Nivo and Simple Task – story about a beautiful friendship

Here’s a story about a beautiful friendship between Nivo and Simpe Task… We have talked about Nivo and their relationship with Simple Task with Romain, and here’s what he has to say.


In spring 2014, two guys from New York – Romain and Julian, decided to start their own business. They are both sports fans, so they wanted to create a platform where people could upload their sports videos. The had the idea, but they needed a development team to create the video sharing platform. Luckily, they have met Simple Task.


Hi Romain! So, how have you started Nivo?

Well, let’s start from the beginning… When I graduated from Business School at the University of Pennsylvania, I have worked in New York for 3,5 years for Boston Consulting Group. I was working on many different projects, with many smart people. It was a great experience. But after a while, I got tired of working for somebody else. On top of that, most projects were demanding a lot of  time and effort. So, I’ve decided that is better to invest my resources in myself and my own project. At that point, my best friend Julian was in a similar life situation. Therefore, we have decided that it’s just the right time for a change.


So, you sat one day and said: “Let’s make a platform where you can upload videos of your sports adventures”?

Yes. I wanted to work on my own thing but I didn’t have the idea. Fortunately, Julian did. In the beginning, we wanted to create a social platform about sports made for teenagers . That was our concept. I love sports, he loves sports so it seemed great!  I could picture myself recording sports stuff that I do and share it. So, we thought about the concept for quite some time. When we nailed down and ironed out the idea, I’ve decided to quit my job, Julian decided to be there full time as well, so we launched the whole thing.


That’s great story. How long have you been working on this project? Are you happy with the progress that Nivo is making?

We made the first steps in April 2014 – we prepared the prototype, finances and the team. The long story short, Nivo has been on the App Store since March 2015. It took us eleven months to cross the road from the idea to the market. We are happy with the product and its functionalities. In terms of the product we are really happy, but in terms of user acquisition we can always do better. We have prepared a few great new things for the summer. One of them is a big Summer Video Competition. We hope that this campaign will help us expand our user base. The great thing about our users is that they are very active and engaged. We could say that people who know us, love us, but not enough people know us yet.


Your time is coming. Is there any specific sport that you are promoting on Nivo? There are mainly videos of extreme sports. Is this your target area?

Nivo is open to every sport, but it is more suitable for visually appealing sports. Our users are mostly posting videos of the individual performance of street sports. We have freestyle soccer; we have basketball; videos from skate parks with people jumping around.


It seems that you have discovered an entirely new sports scene with your app. Street sports and extreme sports are mainstream on the street, but they are not present in media.

Yes, exactly. Nivo videos are usually about the individual performance.  That can be snowboarding, BMX riding, surfing, or anything else. One might say that you can see such videos on YouTube, but the difference is that it’s hard to find them. YouTube is great, but it’s not that good for mobiles and as you know, we are mobile natives. Nowadays, people are consuming videos through their mobile phones. Also, Nivo is specialized in sports, YouTube not. On YouTube, you can find the first video, but the next can be some weird suggestion, not related to your search. On the other hand, with Nivo, you select your channel,  skateboarding for example, and you have a bunch of cool videos just for skateboarding. In general, we offer much better user experience to the audience.


There are many opportunities here. I can imagine you organizing Street Olympic Games or something like that.

It’s funny that you said that. A few weeks ago we presented the project to one senior guy at Disney. He watched the teaser for our Summer Video Competition, and he was extremely excited. After that, he sent six emails in a row to our mutual friend, saying “This is great! This application could be the Olympic Game of the 21st century, without a stadium, on mobile”.  If you think that Uber is the biggest taxi company, and they don’t have cabs; Airbnb is the biggest hotel company, and they don’t have any hotels or rooms; we could be the biggest sports competition in the world, without any stadiums. That’s what we are trying to do. Nivo is open to everybody, to all sports, all ages, from everywhere, at the same time.


What is your biggest success with Nivo, so far?

I think one is – identifying an opportunity and finding a niche – sports based video for teenagers. There is nothing like this around. Two – creating the product with a strong identity and powerful DNA. And three – building a reliable team (technical team in Simple Task, the founding team, and some other people working with us back home). All of them are very excited and very committed to Nivo. Our biggest success are those three things, so far.


That’s an excellent foundation. How did you meet Simple Task team?

We had a contact in New York, and it turned out that he is one of the partners in Simple Task (it was Jean). We have started Nivo application from scratch, but they were very keen to help us. The team has started very quickly and built us something that was the bare minimum, enough to start. The flexibility they are providing was really important for us. Thanks to their work, we were able to create the prototype very quickly. It led us to funds and we continued. It was a signal for us to say: “OK, let’s continue, let’s get the work done.” Twelve months later here we are!


What would you say is the highest value that Simple Task is providing you?

They were excellent partners for us. When you’re starting a company, you often have big appetites. At that point, it’s good to have someone who will tell you “You know, I think we should start with this, it is a good first step. From here, you can grow in that direction.” Guys from Simple Task said that to us. It turned out that they are great partners, not only in technical terms but also in planning and setting milestones. The highest value that Simple Task is giving us is the flexibility. As a result of that, our technical cost is a variable, not fixed. Whenever we need them, they are there. I must say that this outsourcing model worked quite well for us.


What would you say to a friend if he asked you about Simple Task?

I have already recommended Simple Task to a couple of friends! I’d say that it is a right balance between an experienced team and affordable talent. They have dedicated and talented people with relevant experience, with a reasonable price of work. I would say this : “Hey man, you have the opportunity to work with an experienced team for half of the price that you would in NY!”