Jeff Hatten said he’s always had an entrepreneurial spirit, even selling used books from his home to neighborhood kids while growing up in Colorado Springs.
The Air Academy High School graduate left for Greeley where he found work in newspaper sales at the Greeley Tribune.
Hatten parlayed that experience into a software sales job before moving back to Colorado Springs to help grow Colorado Springs-based 2Win! Global, a consulting firm that focuses on providing sales training services to the software industry.
“I was basically Employee 1 at that firm,” Hatten said. “We grew it into something special. Even to this day, for the niche of what we were selling, it’s the brand name within the software industry for that type of training.”
Hatten built the company’s sales force, “but I had a burning itch for years to start my own business,” he said. “It was kind of an alignment of the moons one day where I wasn’t 100 percent happy with what I was doing. I had gone from this role of building a company that was now more in corporate mode. I really enjoyed the startup atmosphere and just building something, so I made the decision one day that it was the right time for me to leave.”
Breaking the mold
Hatten did leave his former employer and two years ago he launched his video startup company, Vizoodeo, which just announced it is changing its name to Bolt.
Hatten said his time working in software sales helped mold what he calls an affordable alternative to traditional video production companies.
“We went through this transition in the software industry,” he said. “The way it used to be when I first started is we sold a perpetual license. If you want to buy software you pay, say, $100,000 for that software and you will own that software forever. But if you want to continue to get updates where we shipped you discs, you have to pay a maintenance fee, which was typically 15 to 18 percent of the total sale.”
When companies moved to selling software in the cloud, software as service companies took over the market and the cost of software dropped.
“Now that software isn’t $100,000. It’s $15,000, but you have to pay that every year,” he said. “It costs less to get into, but revenue on an annual basis is exceeding what [software companies] would have gotten with the old maintenance model.”
The software as service model changed how software was sold and delivered, and it became easier to use.
“That transition was 100 percent in my head when I started this company,” he said. “I wanted to create a service-based product that thinks like a subscription business. That’s how it’s sold — as a subscription. They buy a block of video time and then there’s an advantage to sign up year after year.”
‘A jumping-off point’
It was while working at 2Win! Global that Hatten saw the advantages of video.
“That was a jumping-off point,” he said. “I realized there was huge opportunity for businesses of all kinds to use video to connect and communicate with customers or internally at a different level.”
Hatten also saw a big gap in the market.
“Traditionally, businesses are used to spending a lot of money to have a video produced. I’m talking thousands of dollars,” he said. “On the other end of the spectrum you have your mobile phone and emerging technologies where you can create video content on your own. There are good things about that. It’s authentic. You can make it spur-of-the-moment, as opposed to planning it. But what I saw was a huge gap between the $5,000 video and the free video.”
Hatten said he launched Bolt, and has since partnered with his wife, Melody, to create video content at “a much more affordable price point,” allowing customers to use video more frequently.
“We want businesses to think about video differently — where they can create multiple pieces of content that uses professional video and audio and have it edited together professionally,” Hatten said.
Affordability at Bolt means businesses that can get videos produced for as little as $50, he said, and clients only pay for the video shoot. All production and subsequent videos using the original content is covered under the initial cost.
“As opposed to nickel and diming you every time you want another video created, even if we already have the footage, the way the service works is the customer pays one price and gets as many videos as they want,” he said.
About half of the videos Bolt produces are for marketing and branding purposes while the other half are trending toward internal training. Most videos are shot with mobile in mind, Hatten said.
Going forward, Hatten said he would like to create proprietary video production software and franchise his idea. That would mean creating a video-editing hub in Colorado Springs where franchisees could send content prior to distribution.
“I do want to scale this nationally or globally,” he said, adding franchising would be the most likely route. “The model works and customers love it.”