Valerie O’ Keeffe interview on Irish Central.

November 11, 2014 / Press

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Valerie O’ Keeffe our CEO was interviewed last week by Stephen Smith, COO, Irish Central.

Brighter than the Sun was participating & speaking at the 4th Global IIBN Conference which was held in New York on the 7th of November.  In the article, Valerie shares more about our company, our vast experience in the area of digital scenery and visceral imaging and also our ambitions for growth in the US market.
At Dublin Websummit yesterday an Irish company, Image Now Films launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund the development of a movie ‘6 Days of the Rising’ about the Easter Rising in 1916.

Their goal is to raise $100,000 by the end of November 2014 with backers receiving limited edition stamps, proclamations, and printed newspaper front covers from the time.

Fundraising is taking place on Indiegogo, and yesterday they launched their campaign live on the WebSummit main stage alongside Indiegogo co-founder Danae Ringelmann. The team behind this also produced Sundance award winning documentary, The Summit.

During the production of The Summit about a Mount Everest climbing expedition the team had to recreate a digital landscape of the Himalayas. From this experience and the techniques learned they decided to establish a company specializing in digital scenery creation.

This creative team is also responsible creating the online experience for Opportunity, the global Irish International Business Network conference taking place in New York this week.

Click here for more coverage of IIBN Opportunity on IrishCentral.

Co-founder of Brighter Than The Sun Valerie O’Keefe and Darrell Kavanagh caught us up on their journey so far.

What kind of changes did the company/product go through in early stages?

Brighter than the Sun is a digital scenery business that creates real visceral effects for its clients and their brands as a point of key differentiation within the marketplace. We realized that by combining the teams unique understanding of content development with new production technologies, the entertainment and event industry could be dramatically revolutionized.

The team has spent the last three years developing a technique using various tools to transform conventional scenery and backgrounds seen today into a highly-interactive, fully customized digital experience that creates an emotional connection for the audience that was never felt before.

Led by our Creative Director and co-founder David Torpey, the team brings over two decades of advising and creating award winning content with an intimate knowledge and understanding of the emerging entertainment technologies. The in depth understanding of motion graphics and video mapping along with the teams longstanding experience in the field of 2D & 3D animation and stop motion allows Brighter than the Sun to create imagery that transcends the boundaries of modern production.

Do you have investors? Are you looking for further investment?

To date, the company has largely been funded by the founding partners, along with the support of a few mentors who have generously contributed capital to help get the company up and running, for which we are very grateful.

In order to continue to grow the business and elevate it to the next level, we have decided to seek additional investors, either strategic or financial, to help support the growth of the company.

How many customers do you have now?

As with any new company, securing new customers is a major priority of ours. Since spinning off, our team has spent the majority of our time focusing on business development & sales, which has helped secure 2 commercial contracts and more importantly grow a robust new business pipeline.

Tell us about your industry: What was it like to break into?

The production and entertainment industry in general is a highly competitive industry with generally low barriers to entry. However, when looking at the industry, we recognized a strategic void in the market — an ability to combine a deep understanding of the technology with the creative credentials and experience that our team had – it’s that combination that helps differentiate us from the rest of the market.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far? The greatest victory?

Biggest challenge is building a business in North America from Dublin. Navigating the market when you are not physically there can be demanding. However it has also been a great opportunity for us to expand our network. It is a fantastic achievement seeing it all come together in such a short space of time.

In terms of the greatest victory, I believe our Film Division winning at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013 for our movie documentary ‘The Summit’ was amazing. As part of the documentary, we were tasked with recreating Himalayan Mountains, which was not an easy feat. Our team was not only able to do so and win recognition for it, but more importantly acted as proof that we could do more than we ever imagined. It was that accomplishment that gave us the inspiration to move our digital scenery/digital imagery expertise to the next level.

What’s been the most important lesson?

Getting support from strategic mentors and leveraging your network. Enterprise Ireland has been a huge supporter and their advice and counsel has been invaluable. In addition, we are lucky in that we have a number of other seasoned advisors and mentors, and without their support I don’t believe we would be as successful as we are already in such a short period of time.

What are your plans for the rest of 2014 and 2015?

Continue to focus on winning new customers and growing our business in North America. We would also like to find the right strategic partner what can help elevate BTTS to the next level.

What are your immediate next steps and long-term goals?

We are in the process of setting up our office and growing our team in North America. We will also grow our team in Dublin especially on the R&D side ensuring we deliver on the strong ambitions we have for the company.

What advice do you have for other people/companies starting out in your industry?

Don’t be afraid to move into new markets or explore multiple industries.

The ‘can do’ progressive and positive attitude we have experienced as been more than encouraging. There is stamina involved and I guess a little resilience is also needed but the reward of doing business and winning your first contract in the US more than compensates for all the effort!

Who do you think are your customers?

When we approach a new opportunity or mandate, we think that we have two customers – both the companies who will use our technology and the audience who they are trying to connect with.

On the client side, we are focusing on 3 target markets: entertainment (theatrical and production), sporting events and corporate occasions. Each of these in our opinion, can benefit from using digital projection to help improve the audience experience. – IRISH CENTRAL