Over the past few months, I founded a startup that lets people livestream their weddings.
Here is how the startup process worked for me.
Step 1: Problem: My wife and I got married July 2017. Some of my family lives in New Jersey and some live across the ocean in Israel. My wife’s family is from Florida and so that was where our wedding was. We wanted to livestream the wedding for guests who wouldn’t be able to make the trip down to Florida.
We thought it would be simple to livestream the wedding using my mother-in-law’s iPad. However, finding an app for such a live streaming service ended up being way more challenging than expected. We looked into Google Hangouts, Periscope, and more, and none of them worked out for us.
We asked friends who’d gotten married. They live streamed their wedding using Facebook but it seemed to us that people without Facebook accounts wouldn’t be able to watch our wedding. (Five months late, I found out this wasn’t true, but that was five months too late.)
In the end, it took us three hours of Google searching, phone calls with various live streaming services, about $100 on new software, and about five hours of setting and connecting everything on the iPad.
First, we spent a $100 on a 30-day temporary account on a mobile live streaming service called uStream. Next, we used the free website building software Weebly to build a wedding site and connect it to uStream. Because we only paid for a 30-day temporary uStream account, all our videos were set to get deleted when our uStream account would expire. So we also had to connect our uStream & Weebly setup to YouTube so that all videos would get permanently transferred to YouTube prior to our uStream getting deleted. Though we got married in July, our website is still up and running. You can see our final live streaming website at michelleandmoshe.weebly.com
Once we set everything up, we logged into uStream mobile on my mother-in-law’s iPad. On our wedding day, we gave the iPad to our wedding photographer’s assistant who took the live stream and filmed our wedding.
We were happy with the final product. The livestream worked perfectly and everything came out great. However, the learning curve and the pricing to set it all up was steep. It took several hours of learning the new technologies plus $100 to get everything up and running. It would have been much more convenient if there was a simpler, low-cost method to livestream our wedding. The experience made me realize there was a market for an easy do-it-yourself method to livestream weddings and other events.
Even if such a live streaming service existed, it was clearly not easy to discover. I’d spoken to many people, done lots of research on search engines, and still had not found any easy live-streaming tool. If we had this pain-point, it seemed there would be thousands of other brides and grooms with the same problem and willing to spend money to solve it.
And that’s how my wedding gave me a startup idea. It gave me a pain-point. This was a legitimate issue that had a market audience of thousands of people. My wedding preparations had allowed me to spend many hours researching the problem and frustratingly coming to realize there seemed to be no easy-to-find solutions. I was frustrated. Other brides and grooms were similarly frustrated. And so, boom! Just like that, the idea for my live-streaming startup was born. I was going to solve this pain-point.
Step 2: Waiting
I had just gotten married and life was busy. There wasn’t any time to really look into mass-producing an app that would make it easy to livestream weddings. It wasn’t until about two months after our wedding that I had time to look into building my own live streaming service. But the waiting period was essential, it allowed me to think things over and realize that two months later I was still excited about the whole idea. And so that’s when I began moving forward.
Step 3: Market Research
At the time, I was taking courses in how to be a software developer. I was still just a beginner though, and wouldn’t have been able to build a high-quality live streaming app on my own. So I looked into ways to hire others to build it for me.
I discovered a software company called StreamHash who specialized in building custom live streaming apps. I spoke to them and they gave me many ideas of how the final product ought to look like. Though they very friendly and helpful, hiring them would have cost me several thousand dollars. I simply didn’t have that money to spend. Plus I did not really know whether I would be able to make this idea profitable or not. My live streaming app proposal had never actually been tested in the real world. Nor did I have a plan for how to promote the app even if I had StreamHash build it.
Bottom line, I had no proof of concept that this idea would be profitable. Spending thousands of dollars would have been a shot in the dark.
And so it seemed I was temporarily stuck. For several weeks, progress was at a standstill. Then, at some point, someone came to me for help. They told me their niece was getting married overseas. They had watched the livestream of our wedding and asked me how I had done it. As I was thinking of what to tell them, it suddenly occurred to me that there might be a far easier and simpler way to livestream. It was one word: Facebook.
What if it were possible to set up a unique Facebook wedding page, and livestream straight to it from a mobile phone? Would non-Facebook users also be able to visit the website and see the livestream? Would Facebook solve the pain-points?
I jumped onto my computer and began putting together a practice Facebook page. In less than an hour, I ended up with what I wanted: a sample Facebook Livestreaming Wedding Page. And the live streaming worked perfectly!
Step 4: Take Action
If people knew how to set up Facebook wedding pages, it would solve ALL the pain-points. The problem was no one knew about it. As of the writing of this article, January 29th 2017, if you do a Google search for “How to Livestream Your Wedding” a good instructional guide to using Facebook will NOT come up in your searches. Even if Facebook does come up, it will likely refer to an old blog from 2015 that refers to how to use Facebook to livestream straight to your news feed.
That “solution” will not give you a customized website plus it will restrict non-Facebook users from viewing anything you post; so for many brides and grooms such advice would not be helpful. Rather, using Facebook to first set up Facebook wedding pages is what would solve ALL the pain-points. To summarize, the perfect solution DID exist but no one knew about it nor would it show up on a Google search.
So my next step was simple: build a website teaching people how to livestream their weddings using Facebook.
First, I had to make sure Facebook would work. Luckily, I had been invited to weddings over following weeks. I asked the brides and grooms if I could live stream their weddings for them. Most said yes.
I set up Facebook pages for each of their weddings, and during it, I live streamed straight to the web pages and it worked.
I began building a website with clear instructions on how to livestream weddings for free. I used a website builder Weebly to design the site, which went live two weeks ago, at livestreamyourwedding.weebly.com Anyone can visit the website and instantly set up their own live streaming in less than 15 minutes. Problem solved.
Currently, the website makes money solely through donations. It gets about two – five new visitors a day. It’s been a busy month for me at work and so I haven’t yet dedicated much effort to promoting it. As word-of-mouth spreads, I expect its daily visitor count to grow. If/when the website’s popularity grows, I will look into adding in other sources of revenue.
So what did I learn about business and starting a new company through this process? That because I had a pre-existing need, I came up with a great startup idea. If you want to come up an idea for your own startup, perhaps you can just wait until you happen across a big pain-point. It might take you days or months but if enough times passes, you’ll eventually find some big pain in the butt — and a great opportunity.
Moshe is a Software Developer from NYC. He founded a wedding live streaming service called Livestream Your Wedding