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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Get to know a Toronto startup: Set Scouter

Set ScouterIt's inevitable that our city's much-celebrated reputation as Hollywood North would inspire clever business ideas to cater to the thriving local film industry. Set Scouter is just such an idea.

Launched in July 2013, Set Scouter is a Toronto-based marketplace connecting filmmakers looking to book the perfect set with location owners looking to rent out their spaces. The website has over 100 locations currently listed and a constantly expanding catalogue of spaces. Since launch the site has received consistent requests from producers looking for new and different locations around our city, surely a sign that this startup is on to something.

Founder Alex Kolodkin explains how Set Scouter is planning to make the tedious, old-school location scouting process faster, easier and more affordable.

What motivated you to start Set Scouter?

The idea for Set Scouter came to me after facing my own challenges finding locations while working in the production industry and in my related undergraduate degree. By the time I was finding locations for projects in grad school, I realized that nothing had changed. Location scouting was still difficult, frustrating and time consuming. Not only do locations take a significant chunk out of the total production budget, finding the perfect set eats up a lot of time and energy. Dealing with an expensive location scout or hours cold calling was still the norm. I knew there had to be a better way. Eventually I asked myself, am I going to be the one to change things? And so Set Scouter was born.

How does your startup generate revenue?

Set Scouter only makes money once a location is booked. On listings under $350 a 5% service fee is added to the filmmaker's checkout. The service charge drops to 3.5% on listings over $351. We also take a flat fee of 15% from location owners when the booking process is completed.

Are there any other startups competing in this space?

Our major competitor is really just the outdated, manual process of securing a location for a production. Filmmakers do not have access to a variety of locations for productions and that is a constant pain-point for the industry, especially for new filmmakers on lower-to-mid budget productions. Our goal is to create a more organized approach to browsing private listings and booking locations, saving time, energy and money.

Can you share any examples of how Set Scouter has helped out a production team in a pinch?

We celebrated our launch by securing a key location for Canadian pop-rock group Hedley's newest music video Anything. The production company, The Field Inc., spent more than a week looking for a distinct swimming pool to use as a backdrop for the video before discovering Set Scouter. It took only 48 hours for us to help the company secure their ideal location. It was a really great feeling to help our first client, not to mention that it was pretty awesome being on set for a music video with such a fun band.

So, what's next?

While we continue to make improvements to the web app, including adding reviews, we also want to create a mobile app which would make it more convenient for producers to browse when they're not at a desk. We're also looking for strategic partnerships to help facilitate more location matches and to continue growing our impact in Toronto's production industry, which would allow us to expand to other cities in Canada.

by Anna Starasts via blogTO

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