Ottawa-based You.i TV is a video – app experience platform that helps TV, Media and Entertainment companies -build the best experiences for their viewers and subscribers on every screen. With their flagship product, You.i Engine One, you can write and maintain one codebase that powers all your apps on all your target platforms, allowing you to deliver stunning interfaces on any device.
Over the past five years, the company has grown its revenue by more than 1000% and currently has a team of approximately 200 employees, 95% of which are based in Ontario. As for You.i Engine One, it is currently powering over 10 million in-market app installations for 14 major industry powerhouses.
In 2010, You.i TV received funding from the Embedded Executive program to hire Don Liberty as its vice-president of Business Development. Eight years later, Liberty has been central in building out the sales function, the growth strategy for the business, and has become a key industry influencer which has been a critical part of the You.i TV success story. Liberty is still leading the Business Development team, and Jason Flick, co-founder and CEO of You.i TV, shared that hiring him “probably would not have been possible without the funding received from Embedded Executive.”
A common challenge startups face is the ability to attract executive talent at an early stage. Finding the right person is one thing. Finding a person with the right risk profile is another. Not only do you need to persuade the individual that joining your team is worth the risk, but it’s also difficult to offer an attractive salary. When you’re still a young venture, buying into the promise and the financial composition of what you’re signing up to can be complicated. For those reasons, the Embedded Executive program exists, ensuring startups are able to hire the talent they need to grow and become globally competitive.
OSVP & Business Acceleration Program Funding
Since 2010, You.i TV has taken part in various provincial funding initiatives, including the Ontario Scale-Up Vouchers Program (OSVP) and the Business Acceleration Program’s Embedded Executive Funding. Flick says, “We used a lot of different funding programs, and we certainly wouldn’t be here without them.”
More recently, You.i TV is the recipient of a $1-million voucher from the OSVP. When asked about how the OSVP funds were spent, Flick says, “The first part of the OSVP funding allowed us to accelerate our expansion into Latin America, and the second chunk was more focused on expanding to Europe, and we have already closed some significant deals in both of those regions.”
The OSVP funding not only allowed You.i TV to expand internationally but also helped them attract large clients and gave their team the ability to officially launch its international programming at the International Broadcasting Convention, the world’s most influential media, entertainment and technology show. “We can attribute those first two large accounts to the OSVP, and both of those accounts continue to drive revenue growth and are now anchors as we go after others,” says Flick, who founded You.i TV back in 2007.
In addition to monetary funding, OSVP ventures are given a growth coach to support them in executing their growth plans. In fall 2017, You.i TV was assigned Dennis Ensing from MaRS as its growth coach. Over the past year, Ensing has supported the company by helping refine the details of its international expansion, actively redefining its pricing model and also mentoring members of the senior leadership team.
“Dennis has been very helpful since being assigned as our growth coach,” says Flick. “He’s been able to help from both a market and strategy point of view given his unique experience in a like market. An excellent pairing.” After successfully receiving an OSVP voucher, You.i TV has continued to work with Ensing and requested additional time to meet more frequently to receive the mentorship and support needed to scale the business.
Decreasing Barriers to Growth
Over the past decade, the continuous support of government programs has played an important role in decreasing the barriers to rapid growth for startups. During You.i TV’s early years, the Embedded Executive Funding program enabled it to bring on key executive talent to lead its Business Development team. Then, as You.i TV grew, the OSVP allowed it to expand internationally and take advantage of global opportunities.
Both funding programs stepped in at critical parts in You.i TV’s journey, supporting its exceptional growth over the years. Whether it’s through the company’s large customer base, its impressive revenue growth or its commitment to innovation, it’s clear that You.i TV will not only continue to offer stunning video experiences but is also certainly on track to build the future of TV.