Challenge: Helping the film sector address a real-time need here and now
Solution: Turning to the cloud and offering what no one else does
It was the turn of the millennium, and Mark Kennedy and Chad House were itching to introduce a disruptive technology that would reshape an industry. “We had a grand ambition to build a product, but we didn’t know what product or what sector. We were two geek mercenaries looking for a war,” says Mark, CEO of Celtx.
It didn’t take long to find a home for their energy and expertise. The two entrepreneurs quickly settled on the film and TV industry.
“The more we looked at the sector, the more we realized the early part of the production process had been ignored. It was still in the horse-and-buggy era,” says Mark.
That is no longer the case thanks to Celtx, established in 2000. Today, it offers firms and professionals in the film and TV sector a means of kick-starting production, using cloud-based planning tools that enable them to create better content, faster. The St. John’s-based company has developed and successfully commercialized the Celtx Studios, a pre-production system used by media creators that covers every aspect of the film and TV production process from the development of the idea to screenwriting, visualization, breakdown, scheduling and budgeting, and Celtx GEM, a story development tool used by media creators to manage interactive narratives in the gaming and virtual reality industries.
In 2012, the software company moved quickly and almost exclusively to cloud-based products, and business boomed. The number of employees more than tripled, to roughly 35. Today, 97 per cent of business comes from outside Canada, from production and creative centres including London, Los Angeles, New York, Sydney and Sao Paulo.
“We were first in the market,” says Mark. “Our competitors could never really catch up.”
The company ensures it offers an innovative and efficient solution. Celtx Studios, for example, replaces paper and binder with a digital approach that is more efficient, easier to use, and better aligned with the real-time collaborative needs of team-based media production. And it continues to gain traction in the market with 300,000 unique creatives using the software each month. Over 75,000 new creatives either download the Celtx mobile apps or register on the main website each month and more than 100,000 media projects are started in Celtx Studios every month.
Mark says entrepreneurs need two attributes to be successful: elbow grease and long-term vision. “Be prepared for how hard it all is,” he stresses. “There are all kinds of ups and downs. Believe in your idea and your company.”
Accessing financial capital is something the Government of Canada recognizes as critical to building, growing and scaling a business. With support from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the government is enabling Celtx to capitalize on its “first to market” position with its innovative cloud-based software. An investment of $500,000 will allow Celtx to expand its business development by increasing staff, participating in key industry events, and other important marketing activities.
Celtx is a prime example of how innovation and resourcefulness fuel Atlantic Canada’s economy, at home and beyond.
Do you have a business concept? Do you have an innovative idea to improve or grow your business? For more information on programs and services available to businesses in Atlantic Canada call 1-800-561-7862 or go to canada.ca/acoa