Tal Siach is the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Visually, a leading marketplace for visual content. They are popularly known for creating brilliant infographics and have now expanded into the collaborative economy by allowing designers, journalists, animators, and developers to collaborate on design projects for clients together on their platform. They have announced today that they have raised $8.1 million in Series A funding to build out their marketplace. The platform allows for talented individuals to become micro-entrepreneurs, disrupting the traditional client-agency model for design projects. New York Curator, Melissa O’Young, sat down with Tal to get the latest scoop on Visually.
1. How has Visually entered the collaborative economy?
When we started Visually, we wanted to become the go-to solution for data visualization by automating the design process. We believed that it would be an ideal solution for brands looking to create high level content on a set budget and under intense time constraints. Yet, we quickly realized that in order to produce great content that would tell a brand’s story and be shared, you needed equally great creative talent, and great creative talent couldn’t be automated.
This realization pushed us into the collaborative economy. The collaborative economy addresses the key pain points to achieving great design for brands and designers alike: increased access and guaranteed quality. By utilizing a marketplace, brands can now reach designers from around the world, as opposed to being limited by geography or who they know already. For designers, we create an avenue to working with the largest brands in the world, while creating an environment where the only barrier to entry is their own ability.
But we never forgot our goal of wanting to automate the process. We realized that even if you can’t automate creativity, you can still create a platform that gives brands and marketers what they really need; a sense of being able to achieve a high level of creative output, even if they aren’t necessarily creative themselves. Our marketplace provides guarantees on price and time, which give brands the same comfort level they get from working with an automated product, while remaining tapped into the creativity of real designers.
Visually’s marketplace presents an opportunity to match the most talented designers from all over the world, with projects that are perfectly suited to their skills. At the same time, it lets us create a user experience that guarantees work is of the highest quality and delivered on time. The collaborative economy lets us tap into resources that are unused in order to create better products and more satisfied clients, all while giving great design talent the chance to shine.
2. You mentioned that this collaborative way of working in design will be disruptive. How so?
One of the biggest challenges to working with the best design talent is finding the best design talent. If you’re a marketer in NYC, factors like geography and who you know are going to limit the pool you have to choose from, which can ultimately impact the quality of the work. Visually created a marketplace that overcomes these limitations. In our marketplace, it’s no longer about finding the best available fit, but the best fit period. It doesn’t matter if they’re from down the block or halfway around the world – the system is based on finding the right person with the right skills and right availability for the specific project.
The access problem also impacts designers. If you’re a talented freelance creative, the prospects of working with major international brands are slim. How do you know when they’re offering work? Who do you get in touch with and how can you verify for them that you’re worth hiring? Even if you do have these answers, much of the time that could have been spent designing was wasted securing the opportunity.
Visually solves all of these problems by creating a system where the only barriers to entry are the skills of the designer and their fit for the given project. We employ a smart matching system that automatically screens our pool of over 60,000 designers to match their skills, availability and style with a given project’s specs and goals. Even more, every creative and every client is ranked for each project allowing us to create a sophisticated ranking system that places merit and skill at the heart of decisions. We’re disrupting the market by improving access, efficiency and quality.
3. Who do you most admire in collaborative consumption and why?
There are many amazing companies utilizing this model, but two really had an impact on me personally.
The first time I tried Lyft I was really skeptical, but I quickly became obsessed with it. What makes Lyft so special is that it takes ‘getting a ride’ and makes it more than going from point A to point B. Conversations flow, and instead of sitting quietly in the back of a cab, you’re engaging with someone you’ve never met and adding a new level of engagement to the ‘ride’ experience. This really informed our work at Visually in that it isn’t just about creating a great product, it’s about ensuring that the collaborative economy facilitates real collaboration. Whether it’s with a driver and his fare, or a designer and a marketing professional, when positive interactions can be facilitated, it really improves the quality of the experience.
Another company I really respect is LegalZoom, a marketplace that provides access to legal professionals. Most of the better known collaborative economy companies work in B2C functions like Airbnb, Lyft and TaskRabbit. Legal Zoom really pushed the boundaries of the sector by bringing the model to an area that is dominated by a more conservative approach. The fact that people are willing to turn to the collaborative economy for legal needs is a major step forward for the industry’s legitimacy. At Visually, we’re trying to do the same by making the collaborative economy an ideal platform for B2B, so we really appreciate the willingness of the Legal Zoom team to push the boundaries of our space.
Visually has worked with clients such as P&G, Twitter and Red Bull on creative design projects. To read about their $8.1 million Series A financing round, find out more in TechCrunch.