Chicago-based husband and wife team Chris and Tracy Hayes have launched flik, a new startup that promises to bring the best of Vine, Pinterest, and Yelp into one unique experience.
Using your iOS device’s camera, flik captures short video clips between 5-8 seconds. Then they are instantly shared across your social channels. But unlike Vine, the clips are full clips rather than snippets of video looped together. Flik is designed for users to create original content around the products and places they love. Nothing says review better than a quick video.
While the company is just now launching, flik had a very interesting set of beta testers. Hayes used his network of professional baseball players in both the minor leagues and Major League Baseball (MLB) and their wives to test out the new app. They all reportedly loved it.
Hayes has been a career baseball player since graduating college from Northwestern University. Hayes started his minor league career with the Burlington Bees, an A league affiliate of the Kansas City Royals in 2005. At age 29 in 2012 he played with the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League.
While other players talk shop, watch tape, and goof off while traveling, Hayes took it upon himself to learn how to code.
He handled all of the coding for flik, while the business operations, marketing, and “everything else” was done by Tracy. Tracy also attended Northwestern, but a few years earlier than her husband.
flik is an iPhone app that allows users to upload short videos showing products and places they love.
Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?
The co-founders of flik are a married couple, Chris and Tracy Hayes. Chris is a professional baseball player who has a degree in Computer Science from Northwestern University who coded several web and iOS apps during his days as a ball player. He was the weirdo sitting at his locker, working on his computer in the clubhouse and on buses and planes. He is self-taught in iOS, but incredibly anal retentive when it comes to coding. His engineering brain is a nice complement to his wife, Tracy, who is much more of a big picture, out of the box thinker. Tracy also went to Northwestern, but she robbed the cradle a little bit, so they never met in college. Tracy has worked in Research & Information at McKinsey & Company and ran a successful consulting business before launching flik. Tracy and Chris equally came up with the idea for flik (but when asked separately, they would each tell you that they came up with the idea on their own and the other person had nothing to do with it), but Chris does all the coding, Tracy does everything else (including writing this Q&A … in the third person, of course).
Where are you based?
flik is based out of Chicago, but has been lucky enough to have a team of people all over the country (West Coast, Midwest and East Coast — with a special shout out to the app’s beta users in the South. Thanks y’all!).
What problem do you solve?
flik solves a problem for both consumers and for businesses. Oprah isn’t the only one who has a list of favorite things and, until flik, there hasn’t been an appropriate place for regular people to share the things they actually have and love with their social network. For businesses, there really hasn’t been a great way to get truthful, real-time feedback from their customers.
Why does it matter?
The video space is hot right now and users are craving purposeful videos that are also easy to create. There are a lot of really amazing apps out there that allow people to share aspirational things they love, but users aren’t posting their own stuff on those platforms because it can be intimidating to create professional-looking content. The awesome thing about flik is it’s not asking its users for artsy-fartsy, it’s looking for REAL. flik is an app for real people who use real stuff in their real lives and that’s what sets it apart. It’s a jeans and t-shirt kind of app — casual and laid-back, allowing people to connect through things they love and places they go. At the same time, flik is your favorite jeans and t-shirt kind of app — not some crappy t-shirt you got when you signed up for that airline rewards credit card. So the content on flik is real and its real-ness invites users to post original content, AND at the same time, it’s all cool stuff–stuff flik users love. Don’t care who you are, that matters, right there.
What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?
The flik team has been lucky enough to beta launch within the Major League Baseball community of players and wives and get key feedback from people who travel a ton, have cool stuff, and are on social media all the time. flik’s users have viewed fliks over 20,000 times (the flik team thinks that’s pretty impressive for a small beta group!) and flik has just launched a pretty awesome new website and cool video. Also, within a day of our public announcement, we began receiving emails about being pre-approved to become Nigerian millionaires if we just send a small check to some random address. So, it looks like things are moving along smoothly.
What are your next milestones?
flik is looking to build out its website to be a fully functional web platform and release an Android version of the app as well as bring on a few pretty awesome fliksperts, (experts in a particular area) to share their favorite things. There may be a trip to Nigeria in there as well.
Where can people find out more?
flik’s new website is pretty awesome – the video is worth watching, especially the hair dryer who says, “Tell them how hot I get”. Here’s flik’s website: flikapp.com, our social media: @flikketyflik and facebook.com/flikapp.
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