Around´s co-founder discusses the origins of the company, the challenges of competing in a highly innovative market with few competitors, and the future strategy based on product development, such as the Amwatching content platform.
– How was Around born?
– In 2007, I was working in technology for the broadcasting industry. I worked in Vizrt, a Norwegian company with an excellent reputation in the market. At that time, with David Levy and Andrés Carjuzaa, we came up with the idea of creating our own services company based on two main cornerstones: employees and clients. Regarding our staff, the goal was for everyone to feel comfortable as a team player and with their minds set on the company´s growth because if the business thrived, we would all thrive.
As for clients, we aimed for close, human collaboration, focused on making projects progress successfully.
– Did you want to differentiate yourselves from a technological standpoint as well?
– The technological factor is vital, but as I have mentioned before, we are focused on excellence. Right from the start, the goal has always been being ready for any opportunity, and most importantly, doing a good job.
We work in a specific niche, with only a few companies offering similar services to ours. In fact, in Argentina, and even in the whole region, we are THE experts on innovative solutions for broadcasting.
We are continually working to position ourselves as experts in the field, but also as high-quality providers. We are an agile company, and we always try to find the best solution for every situation we face. That’s because we are innovative and because we want our clients to be satisfied with our technological results. This sounds obvious, but there are big service providers that do not interact with their clients for months or that need a ridiculous amount of time to prepare a proposal. It is true that, as a startup, you would not even last a month if you followed that policy, but in our case, it goes beyond convenience: it is how we define our culture.
– Is the lack of competition beneficial or detrimental to you, since it removes the pressure of having to innovate in the market, for example?
– In the TV world, unwinding is impossible. Innovation is key to solving clients’ everyday problems. I would even say that consumers drive innovation because they are continually demanding a more complex and customized digital experience. In addition, standards are continually changing, so we always need to be on the alert to satisfy the clients’ needs. Our innovation driver comprises the projects that we work on and the products we are currently developing for our clients.
– How did you get into the world of broadcasting?
– After studying IT at CAECE University, in 2003, I started working as a programmer for Gizmo, an agency that specialized in 3D graphs, rendering and animations, and which also worked on web development. At one point, they signed an agreement with TN, the Argentine news channel, to update their visual image and, for that, they used some tools of Vizrt. At the time, they realized that the animators would not be enough to finish the project and that they would also need programmers. A friend and I filled that position and, as they were so satisfied with the final result and with our performance working with Vizrt tools that the Norwegian company hired us.
– When did Around consolidate in the market? Who were your first clients?
– We had made a good impression at Vizrt, when some of the companies we worked with knew we were creating our own business, they started contacting us. At first, it was word of mouth and being sought out. In 2014, the same year we started our operations, our portfolio included Fox, Globosat and even Vizrt, a company that we never really left.
– What are your main future challenges?
– The development of our own products is a big initiative. Working on specific projects is very valuable for us since we can learn what happens inside TV channels, understand the ups and downs of the market and get to know the needs that arise from one moment to the next. But, with time, products remain, and that gives us the possibility to implement continuous improvement and innovation strategies to reach the highest quality possible. We know we can unleash our full potential with these products, which would, of course, go hand in hand with the professional services we always offer and with the projects that we will still work on.
Among the different development projects we are working on, the most challenging is Amwatching, an integral content platform that forces us to think about the business opportunities that might come along.