The benefits of mentoring have been well appreciated for many years now, but does this time-honoured knowledge transfer process work in the new “app” economy? A useful meeting of minds between Marcelo Rodrigues of Lloyds Group and Sarah Stenhouse of Instatstock Ltd. suggests that it does.
It’s hard to envision a more “new economy” company than Leith-based Instastock. Even as recently as ten years ago, few could have foreseen the basis for a company that acts as an intermediary between social media giant Instagram and digital marketing companies seeking access to their user-generated content.
Instastock, trading as Pixey, uses Instagram’s hashtag system to find stock images for companies looking for specific or generic pictures, but lacking the time and resources to search through the content of Instagram’s 700 million users worldwide, and then get permission to use them for their own purposes. It then charges a fee for images and videos used, which it splits half way with the provider.
“We offer an accessible and affordable solution”. Sarah Stenhouse explains. “Agencies and brands are able to come to us and access images”.
Sarah (26) launched the company in 2016 after completing a marketing degree at Napier University. “We’re really an introduction service. We take a fee to get content permission on behalf of the Instagram user, the business pays $10 for photos, $20 for videos, of which the content creators retain half.”
“We’re quite like Uber. You could just phone for your own private hire cab, but it would take you more time. We save you time.”
Currently comprising just two employees, Pixey is looking to triple that number by early next year, and is concentrating on getting an edge on London-based competitors and become the default choice of advertising and branding agencies or “any business that cares about their visual content.”
Sarah considers herself lucky that the UK Finance-backed business mentoring scheme matched her up with Marcelo Rodriguez. The engagement lasted for about 14-15 months, with mentor and mentee meeting about five or six times in total, and exchanging emails in the interim.
Marcelo is a Brazilian-born banker currently working for Lloyds Banking Group as head of proposition development in the consumer finance division. He was steered into mentoring by Lloyds, who were encouraging senior executives to ‘give something back’ by helping young businesses.
“Marcello was great. He was really finance-oriented; he looked closely at my projections and, put me in touch with potential CFO” Sarah says. “He was really excited about what I was doing, and good at talking to me straight, for example telling me that I needed a holiday! He spotted things I wasn’t telling myself and he made me more confident.”