Internet famous: Subchat helps mobilise fans on the web
UTS Business PhD candidate Peter Graham and Jon Farrell are bringing online celebrities and fans closer together through their UTS startup Subchat, helping more content creators turn a profit on the web.
Give us your elevator pitch – what is your startup?
Subchat connects content creators with their supporters like never before. On Subchat, you can chat one-on-one with all your favourite YouTube, Instagram, Twitch and TikTok content creators in the one place. We are passionate about helping people have creative careers and believe the best way to do that is to connect them with their biggest supporters!
What's the problem your startup is solving?
Currently there is no flexible one-to-one platform for engaging with and supporting content creators. This leaves many creators with few ways to develop a stable income and produce content full-time. Subchat solves this problem by offering an intuitive and scalable marketplace for one-to-one conversation. This mission matters to the Subchat team because we believe everyone deserves to have a creative career that they're passionate about! We’ve been working on Subchat for a little over a year now and are looking forward to the long road ahead for the platform.
What is the link between your startup and your research?
My research considers how project management practices in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) can be optimised to deliver 5th Generation [aircraft and technological] capability. The learnings I have taken from how air forces around the globe deliver revolutionary innovations have informed my approach to managing the project. We can learn a lot about how small teams achieve big results from military breakthroughs like Sidewinder, NULKA, Wedgetail and the Manhattan Project.
What was your tipping point that prompted you to pursue your idea?
Subchat began almost overnight after a meeting with Tim Fung, the founder of Airtasker. By pure coincidence, it arose the following day that a relative was friends with the product designer of Airtasker and, inspired by Tim’s story, I immediately got in touch. Since then we have been working with a small team to build our vision. The journey has been full of challenges, but with the wealth of experience on our team, we’re confident we can create the best place for all creators to connect one-on-one with their supporters.
For anyone considering starting a venture, my advice would be to start right now and look for learning, not success. Work out what you need to know and take small steps to get there - you don’t need to turn your life upside down!
What key challenges and successes have you faced so far?
The biggest challenge we have faced so far is finding awesome people for our team. We know that at their core, companies are people. We want to ensure everyone at Subchat understands and is passionate about empowering content creators to have the careers they deserve.
We’ve also faced technical challenges in realising our platform and we know there will be plenty more in the future, but provided we have the right people working together towards a clear vision, we know we can overcome them.
A great success was in September, when we launched the Subchat brand at VidCon Australia. It was a fantastic opportunity to engage with the Australian creator community over a prototype product. We received valuable feedback and ideas from up-and-coming creators, through to champions of the Australian YouTube scene.
What next big milestone are you going after? What do you need for it and how should people reach you?
Our next big milestone is launching in the US. Until now, Subchat has only been available in Australia while we work to refine the platform. Soon, however, we will be looking to launch in the US and open the platform up to all the remarkable creators living there.