim thinks that 90 Seconds has just scratched the surface of the global opportunity for cloud-based video production. They will continue to focus on their global growth and make video production even faster, as fast as Uber, publishing professional videos within anywhere between 24 hours to two to 3 weeks, no matter in the world the video creators are. They also plan to continue to develop the mobile version of their software so clients can manage every part of the production process on their tablets or smartphones.

90 Seconds Product Photo - Project with shoot in background

challenges

Tim and Richard both agree that talent acquisition and management is the key to ensuring the success of 90 Seconds, as well as scaling growth at the right time. Tim says that we always need to hire as the business continues to grow, finding the right people to do the job within budget, is definitely an art.

There is definitely competition in the industry which comes in two types. The first being companies who have been around for the same time or longer than 90 whose established business practice. The second is startups, who have the speed and agility to move quickly and innovate. However, Tim says 90 Seconds has a unique position given their stage of growth. They not only understand the industry and are experienced enough to compete with established business but they are also nimble enough to compete with new ones, having the capacity to completely revamp their current product.

working with simmonds stewart

Tim and Richard have both worked with lawyers throughout their careers and had varied experiences, prior to their first capital raise, 90 Seconds brought lawyers in get the job done and keep legal costs at a minimum.

They were recommended Simmonds Stewart by Sequoia, the key investor leading the capital raising process, who have invested in a number of the world’s leading tech companies including Apple, Google, YouTube and Airbnb. Lee Bagshaw’s was the lead Partner for the deal given his background in fund raising for global startups and extensive experience negotiating deals with Sequoia.

The 90 Seconds team worked closely with Lee and Chris Wilson on the intricate transaction which involved a re-domicile, re-structure and Series A all rolled into one, as well as a broad range of investors, from publicly listed companies, venture capital firms and private investors such as SKY TV New Zealand, Airtree Ventures, Beenext and Oleg Tscheltzoff founder of Fotolia.

Tim describes the process as being much longer than he expected, taking 6 months. He says it was like a giant Jenga of risk, investors and issues to manage and at times he was keen to concede on points to move the deal on. However, he says Lee kept them focused on the key issues and eventually they nailed it, and got a deal far better than I expected with Tim feeling more powerful as a founder and entrepreneur through Lee’s advice. Richard also notes that Lee’s knowledge and experience with Sequoia was completely invaluable.

Tim and Richard both agree that this process showed how important it is to partner with lawyers who have hands on experience in dealing with the legal and commercial complexity of capital raising for a global company. Tim notes that when you work with a range of investors on a global deal, you need a legal partner to get the deal done and Simmonds Stewart provided the best advice which got them a big outcome.

summing up

90 Seconds are an inspiring example of a company with humble NZ beginnings, demonstrating a fast-growing and rapidly scaling business model, as well as attracting major technology investment players.

Sequoia’s backing shows that big US VCs now view New Zealand startups as global opportunities. Simmonds Stewart will be closely watching 90 Seconds continue its rapid growth to become a significant global player.

Explore 90 Seconds.