Transcript: WGAN-TV Chris Bell on How Matterport will Scale Exponentially9762
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|Video: WGAN-TV Matterport CMO Chris Bell on How Matterport will Scale Exponentially (Thursday, 11 July 2019)
Here is the transcript of WGAN-TV Live at 5 (Thursday, 11 July 2019) with Matterport Chief Marketing Officer Chris Bell on How Matterport will Scape Exponentially.
Dan Smigrod: 00:00:01 Hi you all. I'm Dan Smigrod, founder of the We Get Around Network Forum. Today is Thursday, July 11, 2019 and you're watching WGAN-TV Live at 5. Our guest today, Matterport Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Bell. Hey Chris. Good to see you again.
Chris Bell: 00:00:18 Dan. Thanks for having me back, appreciate it.
Dan Smigrod: 00:00:20 Yeah, you bet. Glad you could join us again. Today's topic How Matterport Will Scale Exponentially. Chris, I think even before we jump into this topic, you were with Apple for 14 years. I'm just curious about how your experience... Gee, I think you were in charge of iTunes at one point. [iTunes Head of Worldwide Marketing & Product Management]
Chris Bell: 00:00:44 iTunes, Marketing Worldwide, yeah.
Dan Smigrod: 00:00:46 iTunes, Marketing Worldwide before you left. How did that experience relate back to joining Matterport?
Chris Bell: 00:00:52 Well, it was really a great primer in a way. First of all, scaling it to 119 countries; digital media itself really behaves very similarly independent of what kind of bits you're streaming or what kind of media you're delivering. There's hardware, and software, and services required that to be effective have to work together in a really seamless ecosystem. There's a lot of learning, especially on the product marketing side around what's necessary to make that successful in the marketplace. That's the first thing, it's just a bunch of similarities in terms of the way the camera, the cloud services and the app all need to interact.
Chris Bell: 00:01:38 In terms of today's topic, one of the things that is similar and that was a great learning experience, was taking the iTunes brand global, the content. There were really unique requirements in every market. We didn't have verticals per se unless you think of podcasting as a vertical but to go into Russia, to launch in Japan, which was probably my biggest project, really required an understanding of the local market with a unified brand back at Apple, whether you talk about the Apple brand or the iTunes brand. To be able to bring those products into market in a way that resonated with the local culture.
Chris Bell: 00:02:17 Lots of similarities and lots of differences as well. I mean, I was just telling you before we got on the air that computer vision and the depths of that technology are relatively new to me, and I find it fascinating to start to understand the tech and the AI required to do that. It's great to be at Matterport on a new adventure.
Dan Smigrod: 00:02:37 And, quite an adventure you're on. A new CEO, RJ Pittman, started in December, a CEO and board member. I know when his press release came out, he talked about wanting to bring exponential growth to Matterport, he's talked about generating 100 million Matterport spaces, Matterport 3D tours. Back in December of 2019, excuse me, December of 2018 that press release said 1.4 million Matterport spaces, so how do you get to 100 million from a million? That sounds like exponential growth, that sounds like marketing. How do you help contribute to accomplish exponential growth with Matterport?
Chris Bell: 00:03:27 Yeah. Well, there's a long distance between two million spaces and 100 million. I think the answer is twofold. The product and the user experience has a lot to do with getting there and getting to hyper growth and velocity, so I'll start there. Until RJ's arrival, our Matterport offering was fairly verticalized and fairly focused on the real estate vertical specifically, and that has carried the company and helped us build the company to date, but we see it much bigger opportunity when it comes to the entire built world.
Chris Bell: 00:04:07 Really looking at other verticals around architecture, engineering, construction and insurance and truth be told, we're 5% to 7%, depending on who you talk to, of the real estate listings online today. But that's a whole lot of green field just in real estate to grow into. The way that you get there and it ties back into my first answer about Apple, is you make a product and an ecosystem that is super accessible, and approachable, and relatable.
Chris Bell: 00:04:39 You noticed the first thing that we did after RJ joined was really get our entry level offering out there, which is not in any way intended to compete with the Pro2 or future iterations of the Pro line. It's a way to get more people on the platform, which I think is a positive thing for all of us.
Dan Smigrod: 00:05:01 Help clarify for me. You're talking about the introduction of Insta360 One X and Ricoh Theta V as a capture solution?
Chris Bell: 00:05:12 That, but more importantly the cloud services and the AI Cortex to support it. What's not commonly known is that, well, you probably know and your audience is very sophisticated, but in order to take the 2D and turn it into 3D, we're using all of the dataset and all billions of those RGB-D images in aggregate much the way Google looks at the entire internet for signal in order to achieve that. It's not just really about the capture devices. It's about the ecosystem behind it and the software behind it that allows it to happen.
Chris Bell: 00:05:48 My point being, we are starting to see people come on to the Matterport platform using an inexpensive camera like the Ricoh Theta V, learning about the power of Matterport and either upgrading to Pro2 or in some cases getting a taste of the magic and realizing that they need to be serviced by the MSP network or hiring a professional. It goes in every different direction. That's the first step and the first answer to your question.
Chris Bell: 00:06:16 The second part answer is, I'm working with our new Chief Design Officer, Dave Lippman, to rebrand the company and update the website in such a way that technically it's more modular and easier to localize in addition to reaching more territories and more markets. We really have to think more globally as we expand the brand and the user experience both on the hardware, software services side and on the marketing side, where we represent ourselves on our website, search and social, lots of localization efforts going on, lots of new social communities popping up in places like France and Spain that are unique to those markets, so lots to do.
Chris Bell: 00:06:59 Hopefully, everyone in this audience or in this Town Hall can see the benefit of there being more Matterport in the world because we're convinced that all boats can rise.
Dan Smigrod: 00:07:12 If you're a Matterport Service Provider and you've invested in the camera and you see these lower-end 360 cameras, Insta360 One X a $400 camera, the Ricoh Theta V $350. Is that a threat or an opportunity for Matterport Service Providers? How do those cameras help exponentially grow Matterport such that, that trickles down back to the Service Provider Network?
Chris Bell: 00:07:49 Well, it absolutely does in the sense that there are only so many professionals who are in a position to purchase the Pro2 and get the word out and give people a taste of Matterport. I'll start by saying that we were very careful and some of this is imposed on us by the technology itself, by the hardware. That the lower priced cameras produce a lower priced experience, if you will. They're not as dimensionally accurate, the optics are not as strong by dint of the hardware characteristics of the camera. But what they are very good at is just capturing a space in 3D and providing a Matterport baseline experience. That they do quite well.
Chris Bell: 00:08:37 As far as specifically how it benefits an MSP, I'll go so far as to say that much like the rest of the tech world. As price is driven down, there's still a need for expertise, there's many, many situations where a trained professional is required for post-production, for a more accurate capture with a Pro camera both the Pro2 and whatever our future offering is going to be. I would be interested actually to hear from your Community if anyone has found mixed use cases because when I look in the data behind the scenes, we're seeing accounts and even single models that are using more than one camera.
Chris Bell: 00:09:21 It used to be the case that you'd see Leica, the BLK360 and the Pro2 co-mingled but now we're seeing 360 cameras being used to supplement or in some cases touch up an original model that was shot with the Pro2, so feeling like the breadth of the product line is a good thing for the business overall.
Dan Smigrod: 00:09:46 On that breadth of product line, I thought I heard you almost say Pro3. Is there an announcement you're making today?
Chris Bell: 00:09:54 There's no announcement. What I want to say though very clearly is that we are working on the next camera and I can confidently say that Matterport is committed to a next generation camera. It's in development now, there's a prototype. It's probably no secret to your audience that there have been some focus groups done. We believe as long as there's a strong product/market fit and that our camera and our price point can be differentiated and unique in the marketplace, we absolutely want to innovate and develop the next greatest Pro camera that we possibly can.
Dan Smigrod: 00:10:39 Can you speak to the feature set for that camera?
Chris Bell: 00:10:42 Not at this time, not yet. We're still working away in the lab and figuring out exactly the form factor, the ID and even some of the architectural hardware specifications. So really, it's pretty early days.
Dan Smigrod: 00:10:58 If I'm thinking about buying a Matterport camera and I'm looking at the Pro2, should I be waiting for the Pro3?
Chris Bell: 00:11:07 Absolutely not. If there was something on the horizon, I'd share it with you but we're talking about next year at the earliest and possibly even end of next year, so nothing to announce.
Dan Smigrod: 00:11:19 Okay. You started to talk a little bit, Chris, about international. Could you expand on that in terms of?
Chris Bell: 00:11:28 Sure. We have a great team in London, in our European office. To start with, that team has five-X-ed itself in the last six months. One of the places we've invested in is really nuts and bolts, but it's localization and bringing our messaging and our user community to multiple languages. We used to be a little bit overly anglicized English-centric and we've really changed a lot of that. Starting to run webinars and in-person live events in France and in French online.
Chris Bell: 00:12:09 Some of that is just common sense, which is in order to really ensconce yourself in a local market, you really have to not just localize on language but the business cultures in these countries vary a great deal. I'm sure you're familiar with the likes of [Shooten 00:12:28] and companies like that, and Meero that were born in France, which creates an interesting economy there.
Chris Bell: 00:12:38 In Germany, there's much more of a freelance, independent contractor mentality for whatever reason and there's a lot more camera shopping going on. We are servicing over 70 countries now some with people on the ground, boots on the ground and others just through shipping, international shipping. It's an exciting time because Matterport is starting to get a footprint and a reputation all around the world not just in English speaking countries.
Dan Smigrod: 00:13:13 Before you joined Matterport back in 2017, there was an announcement about Matterport partnering with a Chinese company, but I have not heard anything new literally since that press release. Is there anything to speak of on that topic?
Chris Bell: 00:13:29 Well, no, not specifically. I can say that we have a handful of customers in China who are using Matterport products for construction projects and such. Our biggest Chinese partner at this point are the one that we spend most time with is actually Insta360, based in Shenzhen. We're learning a lot from them about the local market and have some plans to work with them closely in that market as a hardware partner.
Dan Smigrod: 00:13:58 And, you mentioned the French based company, Meero. There has been an announcement about Matterport or I should say Meero doing an announcement about doing a strategic marketing alliance with Matterport. I want to say that, that was in the fourth quarter of 2018 but we haven't heard anything new either from Meero or Matterport on that topic of that relationship, is that something you can chat about?
Chris Bell: 00:14:27 A little bit, yeah. We're in touch with them and quite frankly, all of the nation photographer networks that are cropping up both in Europe and starting to show up a little bit in the states. With Meero, the partnership is really very simple, which is in order for them to have Matterport as part of their arsenal, if you will, and services they provide they wanted to have a closer relationship with us on the business side but also on the support side.
Chris Bell: 00:14:59 Like many hardware and software companies in the Valley, we like to certify and make sure that people who are advertising our services as one of many that they provide because Matterport is by no means their bread and butter, are equipped to train and help their network members to do a good job. Beyond that, there's been a little bit of co-marketing and some trade show mutual co-promotion but really, the relationship we have with them is as a customer in most regards.
Dan Smigrod: 00:15:38 The announcement from my perspective looked a little bit bigger than that. Perhaps I'm reading too much into that but when I see... I want to say that RJ has talked about scaling the Matterport Service Partner Program.
Chris Bell: 00:16:00 Yes.
Dan Smigrod: 00:16:02 In fact, let me just ask and see if they're related. Can you speak to the Matterport Service Partner Program?
Chris Bell: 00:16:09 Absolutely. It's not entirely related to Meero. I think probably most of the people watching today have been approached by Meero in some way or are aware of their interest in hiring or contracting with photographers, particularly skilled ones. The Matterport Service Partner program to date has been somewhat more loosely affiliated than what Meero is doing. Our aim is to really up our game in that area and provide more services.
Chris Bell: 00:16:43 As I said on the last [WGAN-TV Live at 5] Town Hall, it's something we want to invest in, it's something we're learning about and just to be perfectly transparent, we know that it hasn't worked for everybody in the past and that it hasn't provided the volume or quality of leads that the community has wanted, so we're looking at that. We're trying to figure out what's the right method to share leads that are appropriate for a freelancer or a one or two person shop and what opportunities are appropriate for more of an enterprise or corporate level type of arrangement.
Chris Bell: 00:17:20 It's no secret that we are actively working with some bigger companies who have the need to do Matterport scans and hopefully, your Community is seeing some of the benefit of that through the leads we do send out. Having said that, I don't want to convey at all that we think this program is baked, up and running, and firing on all cylinders. We have a lot to do to make the program more robust but I do want to answer your question really specifically and that is Meero has its own going concern. It has purchased Matterport cameras, it encourages its network to offer Matterport as a service. That is separate and distinct from anything we might be doing in our fledgling internal relationships with the MSP network.
Chris Bell: 00:18:11 I think the MSP network is largely self-generating. I mean, it's people like you and the activity on We Get Around. It excites us to see how much energy and enthusiasm you have for our product, but we don't for a minute think that we're at the epicenter of that. We think all of you are at the epicenter of that and with RJ's arrival, we're looking at ways to amplify that and hopefully serve you better.
Dan Smigrod: 00:18:37 I may read too much into the tea leaves, but I read a press release or I hear him talk and then I go, “Okay, so let's just assume that a national company wants to buy 15,000 Matterport spaces in 2020 and that company is not going to want to go buy cameras and staff up. They're going to want to outsource that.” Are we going to see the Matterport Service Provider, Matterport Service Partner Program, where it's actually booking and scheduling on demand photographers to service that kind of an account?
Chris Bell: 00:19:24 You're speaking about the customer facing or the partner facing experience that a Meero or Shooten would provide. I don't know. I think that there's room. Look, let's start by saying this. We get contacted all the time by companies big and small. The Four Seasons international network of hotels and their subsidiaries, we will provide advice and counsel to them if they want to do... And it's not just in real estate or travel and hospitality, it cuts across the insurance industry, very different use cases some of which are fairly mundane use cases of where they're not looking for post-production, they're not looking even for high image quality.
Chris Bell: 00:20:07 They're looking for an inventory management or asset capture kind of application, so we will respond to that in one of two ways. If the job is appropriate, we will be looking for people in our MSP network to take care of that work and that's where some of the leads come from and in other cases, some of you have probably been contacted when we've been asked to put together a bit of a strike force to go in as a cohesive unit and take care of a big customer.
Chris Bell: 00:20:39 This is not a major program at the company. It's been talked about online. It's not a secret but sometimes when we have a big corporate client, we need to help them get their scan needs met and that's a combination of small, medium and large, independents, small companies who are in the business of Matterport and other photography services and then occasionally, we'll try to bring groups of you together to help us with a large job.
Chris Bell: 00:21:10 It hasn't been formalized and there's no announced plan or any active work on taking that to another level, but we're exploring all the different options that it will take. As you said at the top of the call, to get to 100 million spaces and really look for ways to facilitate that. I continue to believe that all boats can rise because there are small, medium and large jobs.
Dan Smigrod: 00:21:34 Okay. I'm curious, because I see in the same month that Matterport raises $45 million in additional funding, Meero raises $230 million in additional funding. Press release for Meero says, “We're planning to start a marketplace to make bookings instantly.” I'm trying to put all the pieces together to say, “Are they related?” Are we going to see a mashup of Meero and the MSP program in order to service large clients so that a company that wants to book 5,000 spaces in a month could go online and literally start booking photographers or Matterport Service Providers specifically?
Chris Bell: 00:22:19 I do think you might be reading a little bit too much into those two things happening contemporaneously. Meero is a great partner and a great customer of ours, but there's nothing new or additionally entwined between the companies. I think what you're seeing is that... Exactly the point I'm making is that there's a tremendous interest in this kind of a service and this kind of a product for end users, meaning the business or the consumer that needs the scan such that investment capital is coming in to a tech company like Matterport and a fairly service oriented company like Meero at some pretty significant levels.
Chris Bell: 00:23:06 I think that's more of a statement about a market opportunity than it is about any two companies that are at the beginning of their journey in this space. We'd like you all to feel like you're a part of that with us as Matterport owners, but we also know you're using other equipment and other 2D media as well and Meero certainly recognizes that they're not exclusively focused on 3D capture. They're also quite good at taking 2D pictures of falafel and fried chicken as far as I can tell.
Dan Smigrod: 00:23:42 I did mention Matterport raising $45 million in additional monies. I believe that brings it to 114 million. How much of that $45 million ends up in marketing?
Chris Bell: 00:23:56 We're not really here to talk about my budget, which is healthy. ...
Dan Smigrod: 00:24:00 Chris, how much is your budget?
Chris Bell: 00:24:01 I'm not going to answer that on the air Dan? What we do here is actually invest largely in R&D and product because as my former bosses at Apple used to say, including Steve Jobs, “The product is the marketing.” Our job is to take the marketing dollars in our budget and amplify what Dave Gausebeck and team are building and what-
Dan Smigrod: 00:24:26 Your CTO and co-Founder?
Chris Bell: 00:24:29 Yeah and what the hardware team is looking at on the future of the Pro line. Our job is not simply to advertise Matterport because we're a product company. I mean, we live and die by the product. It's actually the reason that I came to Matterport was my extreme delight in trying the product for the first time and it's probably second nature to all of you, but using something that has that level of ease of use, that is so thoughtful in terms of the way that it does what it needs to do for humans is rare in the tech world. Especially coming from Apple, I've seen my fair share of successes and failures.
Chris Bell: 00:25:12 As far as marketing's role, I see it number one as being a way to evangelize and get what our founder has created out into the world and then, the next frontier is to understand the dynamics of a business that goes beyond hardware and software and gets the service flywheel running so that there's more demand for Matterport. Matterport is a very successful early stage company so far but we're early days. I mean, this is not something that's gone mainstream even in real estate, to be honest, but we're off to a great start.
Chris Bell: 00:25:54 That part of marketing, I think we've just started to prosecute. You may have noticed yesterday that we, or two days ago, we announced the addition of a Chief Revenue Officer in Jay Remley who comes from Google, and worked on Google Maps and Google Street View. That's another person for me to partner with in terms of where we go with the sales and marketing of the company, so we're at the beginning of the journey.
Dan Smigrod: 00:26:22 I'd be remiss in not following up though on the marketing spend, one of the recurring discussions in that We Get Around Network Forum, I want to say for four years now has been the need, the request for Matterport to help create demand among potential home sellers so that they are specifically asking their real estate agent or their potential real estate agent, “Do you offer Matterport 3D Tours,” knowing that if the home seller is asking that question then the real estate agent must be offering that solution? Are we going to see Matterport help create demand among potential home sellers to ask that question of their potential real estate agent?
Chris Bell: 00:27:11 Well, in a way it feels like you've been sitting in our marketing meetings with me, and Kimi, and the crew. We agree with you 100%. My initial answer to that is, we're still at the stage where we are marketing directly to agents and broker owners primarily because without... and it's a two way street, you're absolutely right to point it out. There has to be a pull and a push. Without their buy-in and their interest in adding to their marketing budget and their marketing spend even the most fervent pleas from the home owner are not necessarily going to change the game.
Chris Bell: 00:27:53 Having said that, I'll tell you two things. One is, I've commissioned a study and we're also working with a doctoral dissertation candidate, who's deep in the research on media and real estate marketing, to look at the nuts and bolts of what the Matterport effect can be. What does it mean in terms of real dollars, time on market, commissions that are paid so that we're talking a little bit less about place promotion and winning more listings and a little bit more about putting food on the table? That's in progress and early results are very encouraging.
Chris Bell: 00:28:29 I'm also doing some internal research, which is based on our internal data to try to help tell that story. I think that's going to help a lot and we can later this year talk about the results of that study. I'm very bullish on them. The second thing I'll say is, I don't know if your audience or you yourself are familiar with our Pinterest presence, but it's been newly reinvigorated and Pinterest is an interesting social media platform for us that could facilitate exactly what you're asking about, which is more interest in the general public and the general audience in terms of home sellers, and renters, and multi-family folks who are in the market saying, “I want Matterport, I want to see that,” as table stakes.
Chris Bell: 00:29:16 So, why Pinterest? Well, Pinterest had created a happy accident for us whereby their web viewer, the object that they're using, particularly on iOS but on android as well, shows a Matterport model in a Pinterest pin in all its glory. It's not a separate window or a click out, they really created a seamless experience and we have some fans at Pinterest that helped get this done, but what I've decided to do is really try to create a showcase there so that when we have regular consumers, home buyers, wedding planners, people who are ultimately end consumers for the experience are pinning their favorite dream home, dream vacation, wedding venue, what have you that they're Matterport models called from the public gallery and wherever we can get them available to show the magic to regular users of Pinterest and consumer users.
Chris Bell: 00:30:16 That's just gotten off to a start this past month but I encourage any of you who are shooting spaces, or resort locations, or homes that have a particular architectural interest, even just things that you think are cool to look at submit to us firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us about a space that you think is worthy and we'll help you publicize it because we want what you want. We want people to say... I used to work at MTV by the way, back in the days when people said, “I want my MTV.” We want people to say, “I want my Matterport,” and so I think we're 100% aligned on that one.
Dan Smigrod: 00:30:55 Cool. A bit tactical but are we going to see a Pinterest share button on Matterport spaces?
Chris Bell: 00:31:04 That's an interesting question. That's a good feature request. We've just gotten started with Pinterest and we've been using their tools but I don't see any reason why not to investigate that feature and it's a good suggestion.
Dan Smigrod: 00:31:17 Before I move on to another topic, “I want my Matterport, I want my Matterport, I want my Matterport,” that's what our Community is asking is for Matterport to help create the demand so that it's not a decision by the real estate agent.
Chris Bell: 00:31:36 Yeah, I think it's in our best interest as well. I'm certainly not going to brand it, “I want my Matterport,” but we do want to create a cultural groundswell of not just homeowners, but people who are involved in spaces at large, people who are planning weddings or events, people who are going on vacation or doing vacation rentals to really insist on it because that's good for all of us.
Dan Smigrod: 00:32:02 Yes. I think that's the thought I would leave you representing our community is demand creation only trying to speak in your MTV speak there on, “I want my Matterport.”
Chris Bell: 00:32:16 Cool.
Dan Smigrod: 00:32:16 You mentioned the addition of the Chief Revenue Officer announced yesterday, we've posted that in the We Get Around Network Forum. Also, in fact yesterday Wednesday, July 10, 2019 Matterport announced intend to acquire an AI company. Can you speak to that and how that fits into growing exponentially?
Chris Bell: 00:32:41 Sure. Arraiy is this unbelievable company that has been able to use computer vision techniques and deep learning not unlike what our team has done on the 3D capture side, to integrate augmented reality and mixed reality into broadcast media. The way that I'd describe what they do is it's the first down marker in football on Steroids, right? Well, if you're a football fan. Everybody has seen the yellow stripe at the 10-yard marker or seen a golf ball tracked through the air at the US Open using computer graphics.
Chris Bell: 00:33:22 What Arraiy has been working on is that and more, which is understanding the entire space and being able to do overlays and manipulations of a moving image in space such that the video content and the augmented reality content are blended. Now before you jump into conclusions, Matterport is not getting into that game. Their technology lends itself to what we're working on in the lab on augmented reality and mixed reality in a profound way. Profound enough that it became clear to both companies that one plus one equals 10.
Chris Bell: 00:34:01 Their computer vision team, their engineers, their prowess with the OpenCV community, which is an open source group devoted to computer vision made them incredibly attractive acquisition, merger partner for a number of companies. Matterport is lucky enough to be included in that and ultimately we'll be acquiring them.
Chris Bell: 00:34:29 That's Arraiy. Again, I want to be really clear that we're not looking to get into, at the moment into TV or entertainment. Although, the applications for our technology certainly go there and the future could be very interesting.
Dan Smigrod: 00:34:45 Cool. Growing exponentially, I would imagine partnering becomes important. Are there partner relationships that you'd to speak to?
Chris Bell: 00:35:00 Well, yeah. Partner marketing and partnering in general is critical. Are there any particular ones you want to ask me about? I mean, I spend a lot of-
Dan Smigrod: 00:35:10 Sure. HomeAway, VRBO seems to be the most recent announcement in terms of content distribution. Do you want to talk a little bit about where VRBO, HomeAway fits in strategically in terms of exponential growth?
Chris Bell: 00:35:27 Sure. I'm not sure that it does fit into exponential growth yet, so I want to be really clear and transparent about VRBO. We believe, as I'm sure of you do, that an immersive 3D, navigable experience for a vacation rental is about the best you could get. It's what customers must want. I don't even need market research. I've rented from Airbnb and VRBO and we've all presumably either had the experience or heard about the experience of the space just wasn't exactly as we expected it to be, maybe the still photographs were embellished a little bit, whatever it may be and we've also all had good experiences as well.
Chris Bell: 00:36:12 I'm making the assumption that the vacation rental market is the next frontier for immersive 3D, sort of the way real estate was several years ago. What we have for VRBO is, as I think you know, basically an export capability. Which was the first thing that we could get done with them that is intended to make it easier to get a single shoot done with Matterport and also have an export format that works with VRBO. Similar nature to what we did in the past with Google Street View, where you don't get the fully immersive experience on Google Street View but you've kind of killed two birds with one stone.
Chris Bell: 00:36:58 You've accomplished your Matterport capture and been able to publish to a viable partner. Our hope and intent is that this starts to open up interest in the full 3D models, not just for VRBO but for the industry. But we're fully aware and just to be frank, don't have a ton of control over how that model or the export of that model is presented on VRBO, but boy is it convenient to be able to do both.
Chris Bell: 00:37:27 Our message to VRBO, and HomeAway, and Vacasa property owners is do the Matterport shoot. You have the asset, you can use it on your property website, you can use it in place promotion because most of these folks are trying to drum up business for their properties in addition to the stock imagery that they get on these websites and it'll be easy to upload and display via the VRBO native format or whatever you want to call it. We think we're at the beginning of the road, but it's a beachhead and we believe it will turn into a standard someday, but you've got to start somewhere.
Dan Smigrod: 00:38:13 Well, as a photographer that would to shoot once and publish many places, the VRBO, HomeAway accomplishes that, the Google Street View integration accomplishes that, the Realtor.com accomplishes that. Among the next logical places, it would seem like Zillow would be just an...
Chris Bell: 00:38:38 Zillow. Yeah, Zillow is not a partner. Zillow has been pretty public about... They're not a partner at this time, who knows how this all shakes out. They've been pretty public about their intent and interest in providing this type of a service directly through their website, their app and their tech. We would certainly welcome the opportunity to work with them in any form or fashion. Right now they have a solution that works, I believe with both cell phones and 360 cameras if I'm not mistaken that produces a limited 360. It feels like you're nailed to the floor and you can look around a little bit, maybe not up and down. I don't mean to denigrate it but it's certainly not as rich an experience as one can have, but we would absolutely welcome the chance to integrate with them as well.
Dan Smigrod: 00:39:33 What do you think is holding that relationship back? It just seems like a natural for both organizations?
Chris Bell: 00:39:41 We certainly think it's natural for people to want to do it on the Matterport side. We have no qualms about that at all. I'm not sure what Zillow's management is thinking, you'd have to ask them that. They have been-
Dan Smigrod: 00:39:54 We've had them on the show. We tend to think that it just seems like... Again, I may be reading into the tea leaves here but I suspect Matterport wants a logo on that integration and that's holding it back. I'm I just completely off base?
Chris Bell: 00:40:12 Yup.
Dan Smigrod: 00:40:13 Okay.
Chris Bell: 00:40:15 Yeah. That's not our ultimate endgame is to put the Matterport logo on everything. We like to promote our brand, we like to have our logo out there. I really think you have to ask Zillow what their strategy is. Zillow is a fantastic company with an amazing footprint. We'd be foolish not to entertain the opportunity to publish there. That's what I'll say about it and I hope at some point Matterport immersive 3D and immersive 3D as a medium is everywhere. That's what we all want.
Dan Smigrod: 00:40:55 I guess we would all hope that 3D would be minimum table stakes anywhere. That said, the integration with VRBO, with Google Street View, these are 360 integrations.
Chris Bell: 00:41:10 Right.
Dan Smigrod: 00:41:14 Take what you can get and then hope that eventually it turns into 3D?
Chris Bell: 00:41:19 Well, it goes to the point you made just before this comment, which was you want to have the ability to shoot once and publish many places and we want you to have that as well. Some of this is dependent on the partner's willingness. Like if you look at Vacasa, they don't seem to have any issue with taking a full Matterport model and making it publicly available. Our philosophy around this is to try to serve our customers, our Matterport customers, eco-system customers in a way that's at least more convenient for them as a stepping stone to get to where we all want to be, which is fully immersive 3D.
Dan Smigrod: 00:42:05 What other initiatives will help Matterport grow exponentially perhaps that you're working on, we haven't discussed?
Chris Bell: 00:42:18 Yeah. That's a big strategic question. I mean, behind-the-scenes scale is an interesting problem to solve, really it's more than meets the eye. We have a lot of projects underway to scale the back-end. We have projects underway to scale the business to everything from currency projects, to global expansion on the localization front. It's not a very provocative answer but a lot of it is blood, sweat and tears, and hard work.
Chris Bell: 00:42:59 We've created a product that has a clear product/market fit. We've identified five vertical markets that are excited about it, five vertical industries. The next tranche of work is grinding it out and reaching the decision makers in those industries, getting into more countries and creating, quite frankly, a subscription tier system. Starting with freemium that lets people try, and move up, and engage with us at varying levels. All the way from the most inexpensive 360 camera on our free trial tier, all the way up to BLK360 on the top of the top professional tier. A lot of the answer to your question is hard work.
Dan Smigrod: 00:43:50 You mentioned five verticals. Just so we're clear, those five verticals are?
Chris Bell: 00:43:55 Well, you're familiar with real estate, commercial and residential, architecture, engineering, construction. The insurance restoration vertical is really coming on strong. We look at industry and facilities management as a vertical. Vacation rentals is sometimes included in one of those and then we tend to look at photography more as a channel because photographers are servicing all of the verticals but I mean, those are the ones that we're heavily focused on right now.
Dan Smigrod: 00:44:27 Would travel and tourism be a sixth or is photography really covers... Matterport Service Providers covers an umbrella that touches those five, powers those five?
Chris Bell: 00:44:43 It powers those five. That's the way we prefer to look at it because we know that all of these vertical industries, including insurance, are starting to look at ways that they can get more coverage and do more capture. Photographers, in our view, have opportunities in all of them, so look at it as a channel. That makes sense?
Dan Smigrod: 00:45:08 Yes. I guess I'm wondering for photographers that and maybe that's a completely different show to talk about insurance and restoration, fire, flood damage and property restoration. Are there any things that you'd want to say to a photographer about, “Here are the key points to understand about that business,” or really it's the business is just going to come through a Matterport Service Partner Program or?
Chris Bell: 00:45:44 Well, I wish I knew. What we're seeing is that, just to be frank, there are some insurance companies who were early adopters, who are buying cameras and doing some of their own work because they're not, they don't need post-production. It's more of assembly line process for them. They're trying to get flood damaged walls in a relatively large structure into a database. There are others in the restoration world who are really working more in-line with a construction project and before, during, and after.
Chris Bell: 00:46:21 It's early days for both of these scenarios, but I don't have specific advice for how a Matterport Service Partner can interact with the insurance industry, but I think it's something that we should investigate. I'll offer it up right here on the show, which is we have some insurance industry subject matter experts that we can bring on at the appropriate time when we have a more cohesive answer. But right now, we're learning the market and we have some lighthouse customers.
Dan Smigrod: 00:47:05 What are the key points for a lighthouse customer that is using Matterport? Some of your lead customers in fire, flood, restoration, what is it about Matterport versus how they presently a process? Just from a photographer's standpoint, what is it that you want to understand about what's driving a large insurance company or I don't know what they have to offer ...
Chris Bell: 00:47:43 Yeah, I understand. We understand very well that a large insurance company or particularly in restoration that there's a process, a workflow in place that often requires multiple visits with multiple shoots. Sometimes it's a matter of having to go back and capture something that wasn't captured. In other cases, there's one set of people that are used for, and this is not my area of expertise, but one set of people that are used for one use case and [inaudible 00:48:15].
Chris Bell: 00:48:14 What the insurance industry sees in us so far is the ability to do one shoot, get it all and then, in a digital virtual environment be able to go back to the scene, if you will, re-measure things in Workshop, share models among adjusters. I spoke to one guy who's in the insurance restoration business in Hawaii who... it's kind of an interesting use case, where he basically just had speed boats that would go around to the other islands because there's a lot of flooding there because they were re-doing shoots and they were investigating damage and claims.
Chris Bell: 00:48:58 With Matterport, it's less of a matter of island hopping and more of get the thing captured with... Let's just say there's one MSP or one camera on each island, I don't know what scale is, and then the model can be shared with the mainland, with the home office. There's much less repetitive capture, re-capture and post-production. It's more of a matter of doing it once and sharing it among the stakeholders in any given project.
Chris Bell: 00:49:28 What I meant to say about what we're learning is how insurance companies want to interact. As I mentioned, some of them are buying sets of cameras. Others, I'm told are looking for resources that they get more of a, like a one click buy of services and so far, it's been a mixture of both. I will look into that and we should have another session not just to talk about insurance, but to talk about all the vertical markets that we participate in and how they operate. It's not entirely my area of expertise.
Dan Smigrod: 00:50:09 Yeah. We would love to have a theme week dedicated to each of those verticals and have the subject matter experts talk on their verticals, so that the Matterport Service Partner community, our audience can understand where the potential business opportunities are, or at the very least, be able to speak some of the language of the different verticals or at least know what the right questions are to ask and probe.
Chris Bell: 00:50:42 Great, yeah. I think the higher order bit there, by the way, is that we're just at the beginning of the road. Our revenue and growth has come largely from real estate and we're on the same journey, which is we're learning about the verticals, and what their needs are, and how they want to interact with us and the MSP community. I'd be happy to bring We Get Around Network into that conversation so we can learn together.
Dan Smigrod: 00:51:13 Cool. Before we start taking some questions from our viewers, anything that we haven't covered regarding exponential growth coming to Matterport, how that's going to happen, why that's good for the eco-system?
Chris Bell: 00:51:28 I think we've covered most of the reasons why it could be good for the eco-system and for all boats rising. I'm just taking a look at things we talked about in advance. No, I think we've just about covered it. I want to reiterate that we don't believe that the MSP program is fully baked and firing on all cylinders. That we have a lot to learn and we want to grow it, which is the plan.
Chris Bell: 00:52:01 I mean, I said last time that re-booting it in some way and taking your feedback, some of which came in after our last town hall, is important to us and we'll continue to do that. That's really what I want to close with, is to say we believe firmly that all of you are part of that growth and that the opportunities will come to all of you as well as to the company.
Dan Smigrod: 00:52:27 Cool. I've brought in a couple of members. I see that they don't have their camera's on but we'll ask. Dustin if you can hear us, you want to introduce yourself, your company, where you're located and your question.
Dustin: 00:52:42 [inaudible 00:52:42].
Dan Smigrod: 00:52:42 Dustin. Okay, maybe not. Alex, you want to introduce yourself, your company, where you're located and your question for Chris?
Alex Gustafson: 00:53:00 Sure. Hey, Chris and first let me start by saying Dustin probably isn't at his computer because this just popped up on me.
Dan Smigrod: 00:53:11 Yup.
Alex Gustafson: 00:53:12 Good thing I wasn't eating a sandwich or something but I run a marketplace called KoaWare and we have automated booking and dispatching for Matterport providers around the United States. We currently work with Dan you can see our integration on his own page and we'd love to work with you guys. We connect directly with individual providers' calendars and their own pricing so that they have the flexibility to establish their own rates and their own availability and then they can also offer services like photography or video whatever they have to provide.
Chris Bell: 00:54:04 We appreciate your interest and supportive of the broader community. I'm familiar with your brand. I haven't had occasion to use the service but I'm, yeah, familiar with the product and service.
Alex Gustafson: 00:54:18 Glad to hear it. Yeah, I mean we'd love to give you some more information or figure things out but it sounds like we could potentially be a good fit to work together. We try to be non-invasive to photographers. We understand that they have their own businesses going on in line with what you guys were talking about. This isn't a primary source of income for a lot of these people and we completely understand that so we do try to be non-invasive and just fill in the blanks basically when they do have available time in their Google calendars. So yeah, I would love to talk more about that.
Chris Bell: 00:55:05 Most of my team is watching or listening in some capacity, so we'll be sure to follow up on that, happy to.
Alex Gustafson: 00:55:11 Great. Thanks, Chris.
Dan Smigrod: 00:55:13 Alex, did you have a specific question you wanted to ask Chris about exponential growth?
Alex Gustafson: 00:55:19 I didn't intend on talking. This literally just-
Chris Bell: 00:55:23 Put on the spot.
Alex Gustafson: 00:55:23 Uses my headphones-
Chris Bell: 00:55:26 He asked a question.
Dan Smigrod: 00:55:27 All right. Well, thanks for joining in. Let's check with Dustin and see if he happens to be back. Dustin? Nope, I guess not. I'm going to move Dustin off the screen. Alex, I'm going to move you off the screen as well.
Alex Gustafson: 00:55:44 All right. Thank you.
Dan Smigrod: 00:55:45 Okay. Thank you. I guess it's an interesting world of you have all these Matterport Service Providers. I want to say that RJ referenced tens of thousands, so to me tens of thousands sounds like at least 20,000. Does that seem a reasonable number of accounts that are out there?
Chris Bell: 00:56:13 Worldwide it's not an unreasonable number.
Dan Smigrod: 00:56:16 Okay. I guess and I think one of the things that my sense a little bit in then We Get Around Network Forum Community is that photographers aren't busy enough and yet, I hear that there's all these large companies coming to Matterport saying, “We have thousands of spaces we would like shot,” and the question is, how does all these puzzle pieces fit together where the demand can be dealt with, the supply in an efficient way and hopefully in that process raise the rates of the Matterport Service Providers, so hopefully everybody would be happy. I'm not sure I have a question in there for you, but?
Chris Bell: 00:56:59 Well yeah, I get where you're going. Let me answer it this way. There are a lot of companies and entities big and small who are looking to get Matterport work done. I think there's a bit of a misnomer out in the world that we are brokering a lot of activity in this area. We are not. We have a few select customers that may come to us and say, “We need your help in putting this together,” and it's not in my group but there are some folks internally who are in touch with all of you and have communications with the entire network and will source that.
Chris Bell: 00:57:42 We want to empower all of you to get as much work as possible and I do believe that what you're saying is true, which is the more demand there is writ large the more work there will be but at the moment, the market is deciding the pricing and it's all... We all know, it's all over the place. We're not in a position to really comment, or dictate, or any of that. It's a free market, so if your question in there somewhere is, can we help? The answer is, yes. We actually, we talked about this before the meeting today here at the Town Hall.
Chris Bell: 00:58:21 If there are folks on this Town Hall or in the Forum that would like to pitch themselves and tell us what you do, what your expertise is, maybe you're really good at low light or outdoor. I'm not a photography expert or you've cornered the market on yachts and boats, whatever it may be, or it's just you're proud of your business. Tell us about it email@example.com, we're reading that. That is not a dead-end email address and we're just starting with the help of Jonathan Buckley who many of you know, the internal team.
Chris Bell: 00:59:02 I'm not going to name a bunch of names internally to save their inboxes, but we'd like to hear from you about what you can provide and how we can help you so that the leads that we give you are either more appropriate, more optimized and higher in volume, so I'll open that up as a starting point.
Dan Smigrod: 00:59:21 Okay, cool. I think to wrap it up, I guess I've always known that exponential growth is coming to Matterport but the question really is when, and this sometimes feels like, for Service Providers, is trying to push a snowball up a mountain knowing that when you get to the top, the ball is going to come rolling down the mountain and that's the flood of business.
Dan Smigrod: 00:59:53 For some Matterport Service Providers that aren't as busy as they would like to be or not charging as much as they would like to be. How about just taking the last few minutes to talk about inspiring the Community about the growth that is coming and to hang in there because there is a lot of business coming for the expertise of the Community. You've got some words of inspiration for us?
Chris Bell: 01:00:21 Sure. I can't predict the future and a lot of what you're saying is part of our interest and desire as a small company ourselves because in our little world here in Sunnyvale, we're pretty small. We sit in the shadow of the Google buildings and companies that have broken out into the mainstream of digital media but yes, I can speak to this.
Chris Bell: 01:00:47 As I've gotten to know Matterport as a product, not as a photographer, I've become more and more convinced that we are in the precipice of a whole new medium. This is as big as still photography. There are applications that we haven't even thought of yet. Real estate is probably just a tip of the iceberg. What gets me excited is to think about the things that we've already promised publicly.
Chris Bell: 01:01:15 We're building a more open platform. We're building an SDK such that there'll be developers in multiple industries with multiple applications creating both business, and potentially even entertainment, and game-like experiences that will require Matterport as a base layer. That snowball that you're waiting for, none of us know how big it's going to be. It's a brave new world.
Chris Bell: 01:01:47 Just to give you a little sneak preview. I've done some consumer research just talking to folks who are fairly advanced smartphone users, who are using image editing tools and maybe shooting panoramas. There's about half the smartphone market engages in panoramic photography such that it is on a smartphone. I don't even know you call it panoramic but they're interested. They want to know more about, what would it mean if I could work in 3D in my particular industry or use case?
Chris Bell: 01:02:24 There's tremendous interest and that's not to say that the smartphone is necessarily going to be able to do the things that a Pro2 does or even a spherical camera, but the applications field is broad and wide to me as the App Store. Once you have an environment that you can build on top of, you can dream up your own uses for Matterport. That's where I think the real unlock and tipping point comes.
Chris Bell: 01:02:48 Beyond that, I said earlier on the call, on the conference that a lot of this is just blood, sweat, and tears, and hard work. It is for us and it is for you guys. We're early, we're ahead of the curve. I've had the privilege of being early my whole career. I was working on digital music in 1997 when only The Wall Street Journal cared. There were maybe 100,000 consumers in the world that understood that music could be downloaded and those were wait and see times, those were R&D times, and market development times, and tech development times.
Chris Bell: 01:03:25 Matterport is far past that point. Matterport is in market, Matterport has a real business, you all have real businesses, so my pep talk is just dream the future. Imagine what we can do together and imagine what this whole thing can do as a platform when it gets to the next more open phase of its existence. I'm bullish. I chose this company as a place I want to spend the next chapter of my career, so hopefully that's inspiring in some form or fashion, but there's work to be done.
Dan Smigrod: 01:03:57 Chris, thanks for being my guest on the show.
Chris Bell: 01:04:00 Happy to. It's always a pleasure.
Dan Smigrod: 01:04:01 We've been visiting with the Matterport, Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Bell. We've been recording today's show, so if you missed any portion of it, we'll be publishing it in the We Get Around Network Forum ... WGANForum.com and we'll get that done by tomorrow Friday, July 12, 2019. Thanks for watching. I'm Dan Smigrod, Founder of the We Get Around Network Forum in Atlanta. Chris, where are you today?
Chris Bell: 01:04:29 Sunnyvale, California.
Dan Smigrod: 01:04:31 In Sunnyvale. Thanks again, Chris. Much appreciated.
Chris Bell: 01:04:35 Thank you, Dan. Have a good day.
Dan Smigrod: 01:04:37 Thank you
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