GrowLab’s startups have been somewhat of a trend on the Vancouver Entrepreneurs series and it hasn’t happened by accident – the ones that go through the program simply have brilliant teams and business concepts. As the name implies, it focuses on accelerating the growth of startups through superb mentorship, networking, and financing and it only accepts a handful out of hundreds of applications that pour in for this invaluable 4-month intensive program (the deadline for the summer cohort is this Sunday). This weeks featured entrepreneur J. Joly from CineCoup, just graduated from GrowLab’s last cohort and ironically does something very similar GrowLab. His team focuses on accelerating the growth of indie filmmakers by finance their movies – what can you do with $1 million?
1. Who are you? Tell us about your business/core idea and what inspired you to create it.
My name is J. Joly and I am the CEO and founder of CineCoup, a innovative platform as studio that is going to disrupt the way sub $5 million independent features are packaged, marketed, and financed. I was inspired to create it because I saw a huge opportunity in the market and the fact there has never been a better time to be an independent.
2. You are an accelerator that just came out of an accelerator! Please explain how you accelerate other companies and contrast that to how GrowLab accelerated you.
CineCoup is a film accelerator that is based on the tech accelerator model. As a veteran of two accelerators – Bootup Labs (dimeRocker) and Growlabs (CineCoup) – I found this structure a huge boost to my success. The basic concept is very smart super-angels, venture capitalists, and serial entrepreneurs pooling their resources, and what would have normally take me one to two years on my own takes four months. This is assuming that I hit the key milestones they expect – they capitalize me.
3. How has Vancouver’s rising startup community played a role in the development of CineCoup?
It has played a huge role. CineCoup would not be around if it wasn’t for several successful Vancouver entrepreneurs taking a very early interest and risking capital on my team and our big ideas to disrupt media.
4. What kind of challenges has your team had to face and how have you mitigated them?
Our model is not easy to digest for the uninitiated and definitely has faced challenges when raising investment. In short, many tech investors do understand film and film investors don’t understand tech. Where we have triumphed is that we have delivered other big platforms for branded clients and have domain expertise from the innovative work at dimeRocker.
5. What core problem are you specifically solving for Vancouverites?
For Vancouver filmmakers we are providing the opportunity to market, build audience, and potentially get your film financed and in theatres. When you look at the whole “Save BC Film” movement, we’re one small step to helping provide some help.
6. What entrepreneur has inspired you the most for running your business and what makes them so special?
Eric Ries, the author of the “Lean Start-up” and Billy Bean the coach of the Oakland A’s who bravely disrupted a baseball with big data (read author Michael Lewis’ Book). These two core ideas have influenced me and the CineCoup business model.
7. What Vancouver celebrity would you most be excited to have as a member of the team and why?
Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg. In my opinion they are true filmmaking entrepreneurs with a unique vision and voice that started as boyhood friends and are now dominating Hollywood.
8. What’s your advice for current or future entrepreneurs?
Being an entrepreneur is hard and not for everyone. Get ready for no sleep, little income and high chance of failure (at least at the beginning). If this sounds exciting – welcome aboard the wildest and most fulfilling ride of your life. Entrepreneurship is not a job it’s a calling.
*End of interview*
It’s a pretty special thing to see CineCoup reciprocating the GrowLab love and giving others a tremendous opportunity to grow. Many people see Dragon’s Den as the only alternative for entrepreneurs to boost their business but, that’s definitely flawed logic. Incubators are a great thing for anyone who gets the opportunity to be brought on board but then again, the majority of applications do not make the cut. It’s definitely not easy to make it in the world of entrepreneurship but it makes it more encouraging when you see entrepreneurs like CineCoup, risking it all to help accelerate other entrepreneurs . I do my best on Vancity Entrepreneurs to expose our vast talent pool of aspiring entrepreneurs and have been very happy to be receiving more and more applications so keep them coming and don’t stop innovating and working hard!
You can take a look at the 82 projects from across Canada that are auditioning for the $1 million here: http://cinecoup.com/explore
Below are some projects submitted by fellow Vancouverites. Voting for the top 60 films is between March 21-24 so please vote now!
Overlooked for mentorship in favor of his nemesis, ambitious film student Chase tries to work his way into the elite inner circle of his film program, but discovers it to be a treacherous front to a back-room pornography ring run by his premier professor and mentor. He sacrifices his morals and virtue to unseat his nemesis and join the ring as the professor’s protege, only to suffer the same fate as his predecessor, being discarded in an industry wrought with over-consumption and exploitation.
When slacker Dave Duberinski suspects that all of his problems are due to a lifetime of alien abductions, he plots to abduct the alien who’s been abducting him.
Not only does he discover that he’s right about these otherworldly, nocturnal kidnappings, but also that the fate of the human race is being judged on how he has lived the first thirty years of his life.
Now with only four days left until the destruction of human kind on his thirtieth birthday, Dave must convince the aliens that his actions aside, humanity is worth saving.
The Dangers of Online Dating” is a feature film that follows 24-year-old Paula, as she delves into the world of online dating. With the help of her roommate Molly, Paula finds a slew of seemingly respectable men to take her out for new adventures. Alexander, Paula’s sassy best friend, is the voice of reason, pushing her closer to the kinky and farther from the average dating rules.
After his popular, revenge-porn website leads to an underage, teen suicide, Jake Kinney is given a second chance as an online correspondent for a major newspaper in desperate need of new readers. On Remembrance Day, he’s tipped about an amnesiac who showed up at a church on the Canada-US border with no memory of who he is or how he got there.
Kinney feels that the youth is faking his amnesia, but before he can figure out why, Kinney is assigned to cover a grisly murder in a remote resource town along BC’s infamous ‘Highway of Tears’. Up north, a discovery leads Kinney to suspect that the teen and the murder case are somehow connected, but he must face his own demons first to prove it.
*Vancouver Entrepreneurs is a weekly feature on the city’s most notable entrepreneurs and startups that are making a local and even a global impact. If you think your venture deserves to be on the series, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to explain why you’re a fit*