Brandon Evertz started BigUnlimited when he was just 19 years old with a loan of $500 from his father.
The pair listed BigUnlimited on the Australian Securities Exchange and now Evertz is taking on the United States with BigUnlimited’s purchase on Thursday of consumer app and platform Tipsly for $4.2 million.
The future is video
Evertz struggled with dyslexia throughout school and relied on video tutorials to keep up to date with the other kids which he says helped him realise the significance of video.
“I feel like the future of the internet is going to be video-driven and the reason I thought that was myself and my friends didn’t like to read as much as we used to,” he says.
Evertz had been estranged from his father, Richard Evertz, but the pair reunited and instead of going to university Evertz went travelling around Australia in a campervan with him “coming up with business ideas”.
“I was reading a review on a text review site and I thought there has to be a site people can go to and see professional videos of businesses,” Evertz says. “That set us on a journey. It took a good six months to nail the right idea.”
Evertz saw a gap in the market for a social media platform for video-based reviews given so many review sites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor rely primarily on written reviews.
“There was nothing that resembled that business model at all on the market,” he says.
Big Review TV
He used the $500 from his father to buy some business cards and build a website with just a single landing page.
This website became Big Review TV, a video-review site which works on a business model that charges small business owners to use the site while keeping the service free for the public.
Evertz’s focus on video was perfectly timed, with independent analysts Cisco predicting 70 per cent of the internet’s traffic will be video by the end of 2017 and Mark Zuckerberg describing video as the next “mega trend”.
Big Review TV has now produced 30,000 videos for businesses around the world and last year turned over $13 million.
“We have cracked a solution to create professional content through a video subscription model,” says Evertz.
Big Review TV creates the videos, posts them on its platform and businesses can access the video for 12 months. Upfront fees to produce a promotional video start at $399, and the monthly subscription for participating businesses begins at $7.50, increasing to $1000.
“It cracks the barrier to entry for businesses having access to professional video content for their business,” say Evertz. “The reality is we’re finding every single business needs video to remain relevant in search because search is prioritising video.”
ASX listing and US expansion
BigUnlimited listed on the ASX in 2014 and now has staff of over 100 and a market capitalisation of $575 million with Evertz acting as a director while his father is now chief executive.
“It was a very appealing opportunity as VCs [venture capitalists] at the time wanted a little too much equity so we decided to list,” says Evertz. “We are one of the top performing stocks on the ASX and have grown exponentially.”
BigUnlimited operates in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada and the United States and its acquisition of Tipsly expands its reach further.
“Tipsly is a fantastic purchase as it can help us with our tech mobile application and also it has over 100,000 SMEs in that acquisition as well,” says Evertz. “It gives us a beach head in the States for us to on-sell our video.”
BigUnlimited will use Tipsly to “push heavily” into the United States.
“We are hiring lots of people now in the American market,” says Evertz. “The opportunity for the business is phenomenal. Noone in the Australian market or the US market is doing what we are doing so we really want to leverage that while we can. When I finished school I wanted to build a global internet business,” he says. “I didn’t know what that was.”
He does now.