Name: Saif Rahman
Name Of Company: Mobile First Entertainment
Saif Rahman is a tech entrepreneur and the CEO of Mobile First Entertainment. A company that can boast to being the first company to create FREE video apps for content producers. Saif conceived this idea through the belief that people who create video should have more control over their digital profile, and be able to manage it from one central place.
Mobile First Entertainment is peppered with social sensibilities that aim to disrupt the capitalist confounds of the tech world. Saif set out with the belief that having a personal or business video app is a right, not a privilege. Through his company Mobile First Entertainment he is creating a solid framework which will ensure that mobile video is free to all people, both creators and engagers.
Saif and his team are on a mission to give full and direct control to content producers, so that no one gets left behind in the mobile future.
In this exclusive interview, we catch up with Saif Rahman and discuss all things video content, crowdfunding and Africa.
How to Launch a Succesful Video Content Startup
Prince: Can you describe Mobile First Entertainment, and the idea and concept as if I knew nothing about it or the market?
SAIF: Mobile First is a platform for content creators to put their branded video apps in their own space. So, basically, a YouTuber, a Viner, or anyone that creates videos can be an entrepreneur and own their own content.
The concept came about a year and a half ago when came up with an idea of producing a mobile talk show. Things just progressed and developed from then on.
Prince: You are the first company to create free video apps for content creators; how did you identify this opportunity?
SAIF: We met with different entertainment companies (A.Smith and Co., Fremantle Media, Disney, The Tennis Channel and NBC Universal) and they told us there was no money in mobile video. At the time it was such a new concept and platform. Through our research we identified that people were watching more content on their mobile phones, so we decided to do something different and open up the space for other content creators such as YouTubers, Vine stars and athletes.
We saw an article on eMarketer, which reported that advertisement companies were pouring money into the mobile space by the billions. At that point we felt it was worth pursuing.
SAIF: The hub is a web portal that we built. Through this web portal our clients can simply login to put their videos on their own app. As a client you would sign in and place your content onto the portal. Once you upload the video it will then encode your video. When the encoding is done you will be able to publish your video into your own app. It will process like any other platform that uses video.
Prince: How important was it for you to make this idea a reality and why?
SAIF: It was so important! In a world where tech companies are really beginning to control content, we felt it was so important to have creators have a say in the future of digital. Mobile is that important.
Prince: What initial steps did you take to create the company/brand from scratch?
SAIF: We researched and learned so much to make sure that we did things correctly.
Having a great legal team gave us the support that we needed and ensured that we got things right. Manatt, Phelps and Philips are a great firm and we are happy to be with them.
SAIF: There were a lot of challenges that we, as a team, had to overcome. When you have a single developer it makes it harder to actually get everything done that you need in a fast, steady pace. Our competitors had already secured funding through their major corporate connections. We had to build something viable with little to no money. It made us really delve into the brainstorming process as to how we could be creative and raise enough money on our own. Every time we heard “no” from any investor it made our drive even stronger and we used this to move forward.
Prince: You have recently benefited from a crowdfunding exercise, why did you choose this method to raise funds to finance your business, and how did you achieve it?
SAIF: We chose to go with Kickstarter because if our friends and family don’t believe in our product, then maybe we’re going the wrong way. We wanted to get the word out about MFE (Mobile First Entertainment). With us doing that, and working with a PR company, we had some press, which is what we were looking for. We had a five-man team working Facebook, twitter, Instagram, green inbox and other crowdfunding sites. It was an awesome feeling to achieve $30,000 because we knew that we poured our hearts and soul into achieving our goal.
Prince: How do you intend to use the funds?
SAIF: We intend to use the funds for storage and encoding. It costs a lot of money to scale and test a product. Digital costs are a necessary evil.
Prince: What are your plans for national and global expansion?
SAIF: The greatest thing about an app is that it’s already global because it’s in the iOS and Android store. We are thinking about expanding globally by trying to bring on clients such as a basket mouth from Nigeria and people of his calibre from different countries around the world.
Prince: How important is the African Market to your long-term strategy and how do you intend to approach it?
SAIF: There are some extremely exciting things happening in Africa at the moment with regards to African businesses and entrepreneurs. It’s very important to us to bring the market to Africa.
Africa is quickly becoming known as the “mobile continent”. Researchers are predicting that Internet use on mobile phones will increase 20-fold in the next five years – double the rate of growth in the rest of the world. Not everyone has a television, but mobile phones are widely accessible, and huge growth is being experienced especially with smartphones.
Because of this people can actually watch video content on their phone, which is key to our product.
We are also interested in targeting the Nollywood market, which is one of Nigeria’s biggest exports and has had a huge impact in the U.S, Europe and globally.
Prince: Can you give us your Top 5 pieces of Advice on raising funds for a startup through crowd funding?
SAIF: The five pieces of advice that I would give are:
- Have a great team.
- Make sure you research two months in advance how you’re going to tackle the crowdfunding campaign.
- Remember that there aren’t any days off during crowdfunding.
- If you could afford it, have a PR firm. From that, get some press for your campaign.
- No retreat, no surrender and have a “we will not lose” mentality
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