Monday 25 September 2017

Siblings' start-up aims to turn your videos into Oscar material

A three-year-old start-up has already rung the opening bell at the Nasdaq - but Trakax hopes to ring in a lot more changes in the future

BETTING THE HOUSE ON RED: Cormac, Catriona and Colm Barry of Trakax all wore red to ring the Nasdaq opening bell, joined by (l-r) Maeve Moran (Arthur Cox); Eric Bailey (The Concept Studio); Siobhan Hanley (IDA); Simone Boswell (Enterprise Ireland); Brendan McGeever (Sunrise Brokers); Kevin Cole (Cole & Cole Sales); Cormac, Catriona and Colm Barry; Orla Battersby (Enterprise Ireland); Paul Barry (Fineos); Barry Cole (Cole & Cole Sales); Marcus Spillane (MS Ventures); Stephen O’Shea (The Concept Studio); and Mark Segall (Kidron Corporate Advisors)
BETTING THE HOUSE ON RED: Cormac, Catriona and Colm Barry of Trakax all wore red to ring the Nasdaq opening bell, joined by (l-r) Maeve Moran (Arthur Cox); Eric Bailey (The Concept Studio); Siobhan Hanley (IDA); Simone Boswell (Enterprise Ireland); Brendan McGeever (Sunrise Brokers); Kevin Cole (Cole & Cole Sales); Cormac, Catriona and Colm Barry; Orla Battersby (Enterprise Ireland); Paul Barry (Fineos); Barry Cole (Cole & Cole Sales); Marcus Spillane (MS Ventures); Stephen O’Shea (The Concept Studio); and Mark Segall (Kidron Corporate Advisors)

Alison O'Riordan

Three years ago, a video-editing software company was just beginning in the basement of the Barry family home in Dublin 6, led by three ambitious siblings.

Fast forward to 2015 and the sister and two brothers behind Trakax, which pledges to make it easier for everyone to create their own original videos, are already on the yellow brick road to worldwide success.

Only recently they were asked to ring the Nasdaq stock market opening bell in Times Square, New York, after winning the 'best start-up pitch' sponsored by Nasdaq and Enterprise Ireland Pitching at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

The trio behind the video-editing platform are Catriona, Cormac and Colm Barry.

Catriona is CEO of the firm which aims to make creating videos for Windows and Android fun. The low-key company's mantra speaks for itself - 'Everyone can be creative, they just need the right tools.' You can imagine that on a million banner adverts in Silicon Valley.

However it's been a "complex evolution" for the firm, as three years ago the Barrys pivoted the company entirely to concentrate on doing their own products and gave up other development and consultancy work.

"Our products are targeted at beginners in the area of multimedia, who need software solutions that are quick and easy to use, but allow them to get the best out of all their digital media," says Catriona who previously worked with Western Union and in a lawyer's office before she caught the digital video bug.

Her two brothers soon joined her, creating video-editing software for the mass market under the trakax brand.

"I was involved since day one, while my brother Cormac was very much into music technology and video mixing - so I was asking him for advice and getting feedback.

"He joined after leaving his job in Boston with the e-learning company Riverdeep. My other brother Colm was doing various corporate roles and was interested in being a bit more creative - so he came on board. And it worked out great, so he joined," says leader of the pack Catriona.

So, hand on heart, what is it really like working alongside your two brothers?

"There are obviously challenges and you have got to get used to each other. You leave how you used to be as teenagers at the door and it becomes great fun. We trust each other implicitly and that's a great way to work," answers Catriona, who now works out of the Trinity Technology and Enterprise Campus, which has been helping to start and sustain small Irish businesses for 25 years.

The company's Android product (Trakax) and the Windows product (TrakaxPC) are designed to enable users with little or no video-editing experience turn their captured videos into compelling, interesting and fun movies.

"When it came to creating videos we felt that Apple had really enabled their users to be very creative with their products. But if you were on a Windows PC or an Android device, it was really difficult. We wanted to create a product that would allow you to get going really quickly and start creating videos.

"At the moment video editing is really caught between two stools: you have simple tools that don't allow you to do too much, or you take a really big leap to professional tools - we wanted to bridge that gap and give consumers the tools so they could get going quickly but also grow with their software."

Trakax is primarily aimed at enthusiastic home users who want to capture high-quality original videos and it is also proving very popular with schools who want to embrace how children enjoy making creative videos.

"Another important client base are small businesses, some with less than five employees, who are really interested in creating videos to share on Facebook or YouTube, explaining their skills, stories and people behind their products and services."

Catriona stresses that it's not just a video-editing platform, saying trakax supplies all the resources a client needs to get going.

"As well as the software we give users useful resources and tools, explain what kind of content they should be recording, how they edit it, how they can share it and how they can put it on YouTube and their website.

"At the moment you can buy TrakaxPC and there is a one-off payment. You can access all our additional tools and resources for free. There is a free trial as well so anyone can go online and try it out if interested," adds business savvy Catriona.

What about the size of the market out there?

"It's so huge that it is hard to define it exactly. At the moment millions and millions of people are recording videos but they're not doing anything with them. Most of the time, it stays on their phone or camera - so really it is for anyone.

"Although videos seem to be around a long time, much more people are embracing the possibilities that video presents."

The young Irish start-up recently announced that Dale Sohn, former president and CEO of Samsung Telecommunications America, joined their executive leadership team and was elected to the board of the company. This heavyweight will provide his expertise in areas of licensing, partnership development and with marketing and sales strategies.

"Some years ago we were doing some work for Samsung and we met Dale in Korea when we were doing development work. Dale was looking for opportunities to mentor small companies - and we just approached him.

"He takes a very active role in the company. We have a call with him every Friday and he is like a mentor. He gives us his experience of product development and advice on the right marketing opportunities - for us as a small team, it's really been invaluable.

"We are just beginning a fundraising programme at the moment, so we're trying to push that ahead and that will be our focus for the next three to six months.

"In the next three to five years we want Trakax to be the go-to platform for anyone who would like to create a video - so whether it's the first time they have ever created a video, or whether it's a small business who are looking for interesting ways to embrace video marketing, we would like Trakax to be the company where they learn about all the opportunities that video can give.

"We would like to become a major player in the creative video community on mobiles, tablets and desktops."

So with the sky the limit, does the CEO perhaps see trakax floating on NASDAQ in the future?

"We are taking it one step at a time. When you see what the possibilities are, obviously these things run through your head - but we have a bit of a way to go yet but you never know," adds the effervescent Barry.

TrakaxPC is now available to download for free from www.trakax.com

Sunday Indo Business

Also in Business