The Wish Group Alumni Series kicks off today with our first edition profiling Matthew Ley, the leader of the one of the Wish Group of Companies, The Streaming Network. The Streaming Network is one of Canada’s leading enhanced communications providers of Event Level Webcast services, Video Streaming and IP video conferencing services and Matt has been the driving force of the business since its inception in 2006
1) How did your relationship with Frank and the Wish Group influence or inspire you to get into business for yourself?
My relationship with Frank started some 6 years ago when I was hired as an account manager with Enunciate conferencing. I quickly realized that it was much more than a place to go to work but rather a Family that pushed and inspired all employees to grow both personally and professionally. Frank had an open door policy as CEO and we were always encouraged to bring our ideas, concerns or questions straight to the top by walking in and having a chat. He inspired me in a very literal way to go into business for myself. I had reached a point where I was no longer excited about the product I was selling and felt that I may need to move on from Enunciate. Frank asked why I would go and work for someone else when I could do it myself and pushed me to create a business plan for what I wanted to do. In less than 12 months from that conversation Frank and I had started The Streaming Network.
2) Which entrepreneur (past or present) do you admire most and why?
When everyone talks about Steve Jobs they think about apple but he was also the financial catalyst that made PIXAR studios a reality. When George Lucas could not make the PIXAR division profitable and did not have the capital to properly fund the organization they went looking for funding. Steve Jobs (or so the story goes) saw the passion in the people who were operating the division…. filmmakers John Lasseter and Ed Catmull. He invested 10 million and continued funding and working with them seeing them overcome adversity and setbacks to change the animated film industry. Jobs’ was much more than a chequebook, he was someone who saw passion, creativity and potential and said “I want to be part of that!” and did everything he could to see them succeed.
3) What is your company and what was the motivation to start it?
The Streaming Network is a virtual event provider that primarily provides corporate clients with event webcast solutions to enable their internal and external communications ventures. As an employee at Enunciate I had seen the demand for virtual events and webcasting solutions growing but felt that there was a massive void in the Canadian market. Most vendors in our space were created from the ground up by broadcast industry veterans who had very little or no telecommunications experience or any real experience in scaling multinational companies so we felt we could easily take advantage of that in the marketplace based on our experience and ability to scale.
4) What is the vision for the company in 5 years?
To be recognized as the World Wide leader in dynamic virtual events. To get a better idea of how we see our company in 5 years read our “Painted Picture” authored in 2009 following our naming to the PROFIT HOT 50 list as Canada’s 4th fastest growing company.
5) How did you raise the capital to start the business?
Frank of course!
6) What is the most successful sales / marketing strategy you’ve ever used?
Picking up the phone!
7) What other lessons have you learned that other young entrepreneurs could benefit from?
Work with people who inspire you and share your passion. I was very lucky in that I was hired into a business that lived and breathed passion. I didn’t need to look hard to find the inspiration to go into business for myself… it was all around me. When you find those people do everything in your power to make them a part of your business and keep them there. Their passion will continue to inspire you as you go down what can be a very challenging road working for yourself.