Interview: Interflix’s co-founder Harry Chadwick shares their incredible journey post the Creative Enterprise Evolve programme
INTERFLIX is a brand and entertainment company creating interactive content for the masses. With up to 76% of people choosing to skip online ads, INTERFLIX allows audiences to engage with ads more by giving them greater control over what they’re seeing. They achieve this in a range of ways: producing film/adverts that allow audiences to empathise and connect with characters, gamification that gives control over characters and greater monitoring of data to allow for a better understanding of audiences’ behaviours. Interactive content has the potential to encourage up to 90% of an audience to complete an ad, achieve 68% recall and increase products added to baskets by 41%. Since being established by founders Grace and Harry, the company has welcomed an impressive array of clients, including luxury yachting company Burgess and Kally sleep, with many more to be announced in the near future.
We welcomed founders Grace and Harry to last year’s Creative England Evolve programme and have watched on as they’ve gone from strength to strength. We sat down with Harry to discuss their experience of the programme, how the programme’s Angel Investor mentors helped them to navigate the investment landscape and what’s next on the horizon for them.
Tell us a little bit about your experience of taking part in the Evolve 2021 programme
I want to try to sum everything up as succinctly as possible, so if I’m going to go for one word, I think it would be intense but in the best possible way. Everyone involved in the programme was extremely knowledgeable and they understand what’s required from a startup seeking investment; they helped us look at our product from an investment perspective, they’re looking at their own interest in it and what else they’d need to see from us. Mentors involved in the programme like Kieran Battles, who is an angel investor himself, knew exactly what potential investors were going to be looking for. And so, it was it’s an educational process in the sense that you’re then understanding from a business perspective what investors are looking for, and how to best fit your narrative to what they want from it from an investment perspective.
‘Everyone involved in the programme was extremely knowledgeable and they understand what’s required from a startup seeking investment’
What practical steps for investment readiness did Evolve take you through and how were these helpful?
From a fundamental standpoint, a big part of the programme was about getting your pitch deck together. But more than that, it was about understanding all aspects associated with it: forecasting costings, dividing the business structure into quarters, even your five year plan, so that when you put that into your pitch deck, you really understood what was required. Putting those words on paper is great, but then you have to go and fulfill that, should you get investment. The programme had a broad focus, it wasn’t like ‘let’s make a document that will get your investment’, it’s then how do you deliver on that as well, and that’s what the Evolve programme helped us do. It didn’t just leave you at that stage, it looked at the five-year process and helped you develop a plan on how to make that come to life.
‘The programme had a broad focus, it wasn’t like ‘let’s make a document that will get your investment’, it’s then how do you deliver on that as well’
What investment option did you choose and why was this the best option for you?
We went with private equity investment, because it was the best option for us, especially as a creative company. With interactive technology you have to have a little bit of leeway with the journey of investment; it’s so new that we knew that there was going to be that barrier to adoption. Having investors that came on board that understood that process was great for us. Originally we were doing standard film and wanted to go into interactive software, and the Evolve scheme actually guided us away from that. We knew that we were good at, which is the data on the backend that we were getting from our interactive films. The investors could see that 80% of people were finishing our feature films, which is far longer than standard adverts and said why don’t you take this aspect and commercialise it. So our business is now split into two sections: one is brand-related and the other is original content. In the original content side of the business, we offer product placement for brands, and then if they feature in the film, we say to them we can also help make product videos, adverts for your product, so we’re an interactive advert firm too. On the film side of the business, as part of the Evolve programme, Creative England UKBAA released a press pack related to the programme and that attracted a new client.
So far we’ve had success in with Burgess, who are in the luxury yachting sector, which has been really good. We create a bespoke experience, which I think is what the luxury consumer market is really looking for. We’ve also talking with companies like Bike Club, who are subscription-based service for children’s bikes. Kally sleep, who are UK sleep specialists. We create much more of a bespoke narrative-based advert that basically gives the audience a piece of information that they need.
‘We ended up raising nearly double what we were initially seeking, which we really put down to the work we did with Evolve’
Whilst you had support from Angel Investor mentors throughout the programme, can you elaborate on why private investment was the best route for you?
We knew that it would be a five-year plan for return on investment. We went with UK-based private investors, who are both brand owners themselves, they really understood the journey. The main investor introduced us to his business partner and we ended up raising nearly double what we were initially seeking, which we really put down to the work we did with Evolve. The other partner said that it really was the best pitch laid out pitch he had ever seen.
Our Evolve mentor didn’t pull any punches, which I’m saying in a good way. Making sure that the pitch for our product, which was arguably one of the most complicated investment options on the Evolve programme because interactive technology is new in and of itself, so it was great to hear that we’d done such a good job.
Could you tell us a little bit more about the standout feature of Interflix’s product?
At its core basic level, we produce clickable videos. But what that means from a business perspective is that we can collect unobtrusive data and data is now more valuable than gold. Giving audiences’ videos that they can choose and enjoy and engage with and in turn have better brand recall rates, as well as collecting unobtrusive data that we can then give back to those brands is one of the huge standout features. But it doesn’t just stop there, we can also do sort of text overlays, direct shopping links. So you can be watching a video, let’s say, a fashion show, for example, and say you like that top, you could click on the top, and it would just add it to your basket without leaving the video.
You’ve already achieved and grown so much, what’s next for Interflix?
A sector that we haven’t looked into is B2B: we’re in a position to deliver companies’ messages in a much more succinct way. We’re talking to a company at the moment who provide a huge range of products and services, but there’s quite a lot of content on their website. We can develop options to narrow funnel down what a business is looking for, it makes the whole process far more succinct.
We’re looking at the financial sector too. A lot of big consultancies like Deloitte and PwC produce video content to let staff know what’s happening within the company, but it can be hours worth of content when you have all the different departments. Whereas our sort of video application could really help save companies like that time and money.
We’re always looking at using our technology in different ways and how we can help brands and companies utilise it to save money, marketing money and collect unobtrusive data as well.
We were delighted to be involved in last year’s iteration of the Creative Enterprise Evolve programme and work directly with Interflix at different points throughout. It was fantastic to witness their growth throughout the programme and to follow the impressive trajectory they’ve experienced since it ended. We’re a part of the programme again this year, providing the latest batch of innovative creative businesses with access to our investment community. Find out more about each of the businesses taking part here.