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Information and communications technology stories

IT innovator ‘bites’ into global market

Edition 194_Biteable

Hobart high-tech start-up, Biteable, is quickly becoming recognised as a world leader in its niche market – proving you can make it big without leaving home.

Unless you are an IT buff, you probably haven’t heard of Biteable.

Nevertheless, it is an impressive Tasmanian success story.

Biteable describes itself as ‘the world’s simplest video maker’ cashing in on the boom in web-based promotional and training videos and it is causing big waves both here, and abroad.

Put simply, Biteable is an innovative on-line tool that allows users to create professional-looking internet videos in minutes, and in this specialised market it is considered one of the best.

All this in just four years.

“There is a lot of competition in the market that we work in; but yes, we are regarded as amongst the best in the world,” co-founder James MacGregor explained.

“We have always had a very clear vision of what we want to achieve.”

Biteable has only been going since 2014 but results speak for themselves.

Three million subscribers – 96 per cent of whom are from overseas, mostly the USA – who produce more than 100,000 on-line videos each month.

This clearly debunks any thoughts you can’t take on the world from Tasmania.

“That is just a state of mind,” Mr MacGregor said.

“We work remotely with a lot of people all over the world, ensuring we tap into the best possible talent available.

“The beauty of the internet is that location is less of a deliverer of success.”

Biteable is the brainchild of three Hobart entrepreneurs: Mr MacGregor the CEO and marketing director, his brother Simon Westlake the creative guru, and old friend Tommy Fotak the technological wizard.

“We have the marketer, the designer and the engineer,” Mr MacGregor explains.

“Each of us brings different skills to the table which is one of the keys to our success.”

All three are also all alumni of the University of Tasmania (UTAS).

Mr MacGregor and Mr Fotak both studied software engineering. Mr Fotak went down the technical path, while Mr MacGregor headed to Sydney, Melbourne and London where he launched start-ups for software companies.

Mr Westlake is an animated movie specialist who graduated with a degree in fine arts.

“We are all united in our passion for film and animation, and our quest to deliver videos that look like they have been produced in a professional studio,” Mr MacGregor explained.

Biteable has its headquarters in Hobart’s CBD which serves as the engineering and technical hub. The company opened an office in Melbourne last year which is where their animation and film studio is now based.

Together both offices employ 25 people but that is expected to blow out to 50 people within the next 12 months.

An expansion that has been aided by two successful rounds of funding: $1.1 million seed funding in 2015 and another $2.8 million earlier this year.

Yet despite all this success, Mr MacGregor said the magnitude of what they have achieved has not really sunk in as they are simply too busy: “Every day there is so much to do, that you don't have time to stand back and comprehend what is happening.”

However, on the rare occasions that these three Hobart entrepreneurs do manage to slip away from their growing IT empire they all relax in very different ways.

Simon Westlake is a talented artist with a passion for animation and film.

Tommy Fotak is described as a ‘sports nut’ who is especially mad about soccer which he coaches.

While James MacGregor can be spotted as a DJ in Hobart pub spinning his vinyl records and sharing a passion for 70’s funk music.

All three very different, but all sharing the same goal: “We dream of pioneering a new market for video content on-line,” Mr MacGregor explained.

“Our focus is to be the leader in producing studio quality videos.

“We strive for perfection.”

Clearly, it is working.

Image courtesy of Biteable

3 May 2018, Edition 194

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