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To find out more behind how Slipstream got its start and what’s in store for the future, Josh interviews Slipstream co-founder, Keegan McColl
More about the episode...
Josh sits down with Slipstream co-founder Keegan McColl. As the tide of streaming services rises it was only a matter of time until niche streaming platform began to arise. Slipstream is the niche streaming platform you always wanted, taking a focus on outdoor sports and giving you a one stop watching experience for all your stoke building needs. For this weeks podcast, Slipstream co-founder Keegan McColl walks us through how hey got started and, more importantly how they developed their brand.
Have an opinion? We want to hear it! Join the conversation and leave a comment, check out show notes, and get all the links mentioned in this episode below
- Check out Slipstreams and Reelhouse
- Follow Slipstream on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
- Filmmaker? Head to Reelhouse and start
What is your background and how did you get into Slipstream?
“Me and the co-founders of Slipstream have actually been in the video space for a couple years. We started a company called Reelhouse about five years ago and that was born from this idea that creatives were using the internet to sell their work more with companies like kickstarter...Reelhouse was really born to create that direct link between a filmmaker and a viewer...kind of a like a squarespace for film, if you can imagine... ”
Did you always have a passion for filmmaking?
“We had a camcorder growing up, I have two brothers, so we played around with that...I had a pretty theatrical high school, was in performing arts school and then in college studied film as well as business…”
How did you get connected with your partners?
“We actually all came together for Reelhouse. The co-founder Bill Mainguy kind of brought as all in and had this idea for Reelhouse...Since then it’s been a tight team. We moved down to LA together and lived in the big house and just earned how to work together really efficiently...We’re always iterating the product and coming up with ideas. The Slipstream idea came on and we pitched it to the board of our parent company and we went from there…”
Did you have to raise capital for Slipstream after building Reelhouse?
“We didn’t, actually. Reelhouse was acquired by a company called Eight Solutions about two years in and since then they’ve been floating us. We come up with products once in a while to add value to the suite of products...If you’ve been looking at trends in video, obviously subscription video on demand is being something of high interest to both consumers and studios so we wanted to get Reelhouse on the map for a subscription product…”
What is the fair trade between filmmakers and Slipstream?
“Even with the ethos in the beginning of Reelhouse we always made our products pretty filmmaker focused. At the end of the day content is really king in this game and we want filmmakers and the content producers bringing home the biggest piece of the pie. When we looked at other larger retail platforms...we’ve seen that those big corporations were sometimes taking 45% to 55% of the $20 that you spend on a film... And didn’t really think that was fair…We’ve always been subscribed to this idea of fair trade filmmaking. We think that filmmakers should be paid the appropriate amount... ”
What is something unique about Slipstream or a little less known about the brand?
“I think that fairtrade filmmaking is a cornerstone that is pretty unique about Slipstream and the whole Reelhouse product line. But, going further and more specific about Slipstream, we’ve built the product and curated the content in a way that focuses on films that aren’t just kickflips for two and a half hours, that they have a strong human element to them…”
How would you best describe the perfect person to be using slip stream?
“Anyone that likes to get out of the city on the weekend and go on a hike, or hang out in a park, or walk through the woods. These natural places are so important and so beautiful and they come with these really inspiring stories that we think need to be told. Especially now more than ever I think places are at risk and need to be protected...Anyone that enjoys the outdoors and wants to get out there and push their limits…”
Did you have any mentors that helped guide you along the journey of building Slipstreams?
“One of the co-founder of Reelhouse, Bill Mainguy, was a real mentor to me during this time at Reelhouse. And, then after acquisition with Eight Solutions there’s a team of really passionate veterans in the entertainment and media space…”
What has the growth been like for Slipstream?
“It’s been solid! We’ve built the product in just under three months...That was a feat in it’s own. Since launching, we’ve obviously added more features to the product. We’ve added apple tv and watch list and more viewer friendly features. In the technology aspect it’s grown a lot since day one. On the filmmaking side of things it’s also grown a ton. We’ve onboarded brands like Patagonia, Solomon, and Osprey...From the viewership side we’ve grown steadily as well…”
What are some of the ways you’ve gotten the word out about Slipstream?
“We did a big press tour in the Spring. A lot of blogs and news websites were excited about the idea and the concept. It’s something that’s easily clickable, someone says ‘the Netflix for action sports’ and you have an idea in your mind about what that looks like…”
Was there anything in collecting the data from your first 1,500 users that surprised you guys?
“I guess just the films that people watch and the categories, which communities have been more popular. That’s been kind of exciting, especially as a climber, the climbing playlist is pretty rich with premium content and that reflects viewership and clicks…”
What is the dynamic of the Slipstream team?
“We’ve got a small team here in east vancouver. We work out of a studio that our parent company owns with a few other startups. Three out of four of us walk or bike to work. We have a morning meeting everyday just to talk about the day's events and see what everyone is doing and working on...on the weekends we like to get out and surf, climb, and mountain bike...getting out and enjoying those outdoor spaces is pretty crucial in the workplace as well…”
What has been the hardest part about starting Slipstream?
“A big part of it is patience...it’s baby steps, we have to go out there, start small, and think and hear about the feedback from our viewers and go from there. It’s a balancing act of trying to be more patient about where we can get to and where we want to be…”
What is your biggest fears for Slipstream and how do you manage it?
“I’m not sure if I have a huge fears about the products themselves. But, with being in the action sport space and streaming these action sports films there’s a safety element that we produce or stream. Just acknowledging that these are professionals, they know what’s going on in the backcountry and they’ve trained and practiced to be there. A lot of those films don’t have those caveats so a fear is if a viewer checks out one of these films and thinks they can run up a mountain and do the same stunts as these guys do…”
What are some of the biggest mistakes that you’ve made in regards to Slipstream?
“I think we’re still young… a regret is just not starting this earlier. It’s one of those things where you think of a new business idea with a buddy or friend and three years down the road you make it happen…”
What advice would you give someone that wanted to start a business?
“...Figuring out that “Why” early on is really crucial for any business and, let that ‘why’ permeate everything you do in the business…”
What is your ‘Why’?
“For Slipstream it goes back to that fairtrade filmmaking ethos and making sure we’re out there making great products for filmmakers and that puts control back into their hands. The traditional model has been pretty disadvantageous to the filmmaker it he past and we want to right that wrong…”
Where do you see Slipstream and Reelhouse headed into the future?
“Were so young, we have so many plans and a vision for what lies ahead. We want to get into producing originals as soon as possible. We’re building a pretty stacked deck in terms of data and analytics, what people like and what people search. That’s going to be a really valuable asset for us when we do get into the studio or the outdoors filming new work. That’s something that’s pretty close on the horizon. We want to get into regular payments programing, something that’s released weekly or monthly to get people back on the platform and get excited about a thursday or wednesday…”
What’s the best part about running Slipstream and Reelhouse?
“It’s just been really great conceptualize and building a product that you love and you use a lot but, also that your buddies and your friends love. Working with an incredible team, going to work everyday, hashing it out, and dreaming about what we’re going to do next…”