08 Jul 2022

Take V: Q&A with Blings.io

Innovation Ecosystem

Leadership & Management

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Take V is a Vertex Holdings spotlight series that dives into the inspiring stories of Vertex’s portfolio founders. In this installment, we chat with Yonatan Schreiber, Co-founder and CEO of Blings.io. Blings.io is a portfolio company of Vertex Ventures Israel.

Can you share your background with us and what inspired you to start up?

My background is quite varied. I did Jewish studies in a yeshiva to become a rabbi, wrote a thesis in the field of cognitive science, and eventually found myself in the tech world as a developer and CTO.

While working in the Israeli startup ecosystem, I was gaining a lot of experience in various areas of intersection between video and software. Eventually, I realised that while the world progresses towards video at warp speed, the core technology behind video is still limited.

In one particular use case for a previous workplace, my task was to build a system that would use data from the league and game footage to deliver a daily short video report to fantasy league players. While exploring all possible solutions available, I realised that there was a need for such types of flexible videos; none of the current tech could provide a real scalable solution.

What was the most challenging task you experienced or decision made when starting up? And how do you advance when there’s no one single right answer?

When we started Blings, we had the idea to build a different kind of solution that was still in the realm of video technology, but for a different audience. Like many others, my partner (Yosef Peterseil) and myself ‘fell in love’ with the idea.

However, we received more and more negative feedback on the financial feasibility of our idea. We did our best to make it work because we loved the idea, but after quite some time, we had to make the hard decision to let it drop and move on to the next idea – which turned out to be what we’re still doing now. There’s never ‘one right answer’ when it comes to operating a business. No one could have known what would’ve happened if we made this or that decision.

Our goal is to replace every online video with better technology. Many paths can lead to this goal; some are short and risky, while others are safe and slow. In the pursuit of our goal, we might find eventually that a completely different goal is within reach – and it might even be a better one.

What do you think is the secret sauce in building an enduring company?

Being flexible when listening to the market and understanding its exact trends, while simultaneously looking at the bigger picture, thinking differently, and finding the not-so-obvious solution to the problem. That, and some luck.

What is the one thing you do in business that most may not agree with you on?

As a business, it’s all about economics. But we like to think of ourselves as more than just a ‘limited liability company’. We are human beings, and we are building a community of people who are spending their best years doing things that they love and care about. As such, our goals don’t just stop at ‘becoming the next unicorn’ but also improving the happiness of and empowering those who work with us, as well as – further down the line – those around us.

In the startup world, these motivations usually don’t contradict each other. Raising people’s happiness will help productivity, hiring and your company’s general appeal, which translates into a better business. But even if that was not the case, we believe that the ‘human factor’ of business is motivating in and of itself – it’s part of what drives us to get up in the morning.

How will video content shape the way that people interact with brands in the future?

At every point of contact with their clients, brands need to decide whether to give clients information or to give them an experience. For example, a Superbowl commercial on TV will focus heavily on the storytelling and immersive experience, while a product page in an e-commerce website will emphasise the data and information aspect.

Smarter video technology will enable brands to present users with an attractive experience even when dynamic data is needed. If done right, it can bring the visual language of the internet a bit closer to the TV and cinema experience, without losing its data-driven, personalised and interactive flexibility.

To find out more about Blings.io, connect with the team here.

Interested in Technopreneurship? Read more here.

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