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In this episode Nataraj spoke to Marius Ciocirlan who co-founded ShareGrid, a marketplace for filmmakers and photographers to rent and sell their equipment. It was acquired by Backstage and is now Managing Director of Techstars Seattle. Techstars expanded to Seattle in 2010, and since then more than 130 companies have gone through the program & collectively gone on to raise more than $2.5 billion in capital.
[00:00:00] So you decided you
want to be in tech. Then how did, uh, your, uh, company start, uh, share grid?
[00:00:06] Yeah, so she
started, um, actually the idea was kind of originated while I was, was working
our group on both my co-founder and I, Raj. He was, he was, he went to film,
well he went to photography school. I, uh, uh, I believe it was more of like a
media communication, uh, background.
[00:00:24] But he ended up in
tech as well. He was a designer and front end developer and um, he was a
longtime photographer and we would take walks all the time and. , he, he sold
his previous company to Groupon, so he’s been very entrepreneurial himself and
we were always kicking around ideas of potential startups that we could start.
[00:00:47] And one of the ideas
was, uh, it derived from him trying to sell some of his equipment. He was like,
I really want this new lens, but I already have so many lenses. How do I
justify kind. [00:01:00] Investing more money
into more equipment when I’m not even using the equipment I already have. So
that was kind of the thread that we started to talk about the idea, and
essentially the idea was a lot of filmmakers, photographers invest.
[00:01:15] Quite a bit of
capital into, uh, equipment, into, into different, uh, cameras, lenses, audio
equipment, lighting equipment, and it’s very, very expensive. I mean, we’re
talking thousands of dollars for a camera or lens. Sometimes for film
equipment, you’re looking at 40, $50,000 for cinema camera, and that doesn’t
count all the additional accessories and, and everything else you need.
[00:01:41] I knew about this
from my prior film years, and I had a lot of friends who after school, their,
their thinking was, if I invest a bit of money into equipment, the chances of
me being hired, uh, will increase. Because the film world is actually a very
much [00:02:00] a gig economy, freelance type
of world. So they were thinking, if we invest in, in this equipment, uh, I will
stand amongst the rest and like be hired more frequently.
[00:02:10] That doesn’t always
happen. So you invest all this money, but your monthly payments are coming in
every day, every, every month. , but you’re not always getting hired. That
equipment’s not always being used. So Arra and I saw that opportunity of like,
there’s all this idle equipment. What if you were to rent that equipment out,
similar to other pure tope economies, like, uh, like u you know, like Airbnb,
um, So we had the idea and we essentially wanted to validate if this is
something that other people would be interested in First.
[00:02:43] I spoke to a lot of
my friends from Phil School and everybody said, It’s a great idea, but what
about if somebody steals my equipment while they’re renting it? They don’t come
back with the equipment. So that was always kind of the big challenge that we
had to face. But, but that’s how the [00:03:00]
idea, just to answer your question, that’s how the idea kind of derived is just
from a personal need and also just a brainstorm of ideas.
[00:03:07] So it was
essentially a marketplace for renting, uh, camera and other high-end equipment
[00:03:14] Exactly. Exactly.
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