If Derek Gebler, founder of Field59, a video publishing and content management startup, had graduated from college in Madison today, he imagines he’d be launching a web startup of some kind.
“Today, I would have totally done it,” he said.
Years ago, starting a business seemed a little out of reach. But the network of Madison startups beginning to buzz around spaces like 100state and organizations like Capital Entrepreneurs, he said, energized him to launch Field59 last year.
“That’s one of the reasons why I did do this — because I felt like there are people doing this all the time now, and knowing real people to seek out for advice and mentorship, that’s really key," Gebler said. "It’s a lot easier now to do than ever before.”
Gebler had been working with video for years, but only launched his business, with a team of nine full-time employees, last June.
He started work at a desk at 100state and the company, which expects to hire its first post-launch employee soon, has since graduated to a private office in the co-working space.
“I started renting a desk at 100state in August of last year, and that’s where all this started really happening,” he said. “We were like, ‘Oh, there’s tons of people coming here and wanting to do this stuff,’ and that never existed before. I always felt like we were kind of in a vacuum.”
Field59’s business model is based on partnering with a variety of clients — about 40 right now, according to Gebler — to host and edit video content. They work with broadcasters and media outlets primarily, but also have a few corporate and professional associations in their stable.
Because of their focus on broadcast and media, most of Field59’s clients are headquartered outside of Madison. They have, however, dipped their toe into the local startup scene by providing video streaming services for startup-focused events like Startup Grind, 1 Million Cups and the Forward Festival.
“In the last three years, that’s when it’s all really started,” Gebler said of the Madison startup scene. “It’s been great to see that.”
Gebler said Field59 isn’t exactly going after more local clients in Madison, though they did just lock down a deal with Exact Sciences, a Madison-based medical product manufacturer, to help the company with internal video communications.
Instead, Gebler said Field59 is aiming to partner with other local companies to get national business. They’re already working with Hinckley Design & Production, a Madison-based video production company.
Since teaming up, Hinckley and Field59 have traversed the country together for some exciting assignments, including providing videos and live streams from the Roller Derby World Cup in Dallas last year.
In the near future, they’re looking forward to working together to document a staple of Madison’s fall social scene: Freakfest.
After that, Gebler said he hopes to continue courting new business, promoting Field59’s storage and editing capabilities and what sets them apart from social sites like YouTube, Periscope and Meerkat. (The primary difference, he said, is that Field59 allows content to be more mobile — sites like Periscope and YouTube often make it very difficult to save video and share it in another location.)
“Say no to YouTube,” he joked.
And, if you see a video camera at Freakfast, give them a wave.