I interviewed Steve Reilly, CEO & Founder of ShootHome about his journey so far starting his company, and some of the difficulties he faced along the way. His company ShootHome helps tell stories of homes, making quality movies that get people through the door of a home in order to sell it quickly.
Can you give us some background information about yourself?
So, my background is in marketing and film. I studied marketing at university and then after went to go on to work for several well-known names in travel (BUNAC), property (Savills, Knight Frank) and alongside had my own production company making promos or pop videos for bands such as Primal Scream.
Tell me how you initially got into business?
After working in London for several years, I took the opportunity to start my own property development firm in late 2003, as part of a family firm turning over some 315 properties over 6 years.
How did the idea for ShootHome.TV come about?
So, after the marked crashed, I had several homes on the market I just could not sell. I literally went out and picked up some new Hollywood tech and made a short film of one bedroom flat, telling the story of the home honestly but as we now say, with love. The home sold within just 7 days and as a direct result of the Property Movie (as we now call them). The success was repeated with several homes/movies and ShootHome was born.
Tell me about the early days, what was the hardest part of starting the business?
It’s always going to be with emerging tech or something new convincing people to try it. People are naturally resistant to change so you have to show them how this incredible new product would help them in their daily lives and then they get it. The second challenging part is putting together the team who will build the company - often overlooked but it’s so important, great entrepreneurs are made by the talented people around them.
What is ShootHome.TV? And what are you trying to solve with it?
ShootHome makes Hollywood quality movies that sell homes faster. Simply we get people through the door of a home in order to sell it quickly. And now not only homes but businesses too.
How have you been able to fund it?
Initially the company was bootstrapped, then we raised two rounds of angel investment. We’re about to go through another round of investment shortly.
What sorts of advice do you having for entrepreneurs looking to raise money for their startups?
Don’t wait for the money - if it comes it’s a bonus but you need to get your product out to market. And surround yourself with great people. You need a great team to raise investment. In the UK, fund raising is not like the Valley, we don’t have the same start-up culture, so you need to get ahead yourself, do what it takes to succeed.
About the first few months, how excited were you, tell us about how those months felt, what happened?
The first few months were exciting and scary. Luckily I had a chance meeting with a very inspirational Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has helped guide the business with her incredible insight and advice, having been there and done it many times. So the product developed and we made it better in those first months/weeks. You’ve got to continually strive for change and improvements to keep your product ahead in the market.
How did you initially get traction?
Hard work, determination and a lot of cold calling. It’s tough but perseverance paid off.
What are the most crucial things that you have done to grow your business?
To let go of many of the day to day tasks and put people in place to do them. It’s tough to let go but you can’t do everything (although you will want to). The other thing is to listen to advice. Take the advice that works, forget that which doesn’t (or shelve it until a time it makes sense).
What would you say has been the highlight of your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Opening our office and seeing the rapid growth all the teams hard work has brought. Also having the opportunity to visit the Valley and meet some amazing VC’s and entrepreneurs.
What should we be expecting from yourself and ShootHome.TV team for 2013?
There are big changes coming for early 2013. We’re moving away from a pro services firm to a pure tech “platform”, with the ability to scale across verticals and international boundaries. This is the year of the Bee is all I can say right now...
Lastly, what three pieces of advice would you offer entrepreneurs starting out today?
Get your product out there asap.
Surround yourself with a great team.