Since SaaS gives access to pricey, powerful software that might otherwise be inaccessible through traditional purchase methods, it can be very helpful for small firms. Additionally, the subscription-based approach avoids the high financial risk associated with pricey software. Although it differs from the typical way of buying software, SaaS can offer a number of very significant advantages in the business world. Many software suppliers are providing SaaS features that potentially result in significant advantages as cloud computing is increasingly integrated into business operations.
CROOW is a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform designed to streamline creative and video production. The company was founded in 2019 by David Capece (CEO) while he was leading INC 5000 award-winning digital agency Sparxoo and Telly Award production studio Sparxoo Studios. It was started in a whiteboard session on agency and creative production challenges that presented a series of unmet needs in the market. While still running the INC 5000 digital agency Sparxoo, the team decided to self-fund an initial $30k to get to an MVP and market perspective. Then another $30k to get to alpha. Fast forward to 9 months and the team decided to spin out CROOW and continue self-funding to get to beta. At 15 months and $150k of investment, it brought the beta to 6 prospective investors to get their feedback.
Next-generation of Software
CROOW is designed to be the next generation of software that enables companies to breakthrough barriers and accelerate growth. It is more than a project management platform and is a collaboration platform that enables creative and video teams to rise above the logistics and mundane tasks that weigh teams down. During the initial days, the company underwent several challenges to climb to the top of the ladder. Firstly, was the project that led to the greenlighting of CROOW. Sparxoo and one of its clients went through 11 rounds of revision for a creative request. When the team debriefed after the 11 rounds of revision, it discussed issues including the client changing their mind many times, the team missing some of the specific feedback, and confusion on the feedback. And at some point during the 11 rounds of revision, the company lost track of the history of feedback in endless email chains and that was the impetus for CROOW’s very first collaboration tool for creative review and approvals.
Another pivotal point was when the company rolled out CROOWpm to the Sparxoo teams and initial uptake from the website and creative teams was good, but uptake from the video team did not yield positive results at first. As a result, CROOW decided to micro-map the video process and realized at that time that CROOWpm was not optimized for video production. The company decided to rearchitect CROOWpm into the launch of a new product, CROOW Studio, just for video, and that is where it was able to minimize low-value tasks in a video project, to remove 70% of wasted time from projects through automation and workflows.
Comprehensive Ecosystem of Products
CROOW is an ecosystem of 3 products:
1.creative and video teams have unique aspects of project collaboration and project management (market solution is CROOWpm),
2.as the growth of video accelerates, there is a need for affordable and streamlined video production (the market solution is CROOW Studio),
3.outstanding agencies and production talent want to harness their creative talents and technical skills with less friction of low-value tasks that waste time (the market solution is CROOW Studio).
Ingenious Team of Industry Professionals
Being at the helm, David spearheads the team of CROOW. Since the beginning, the company has emphasized great products. Its talented Lead Developer, Aaron Lipkin contributes to the product vision and leads the product development. From there, the team has grown its product teams as well as the market-facing teams.
Since CROOW is still working in its startup phase, it has secured flexible resources where possible, implying that it has brought in fractional team members as well as agencies and consulting groups to elevate its work. The full-time team is a small cohesive team that is aligned for growing CROOW and has stock options which can be an additional motivation.
Exclusive Software Perspective
What makes CROOW truly unique is that the company has honed in on the creative and production industries from a software perspective, while maintaining empathy for the creative process. Its software platform has been incubated through agencies, marketing organizations, video production teams, and the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Beyond the platform’s best-in-breed project management features, CROOW stands out with advanced collaboration designed for creative and video production.
Speaking of maintaining optimum client satisfaction, CROOW incorporates various measures to stand out amongst its clients. Various marketers, executives and leaders use the CROOW Studio for high-quality productions in a simple manner. The company has multiple initiatives that enable client satisfaction. Its onboarding process involves new clients on how to use the platform. The company’s processes and systems ensure strong client communications and relationships. It has emphasized its client-facing production talent to provide white glove service to turn a production into an experience. Beyond these initiatives, ultimately, CROOW is focused on providing outstanding value to its clients, as it wants them to be highly satisfied.
Envisioning Robust Future Proliferations
To date, CROOW has successfully catered to its clients’ requirements. The company aims to continue providing optimum services by introducing various innovative ways and strategies. Given the current potentially deteriorating macro backdrop, it is balancing two major goals. Firstly, the company wants to grow to scale and secondly, it wants to ensure a sustainable business. Its base case remains that it will raise follow-on capital in mid-to-late 2023, however, the company also wants to be prepared for all possibilities while still having enough capital in the bank. To this end, CROOW is lightly reducing its investment/scaling pace while extending its runway so that it could reach breakeven by January 2024 if it chooses to make this the base case.
Furthermore, CROOW has set various milestones for the upcoming years. These are namely, 2023 revenue that grows 2.5x to 3x from 2022, a successful ramp-up of CROOW Studio in multiple markets (starting with Tampa Bay, Philly, Atlanta), proving out inbound, repeatable product-led growth, increased automation in onboarding/self-serve model and throughout production for increased gross margins, and lastly, an increase “tech value” through a combination of platform network, subscription model and early traction in SaaS conversion