With the rapidly growing demand for short-form videos on streaming and social media, the world has a much greater appetite for high-quality content that clocks in under 20 minutes. But with short films primarily being shown at festivals around the world, Janvier Wete, CEO and Founder of Minute Shorts, saw an opportunity to make festival-quality content more widely accessible and generate revenue for short films. 

After feeling frustrated with the process of entering his own short film to festivals in 2017, Wete wondered if he could create a platform to distribute the film and carve a path for others to reach a wider audience. At the time, most short filmmakers couldn’t distribute their work until they’d created a larger budget film. Wete saw how these barriers prevented many talented filmmakers from sharing their work with the world — especially diverse filmmakers.

Inspired by how Spotify provided a platform for indie artists, Wete launched the first version of the Minute Shorts application in 2018 and began welcoming submissions. It wasn’t long before he found himself in need of more support to scale Minute Shorts, so he joined the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub. Wete shares his entrepreneurship journey:

Starting A Tech Company Without A Technical Background

Wete first started his career in the film industry at 20 years old when he sold the pilot for a reality TV show called “Made in Brixton.” After working at renowned media companies such as Channel 4 and Vice Media, Wete found himself in 2017 as a filmmaker with an idea, but in need of the technical skillset to make his idea a reality. As a non-technical founder, Wete had a steep learning curve when it came to starting a tech company. 

“I put up posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, saying that I had an amazing idea, but I needed to connect with someone who could code it. The only responses I got were from agencies trying to charge me way too much money to build my app. Then I asked a question on Quora, and a guy called Julian answered and suggested that we meet for a coffee to discuss my idea.”

Like many other first-time founders, Wete needed to learn about entrepreneurship, and get management skills. Wete took advantage of the Founders Hub to educate himself quickly and at no cost. “I would strongly advise founders who are starting out to join Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub because it provides you with information that usually is hard to find when starting out in the startup industry. If you have joined, I would say utilize every opportunity given to you because you never know who you might meet,” Wete shared. 

Finding the Guidance to Solve Big Business Challenges

As Minute Shorts started to grow, Wete found himself feeling imposter syndrome around management and business direction. Wete started the journey of looking for a mentor using Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub, which features a comprehensive network of experts and entrepreneurs to support startup founders. “The amount of networking and insightful events has been amazing for me because it has helped me meet the right sort of people that I needed in order to get more knowledge in the startup ecosystem,” Wete said. 

Once Wete found his mentor– who went on to become a non-executive director of the company– he was able to focus his strengths on doing what he does best: creating solutions.

Keeping The App Free With The Help Of Azure

In the earliest days of the app, Wete and the developers decided to host Minute Shorts on Azure. “There were a number of factors in that decision,” he said. “The overall cost for development and maintenance of the solution, coupled with the range of products offered for a video streaming solution and the intuitive dashboard, were key.” Through the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub, Wete and his team could take advantage of having access to free Azure credits to build his product at a reduced cost, as well as access to GitHub and many more Microsoft products to make informed decisions about resource allocation.

The app remains free to use for viewers and generates revenue through live events and content deals.

If you’re an entrepreneur in the earliest stages of your journey or trying to scale your business, Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub can help support your mission with invaluable tools, community and resources. Learn more about Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub and join today!

This editorial is brought to you in partnership with Microsoft for Startups.