Startup Stories: Gary Zurnamer, Co-Founder & CEO at Vouch

Vouch co-founder & CEO Gary Zurnamer joined us to talk about his startup journey, raising an $8 million seed round, and some of the challenges he’s faced as a founder.

by hao-nguyen on July 12, 2022

Gary Zurnamer is the co-founder & CEO at Vouch, a Q&A platform that enables teams to collect, edit and share authentic videos with a single link.

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Hi Gary, great to be chatting with you again. For who may not know, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Vouch? 

Absolutely. I’m Gary, Co-Founder and CEO of Vouch, a video collection platform that’s used for testimonials, user feedback and team comms. All of its features are designed to make collecting video incredibly easy. 

You can create questions and share them with a single link to one or many respondents. Then once you have that video, editing and sharing it is super simple and can all be done through the platform on the browser.

My Co-Founder David Stirk and I founded the business in 2021 to simplify the video collection process. We all know video is incredibly effective for all kinds of jobs, but it can also be really hard to capture. Not to mention expensive and time-consuming! In my previous roles in marketing and sales it had always been something I’d struggled with. I knew I wouldn’t be the only one wishing there was an easier way.

I really enjoyed reading your recent AFR interview where you recounted telling your wife that you were leaving Canva to launch your own start-up. What was it about the Vouch idea that gave you so much confidence to walk away from a tech unicorn to start your own thing? 

My wife, friends and family have all been incredibly supportive – but there were definitely a few questions when I said I was leaving Canva!

Ultimately, I just had real conviction that tackling video for teams was a problem that needed to be solved. It had been on my mind for years and I suppose after a year of watching the pandemic increase our need for video, it felt like the right time to build a solution.

And once I’d met David, our co-founder and CTO, it felt like everything properly clicked into place. Diving in wasn’t an easy decision, but it’s definitely been worth it!

Now onto more recent news, congratulations on the recent $8 million seed round! Can you take us through the fundraising process? It would be good to hear your perspective, especially with the recent slowdown from VCs and investors. 

Thank you. The raise itself and the announcement was a really exciting milestone and testament to the incredible work the team have done so far.

We were fortunate enough to have the round led by Stage 2 Capital, based in the US, and OIF Ventures based here in Australia. Both firms have been incredibly supportive of Vouch from the very early days and overall it was definitely a positive experience. 

We’re in a great position to take Vouch through the next phase of growth. We’ve got a super ambitious roadmap, some incredible support and a strong team around us. We’ve all got our heads down focused on what’s needed to execute on our plans.

What do you think have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far as a start-up founder?

Having a close connection with the customer has always been crucial to me. Knowing how they use the product, what they like and what they don’t is integral to our success. At the start, when we had just a handful of users, this was easy and I could drive every conversation. But as our user base has grown, it’s been difficult to scale (particularly with a large international customer base). 

I miss being across all of the conversations but we recently made a great hire to handle all customer-facing conversations , which has made handing the reins over much easier.

The other challenge is prioritising and actioning feedback quickly. People’s expectations around video tools are very high and we explicitly ask for good and bad feedback. Your product needs to be a potent combination of fast, reliable, scalable, delightful and more.

As a founder, you desperately want to bring each piece of feedback into our roadmap at once but it’s just not feasible – so you need to prioritise and execute. This has been a challenge but our product and engineering team move fast which does make things much easier.

One last question before we let you get back to it, how has your role as CEO evolved as Vouch has grown over the past year?

It’s been a big shift for me to let go of some of the things I was doing since day one. I just can’t be across every customer interaction, design, marketing campaign, feedback, etc. any more. This is hard as a founder but it’s crucial you narrow your focus down to the highest value work. For me, this is ensuring we have our team packed with talented people, and that they are all aligning and moving towards our overarching goals. It’s also about staying close to the voice of the customer and market for us to continually stay ahead and evolve. 

There’s still a lot to do of course, but now we have a wonderful team with great leaders across all departments, so I can really focus on driving the group forward to lead the video software category. We’re working hard to continue reaching even more teams and give them an easy way to capture and share video, whatever their use case.

Thanks Gary, it was great chatting to you and we’re looking forward to you upcoming Give It A Nudge episode too!

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