Lee Firestone

Yeah, sure. Absolutely. Um, so it’s, it’s actually changes probably on a weekly basis now just because of the acceleration. But I think what’s exciting right now is that we have a lot Have publishers and broadcasters major corporations major, you know, strict streaming broadcast corporations actually shooting video of celebrities, you know, shows, you know, I’m sure Oh, wow, I’m sure you see a lot of the, you know, shows obviously they’re all trying to figure out how to capture high quality video, how are they executing on this stuff right now. So I think our Nam has sort of been floating around in those circles and to be able to, you know, see some of the sports stars, the athletes, the celebrities, you know, just some of those use cases that are being like the shows that you know, you watch on a Saturday night some of these shows are being shot with OpenReel right now. Right. And that’s a that’s pretty exciting, you know, that we, we never actually intended for it to be used for that. And it’s funny when we first started creating this product, you know, we were looking at the iPhone and saying, maybe we can get high quality out of this iPhone or a smartphone and the quality And even in the last few years of what you’re able to capture now, I mean, you’re capturing 4k video. So, you know, it just goes to show us that this is something that sort of here to stay. I mean, again, the quality of video that these phones and these devices are able to capture now is production quality video, and to be able to do that remotely. And instead of, you know, I don’t think it replaces camera crews, but to be able to use it to supplement and in some cases, you know, replace the need, depending on the type of footage is pretty exciting. And that’s, I think that’s the most exciting thing that we’ve, we’ve had in the four years that we’re I mean,

Jeremy Weisz

there’s two sides of that lead, right, there’s the quality, megahertz quality and then there’s the economic side, because the company’s like wait, I don’t need to fly for people, um, put them up in a hotel, pay their food bills, and still get high quality video So talk about the economics stamp. Have what, you know, OpenReel effects as far as that goes.

Lee Firestone

Yeah, that’s mean, that’s that’s a great point. You know, so recently we had a major athlete who is being recorded, and he’s used to going into a studio or having a full crew come to his house to do really a head on interview. And that’s thousands of dollars of time and equipment and effort to go and time

Unknown Speaker

alone is Yeah,

Lee Firestone

time time alone. And not only the crews time, but also his time, right? To have this, you know, these people in his house or in his backyard, or wherever they’re doing it and setting it up and he’s there, it’s hours of time, you know, with our technology, he was able to, you know, put a tripod, put the phone in there, get the lighting, right and shoot a take and, and be done in 30 minutes. So something that was thousands of dollars previously is now you know, maybe $100 to do that shoot. I mean, it’s significant time savings but yeah the on the economic side it’s

Jeremy Weisz

it’s significant. So to shoot the same quality video like a 4k video what are the typical camera from like a crew? What are they using is that I’m not familiar with the cost of like, okay you can get this camera or and how if people are like me How can you even use this like someone’s holding the ones I picture one of those big things like you know I’m in Chicago the bulls games are like filming the game compared to Oh, you just have a phone How is that shooting high quality video?

Lee Firestone

Yeah, definitely. I mean, listen, they’re using DSLRs or red cams or, you know, these high end cameras that are in some cases 10s of thousands of dollars and not to you know, not to say that. You know, we’re capturing the same exact quality is a $50,000 quality, that’s a camera that’s not happening. But you are capturing 4k video and especially with the new phones right now. Just the quality that they’re able to capture and the depth is just getting look that much better. So, I mean, if you look at the back of any of these phones, you’re shooting out of the back camera and in some instances, the front camera many of these phones, and you’re you’re really capturing amazing quality video.

Jeremy Weisz

How did you meet Phil?

Lee Firestone

I mean, I think I cold emailed Phil. Oh, really? Yeah. What did you say? So I, you know, I had been following forefront for a while, you know, obviously, in raising money, you know, you’re looking, you know, a lot of different people. I checked out Phil syndicate. He’s one of the most, one of the most well known syndicates on angellist. And he’s just got a phenomenal portfolio, you know, speaking to some of the founders, you know, as portfolio companies and, you know, I ended up just sort of reaching out saying, Hey, you know, this is, you know, raising right now, and we’d love to just at least have the conversation. And we had a number of conversation. Bill’s a very detailed guy and you really dug in which I appreciated, took the took the time, and it was a great process. And he’s been Just a huge asset to us

Jeremy Weisz

so far, how are publishers using it?

Lee Firestone

Yeah, so you have publishers obviously with in a number of different verticals, whether they’re just general media publishers, or their specific vertical publishers, but what they’re doing is they’re interviewing talent. They’re interviewing thought leaders with it. They’re capturing a number of different types of stories with it, all this video content that they were creating previous, again, with all these other methods we’re talking about. They’re utilizing OpenReel and they’re just able to content today is it’s good for an hour, it’s good for today. It goes you know, it’s it goes very quickly. So this is just a tool, I think that they’re utilizing to be able to spin up new content and a pretty consistent basis and do it at scale and do it pretty quickly. So that’s that’s how they’re utilizing it.

Jeremy Weisz

You know, so what You know, what’s the most common most popular use? of Oprah?

Lee Firestone

Yeah. So I think there’s two different sides to it. I think you have your corporate side. So your lot of internal communications, there’s a lot of thought leadership videos, a lot of training videos, educational videos that happened within the organization within these large enterprise organizations, where would be an example that? Yeah, so let’s say I just did a new product product release within an organization and I want to be able to record the head of engineering talking about that product release, you know, and there, they want to sort of do a screen share along with capturing, you know, capturing the video. And again, that’s not UGC, self captured, but you have a marketing team who wants or an internal comms team wants to be able to direct that initiative. So they, you know, pair to that person’s device. The head of engineering can, you know, walk through the new product update, it’s captured in a higher quality way, something that’s able to be distributed across the organization. And that’s a that’s a good idea of how companies are using it internally. They’re also using it for social and external as well. But on the corporate side, you know, that’s really one of the major use cases.

Jeremy Weisz

And then is is like that, as far as like we mentioned a little bit, because people ask me all the time when we’re working with their podcasts, like, how do I get a higher quality video? They’re using zoom? And is that why people are choosing OpenReel one of the reasons why or what’s the what’s the reason why people are like, Yeah, what? Well, let’s just go with OpenReel.

Lee Firestone

Yeah, sure. So I think it’s I think it’s twofold. Number one, you definitively had a better quality, right? So video conferencing technologies are built for streaming they’re built so that we can talk to one another in real time and not to drop off it doesn’t need to be higher quality 4k 10 HD video as long as we can really see each other clearly have a conversation. That’s, you know, that works. So there are a lot of people who are usually using these technologies to record video. But again, they’re beholden to the internet connection, like Before you have a pause or stop, it’s not capturing always the best audio. So for something that needs to be recorded in higher quality that’s going to, you know, be evergreen and live on a consistent basis. It’s not always the best technology to do that for that’s where our technology sort of comes in. And with our tech, obviously, you can capture it locally, you’re capturing the full quality. The second side of that is the directing piece. Right. So we’ve heard from a lot of organizations and a lot of colleges, a lot of broadcasters, they influencers they ask people for UGC or user generated content. Right. So, that’s, you know, me standing here sort of with the phone or I’m sitting in front of my computer. Yeah, and there’s a couple issues with that. Number one, I’m not always getting the type as the marketer or I

Jeremy Weisz

can see a million issues.

Lee Firestone

Yeah, there’s definitely you know, seeing videos sort of up people’s nose, it’s, you know, it doesn’t come out the right way. So it’s the direct thing. It’s the controlling capability, right to be able to see what the other person is doing and direct them And, you know, sort of guide them along. And again, capture that. And again, not only that the other side of it is be able to get that content in your hands in real time is is a huge benefit. So I think the control of it and to be able to drive those initiatives is the other side.

Jeremy Weisz

What’s the biggest question people haven’t really okay, I’m thinking of OpenReel. I’m not sure what’s like the biggest thing holding people back.

Lee Firestone

So listen, it’s definitively a it’s, it’s a premium product, right? So you have video conferencing technologies that, you know, that you can get for 15 or 20 bucks a month, you know, the, the pricing is a little bit higher, you know, against a patented technology, it’s something that people use to get quality. So, you know, the pricing again, I think is a little bit a little bit higher, you really need to really qualify really want to have people who have a consistent use case, and they’re they’re creating a lot of video in the organization. So that’s one. And then the other thing I think is just, you know, what are they using it for? And how often are they using it, they haven’t initiative. And early on, we weren’t seeing that as much, you know, 1617, early 18. And then there was sort of a shift in sort of 2018 when we really started licensing the technology out, restore this really big shift to video in companies and organizations. And I think at that point, you really saw people move over and say, okay, we need to have a video strategy. A lot of companies Previous to that, you know, if you look at the metrics on it didn’t even have video video strategies. It was like, hey, let’s create a testimonial video and throw it up on the site. Now, it’s like, hey, if you don’t have video on an ongoing basis in your organization, whether that’s of internal external employees, whatever the cases, you know, people forget very quickly. So I think that’s, you know, I think that was holding people back and now it shifted and now people are moving towards it.

Jeremy Weisz

Totally, like an ongoing video strategy mean, I don’t know what remotely builds better trust and credibility than a video of someone talking. Yeah. I mean, you can read something, you can listen to someone, but when you see them and you see the nonverbal communication with the verbal and you know them in general, there’s nothing that beats that.

Unknown Speaker

You know, absolutely.

Jeremy Weisz

what’s what’s the, you know, talking about video strategy, what are some things that work? You’ve seen companies do that work with video strategy?

Lee Firestone

Yeah, so I mean, listen, I, what’s interesting is, a lot of people want to do key opinion leader content, which I think is a is a great strategy. Right. But I think a lot of organizations are not looking internal to the company. Like the value that your that your team and your leadership can provide and talking about your product and their expertise. Again, whatever that is, is huge. You know, a lot of people, a lot of companies are not doing that. Right, where they’re keeping it internal to the organization, there’s so much value in your expertise in your company. Yeah, we’re seeing a lot more of that now and a lot more like, they’re, they’re professionals in these companies like employees that are pros at what they do. Yeah, they have all this insight. And if you look at LinkedIn, we’re starting to see some more of it. And again, I really think we’re at the sort of inflection point now where you’re going to see a flood and, you know, again, it’s, it’s really bad timing with everything that’s going on. But it’s forcing us into sort of this remote nature right now. And I think part of that you’re going to see as part of that is a huge push in, and a lot of video and a lot of video being done internal to the organization that gets shared. customer base and external.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah, that’s a good point. Leave because it’s underutilized. The team’s underutilized and and also I put the full brunt of the effort and energy on the maybe the CEO to do this. When he is, or she has experts under them who are doing this, you know, and so let’s talk about that for a second. Joe, Matthew, right CTO talk about his expertise in what he’s done. Yeah, yeah, sure. As I’m sure this is like heavy technology stuff, I don’t even know I want to know what goes into this. And I’m sure Joe knows the ins and outs, but talk about talking about him and his expertise.

Lee Firestone

I’m not going to step too far because so I’ll get yelled at. I want you to get out. No kidding. So, listen, Joe, you know, Joe and myself early on really kind of thought about the idea behind this but him and his and his team were able to execute on this technology and it’s definitively not simple technology to be able to, you know, keep this stream going capture something locally, pull it off a device, be able to control robust video controls on a device. You know, we have a webcam side and we have a phone side but to be able to create Scroll frames per second exposure resolution, start and stop, roll the teleprompter on a screen and do this all remotely and be able to sort of pack it that up and, and send it to the cloud. I mean, I’m simplifying it here. But, you know, we have a dev team now of 12 people that this is all they work on all day long is keeping this thing stable, adding feature sets to it. So they’ve done a pretty amazing

Jeremy Weisz

I can’t even imagine, because of all the different devices that are out. I mean, there’s so many different iterations of like, or what people can be using, what kind of devices it’s like, forget it, I’d be like, I give up, throw my hands up, forget it. It’s not even worth it.

Lee Firestone

It’s and what’s exciting, was exciting. And they’re one of the challenges they’ve had, especially in the last three months. I mean, in the last three months, we’ve seen a 500% increase in the amount of videos being recorded through our technology. You know, so we’ve scaled that scale that team up and just sort of you know, listen, obviously some of the challenges They’ve had to they’ve done an amazing job and executing on it is, number one, scaling the platform to be able to handle that, you know, thousands of connections potentially at a time. And then on the other side, just the feature set, right. So we were talking about recording celebrities recording broadcasts, you have legitimate production, people coming in using technology. Now they have a ton of new feature sets and ideas around what they should be and how it should execute. So, you know, they’ve done an amazing job and being able to spend that stuff up and scale it up quickly.

Jeremy Weisz

Where did the idea come from?

Lee Firestone

The idea for OpenReel, yeah, were captured. Yeah, it’s a it’s a great question. So I’ve a background in medical marketing previously started a company years ago, that we had for a number of years. And, you know, it was solely based on media. It was based on media, correct? Yep. And 2013 we sold that company and a few years later We had the idea to create sort of a medical video platform. That was all video doctors talking about conditions, and opinions and etc. So we were running around New York City, sort of shooting video with camera crews. And we said, this is sort of crazy. We can’t scale this. And we ended up looking at the iPhone and saying, maybe there’s a way for us to control this. And everybody’s got this. Everyone’s got this device or smartphone, everyone’s got this device, maybe we can remote into that. And it took us quite a while to build the technology. But we ended up building sort of a an MVP of it, and used it to end up shooting about 3000 4000 videos of doctors early on. So that’s where the idea sort of came from. And then from that, you know, I remember I was speaking at an event and a company or two came up to me and said, Hey, can we use this? We have a use case for it. And we pivoted over to sort of this licensing model. And we haven’t looked back and that’s sort of where the businesses

Jeremy Weisz

are probably licensing part of it for people. Sorry, talking about the licensing part.

Lee Firestone

Yeah, yeah, sure. So the licensing part of it. So in essence, we’re a SaaS company, subscription model. You know, we, you know, we licensed this technology to companies on a subscription basis. There’s full onboarding is full training, full support, even issued support, you know, if they need that, so we’re in essence creating experts on these training and through this onboarding process, and we’re letting them so we’re not actually the ones shooting the video, we’re giving them the technology to shoot the video. So we have, you know, thousands of years of, you know, people recording these, these videos. And, yeah, they handle it all themselves. And it’s interesting point because so we have this collaborator feature, where basically, you have a director, but you could have up to four people join in a shoot and be stakeholders and be able to watch and comment on the shoot. So that’s another interesting feature that allows people to really scale in their organization and capture the right footage at the right time. And if one of those seats needs to be us helping out with a shoot, you know, we support that as well. So the

Jeremy Weisz

idea for the licensing portion was just people use cases they were approaching you to say, Hey, can we use this also, and then the light bulb went on?

Lee Firestone

That was really sort of so that was really the inflection point for us and saying, you know, this is a cool concept. It was hard to pivot away from that concept, but we saw the broader use case here. Every company really should be have this tool in house and being able to sort of scale video and again, we were a little bit early at that point. It’s coming full circle now, but that was really the lightbulb moment to say, Okay, this is this is the business this is really where it scales and this is where it starts to take off. And you know, it’s been a bit of a long road to get here, but now we’re really starting to starting to see some significant growth.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah, what Sorry, I forgot the definition of Luckily, it’s like opportunity meets hard work or something. So it’s like, there is some luck involved, sometimes the timing of things, you know, and especially with you, you need a phone. I mean, you need a tech, certain technology to be up to snuff for people to use what you have, right?

Lee Firestone

Yeah. So in the beginning, that was sort of part of the problem, right? Whereas the technology wasn’t there to be able to capture the quality video, we were sort of ahead of it. And we were waiting for some of this technology in terms of cameras on these on these devices and weapons phones to catch up. And it did so very rapidly, which was, which was great for us. Yeah, now we’re seeing it’s a bit of a bet

Jeremy Weisz

early on, especially when you’re really on technology, right?

Lee Firestone

Yeah, it was it definitely was a bad I mean lesson we saw we definitely saw it coming. You know, it was we knew it was we knew it was on the way we just didn’t know how long and I think that’s why we you know, we are sold this idea to One of our earliest investors was Brooklyn Bridge ventures here in New York, and Alpine meridian ventures here in New York. And, and, you know, Bill and Charlie that these guys took a took a gamble on us early on. And, you know, they were huge assets. They were patient with us. They’re patient with the technology, they knew it was coming and, you know, to be at this point where we’re it’s finally sort of come to fruition. It’s Yeah, it was it was an interesting bet early on, for sure.

Jeremy Weisz

So we you work with Joe with Baystone Media. Is that how you know each other?

Lee Firestone

Yeah. So Joe? Yeah, Joe ran our products and opposite based on

Jeremy Weisz

I want to talk about the Baystone days for a second because, you know, I’m sure it’s easier for these these companies to invest in a proven founder who has an exit. What are some of the what were some of the high points and maybe challenges based on media and then you eventually sold it?

Lee Firestone

Yeah, sure. So that Was that’s a it’s an interesting, interesting question. So based on we were a little bit early also on also so at the time, we were doing sort of templated websites templated newsletters, and, you know, everybody was out there sort of creating doing video, sorry, doing websites like $3,000 $5,000 $10,000 a piece and up. And we sort of came out with this subscription model early on.

Jeremy Weisz

I remember it was I remember one of your companies. It was my car. I mean, yeah, I mean, I remember it, it was a subscription base, right. And so you pay a monthly fee, but you get the template, and it’s almost kind of like hosting with design in one, right.

Lee Firestone

Yep, exactly. So we, you know, we were early to that years. I think in the beginning, we were charging like 29 bucks a month and then it was 39 bucks a month and we stuck with that model. And, and again, it was just sort of a scale model and it was all within dental and Cairo were large, you know, largely but you know, a number of other verticals but, you know, I I think with technology In and of itself, you know, it’s very and it’s it’s gotten so much more saturated, if you’re not trying to disrupt something early on, and if you can’t look out a few years, it’s hard especially even back then things were moving so much slower. But today, you know, these development teams and these technology freshmen are so talented and the technology is there that you know, ideas hit them hit the market and then within a month later, there’s you know, 10 clones of it. So I just think it’s just a it’s really tough to try and disrupt these days and tough to come up with an idea and and fill a gap

Jeremy Weisz

with with based on talk about some, you know, customer acquisition is key. You guys had a lot of customers, how did you break into the market? What was the the best way that you were able to acquire customers?

Lee Firestone

Yeah, sure. Back back then. We were it’s funny. We were doing print. We were direct mail. Yeah, you’re doing direct mail. We were doing you know, we ran out Some ads in some of the industry magazines. That was actually our best source of leads back then. Hmm. So yeah,

Jeremy Weisz

what would you send a direct mail like a postcard? Or what would you say? Yeah, sure. I’m sure I’ve received your postcards. I’ve

Lee Firestone

been talking about a huge fan of chiropractic. Yeah, it’s, we’re doing postcards, you’re doing direct mail. We were doing like full page ads, and even up through year towards the end, that was still our best source of Hmm, it’s

Jeremy Weisz

shout out to alwaysdirectmail.com, actually, in their podcasts. They do that for companies actually, for businesses, but, um, so what was the offer? What worked? What was the offering in maybe full page or the postcard

Lee Firestone

back then? Yeah, so yeah, we were, you know, we were doing sort of no setup. And like, you know, just 39 a month back Back then, you know, secure groups running pretty aggressive deals back then to get, get people in and that’s it. And again I, I think very similar to OpenReel and I’ve always been I’ve always been a huge believer in this i think i think the idea of you know, customer service and client success is huge and companies right so you know even back then you know, we would we would really make sure if you needed help with your website, you know, we were on top of it. And even today with the videos, if you’re in the middle of the shoot, like our response time is near immediate right to be able to you’re doing a shoot you’re doing a video you have a problem or you have a question, like one of our support team will get on the shoot with you, help you out make sure everything is going smoothly. So I think back then and today, you know, I think a little a little bit of that’s been lost and technology in general

Jeremy Weisz

people just want to go digital and there’s a that touch I mean, obviously it’s in your DNA at OpenReel we’ll do well on personal communication via video but but still the emphasis on support. Live support?

Lee Firestone

I think and, yeah, I just think, you know, again, maybe that’s just in my DNA and sort of, you know, my background, but we want to make sure that companies are comfortable using the technology. You know, at some point, they sort of go off on their own and, and they become experts and pros and they can handle 99% of the technology, but to be able to support people and support our clients the right way, is sort of a, you know, I think it’s been a huge differentiator for our client base. And I think that’s also why we get a lot of word of mouth.

Jeremy Weisz

So we How do you hire a good support? team? What do you look for? For a good support person?

Lee Firestone

Yeah, so for us, it’s for us it’s follow up and sense of urgency. that’s those are the two things that we look for. Right? So even during an interview process, you know, we haven’t had we have an interview it’s how quickly are they following up? are they following up again, you know, how passionate are they about the about the job and what they’re doing and we recently have increased our support team actually tripled our support team. And we have people sort of all over the country now. You know, again, we’re really working remotely but they have a very specific background right they have a technical background they have a video background we’re really looking for people who are passionate about video passionate about technology and just really are excited about the tech of this technology in and of itself and that’s that’s who we’re looking for. That’s you know, that’s what we found been pretty amazing.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah, thanks for sharing that Lee and first of all, thanks for sharing in taking the time to share some of the the journey with us I’ve two last questions but I want to point people towards openreel.com check it out anywhere else we should point people towards online that would be helpful for them and for OpenReel.

Lee Firestone

Yeah, no, I think if you go to OpenReel and take a look at the technology obviously take a look at some of the videos and the capabilities that Technology has. It’s expanding all the time, we’re actually in the process of releasing another product, which is sort of a self capture technology along with the remote capture to support both sides, because we’re getting a lot of interest on that side as well. So yeah, I would just go to openreel.com. And, you know, obviously, the LinkedIn pages and the Instagram pages at OpenReel video, and you can sort of see what people are creating and some of our content.

Jeremy Weisz

Yeah, you could use your phone, your tablet or your or your computer to capture this.

Lee Firestone

Yeah, exactly. And another component of that is it’s global, right? So you can record video nearly anywhere in the world. So that’s another thing. We have a ton of multinationals ton of companies and other countries that are recording the recording video from that country or recording again, in other places in the world. If you want to talk about the cost and expense, that’s a that’s a huge benefit as well. So how

Jeremy Weisz

should podcasters be using OpenReel? Or is it maybe not the best use case? Yeah, so we’ve done everyone does video, but I do. And I know a bunch of people who do.

Lee Firestone

Yeah, definitely. So we have, you know, we have a number of podcasters. Who are we’re looking at using the technology. So there’s something that we have called Multicam as well. So you can record up to four devices at once. So if you’re talking about podcasts, again, whether they’re in the same place or not in the same place, you can record both both feeds, you can talk back and forth like this. And again, captured in up to up to 4k quality. So

Jeremy Weisz

definitely capability as well. So last two questions they always ask since Inspired Insider is what’s been a low point or moment in your entrepreneurial journey. And on the flip side, what’s been a proud moment in your entrepreneurial journey? What’s been the low point that you had to push through is like, you know, because people hear the OP stories, but oftentimes, there’s A lot of stuff we don’t hear about with the challenges.

Lee Firestone

Sure. So, you know,

on the on the low side, I would say there’s two pieces. Um, you know, after we, you know, we exited the last company, you know, you’re as an entrepreneur, you’re, you know, you’re sort of excited that you sort of finish this journey. There’s obviously that feeling of, you know, this ended and that sort of that sort of said, and then it’s getting to the next phase of what are you going to do next? And, you know, there’s obviously a ton of serial entrepreneurs out there, but really trying to figure out what you’re doing next. And, you know, early, especially in the beginning of starting a new company, you know, we bootstrapped this company in the beginning before we raise capital, and it’s hard, you know, it took a spray a year to, to get something going again, and those early days are tough. It’s like, you’re

Jeremy Weisz

like, why am I doing this again? What am I

Lee Firestone

doing? What am I doing and to any entrepreneur out there, you know, I think if you have an idea if you have something that you’re really passionate about, and you can have a market, you know, really a true market need for it. Just got to stick with it. I think that’s the, the moral What kept

Jeremy Weisz

you going for that year? It was like, Ah, forget it. Like, you know, in that year when you’re, you know, in some people’s longer they don’t get traction for for longer. What do you think of to continue to push forward?

Lee Firestone

Yeah. So I think you’d sort of have to have this no snow star, like, this is the idea. This is what this is what we want to build and this is we see this as a huge opportunity. And the other side of it is having a good co founder, right? So they’re going through the same thing as you are. It’s it’s nearly impossible to do this stuff alone. So if you don’t have a good team around you, if you don’t have a good co founder. It’s gonna be really difficult because you know, you’ve bounced off each other. When you have your heart Your highs and lows and it’s a rollercoaster. Yeah, it wasn’t every day even as a roller coaster. And even sort of two years into this even after we raised it You know, we were, we were getting close to running out of capital. And that’s, that was a scary time for us. And just recently, we were able to raise another round in November from Las Olas venture capital, who again, sort of believed in the, in the idea and believed in the vision with us. So that was a huge win for us. And it was a, you know, a decent amount of capital that allowed us to really scale the company and grow. And I think at the end of the day, it’s a roller coaster and you know, you really just need to be able to handle the

Jeremy Weisz

faint of heart.

Lee Firestone

Yeah, but we’re, we’re super excited about it. And

Jeremy Weisz

I What about proud moment?

Unknown Speaker

Yeah, so um, listen, proud moment is

Lee Firestone

to be able to see some of the names you know, without naming names. Right now,

Jeremy Weisz

you would do anyone give you rights to say their name on their platform or is because of licensing. It’s kind of anonymous.

Lee Firestone

Yeah, we have a lot of you know, we have a lot of confidentiality, getting our agreements. But

Jeremy Weisz

foreigners keep guessing until you smile like Night Live. The Daily Show No.

Lee Firestone

blows. Yeah. So but yeah, it’s, it’s amazing four years later to be able to say like these major organizations, these major fortune 500 companies, these huge media conglomerates Are you know, you can say these names and everyone knows them that are using your technology. And this is the go to right now for how you shoot video. It’s it’s an amazing feeling and our team is ecstatic about it and we, you know, we talk about it all the time. It’s like, just an amazing thing. So really, when

Jeremy Weisz

you graduated from University of Florida Gators, what did you want to do? Did you know you want to start your own company or

Lee Firestone

I always thought you know, some My father was an entrepreneur. And you know what he did? So he was in the optical business and a number of other businesses he owned, you know, And a number of those companies and you know, in stores and and, you know, he was an executive in that industry. But yeah, so I’ll tell you a quick funny story. Before we go yeah. You know, in at University of Florida I, my my first business there my first business idea was I decided that I was going to have like a coupon book, right? So I ran around sort of all the bars and restaurants and I, and I got deals and I got deals from them. And I put together this book, it was called like, it’s called like Gator bucks or something like whatever. I called it back then. And I ran around trying to sell the book to, you know, to college students, and it failed miserably. And what I realized is, I should have been charging the restaurants and bars and not the college students.

Jeremy Weisz

But even I do pivot that to that or no, no, I didn’t know the funny thing is some of my relatives started clipper magazine. Have you heard of it? I’m sure. And they started it. That’s how they started it. clipper magazine and they ended up selling it to the Kinect comm media company. Sure. But that’s what they did. That’s how they started running around college campuses. Exactly the same thing.

Lee Firestone

That’s very interesting. Yeah. I back then. This is 2000. You

Jeremy Weisz

were like, right, you’re so close. Like they were right there. You were right there.

Lee Firestone

I’ve missed like that a lot.

But yeah, you know, I think even back then I wanted to always sort of be an entrepreneur for better for worse and run companies and sort of start companies and execute on vision, you know, and sometimes there’s ups and downs, but we got something pretty there’s always

Jeremy Weisz

those, you know, we’ll call them learning and not failure. But there’s always those learning companies along the way. Oftentimes you go Oh, yeah, it’s like a 10 Your success overnight right? Because, you know you had all these little companies that building the bigger and bigger companies so yeah, we I totally appreciate you sharing your story ever check out OpenReel OPEN and then REEL.com And thanks again.

Lee Firestone

Listen, it’s been amazing. Thanks for the time I appreciate it. Yeah