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Big Sofa: Disrupting Unilever, BA, Mars and the UK government with video technology

Five years ago, Everline Future 50's Big Sofa's founders looked into the future and predicted that video would become the next big communication platform within five to ten years. Five years later, Big Sofa is supporting the visual developments and services of household organisations including the UK government and British Airways, securing its place as one of the Everline Future 50.
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Name: Big Sofa
Industry/sector: Technology
Date founded: 2009
Founder: Simon Lidington and Matt Lynch
Location: London

Founded in 2009, Big Sofa may sound like a furniture store, but the video management and analytics business was launched when founders Simon Lidington and Matt Lynch predicted video would become the preferred channel for communication, insight, knowledge, sharing and learning within five to ten years.

Lidington has a BA in sociology and a masters in inter-organisational relations from Exeter University, while his background includes working as a management consultant with CEOs and boards, as well as the CEO of Research International. Meanwhile, Lynch possesses a masters in organisational behaviour and worked in marketing before moving into research and consulting.

Over the past two years, Big Sofa, which has investment from Canada-based Environics Research Group, has become a leader in its field with clients including Unilever, Mars, Barclays, BA, the UK government, Tesco and Direct Line Group.

The technology allows businesses to capture, index, transcode, store and archive video, while users can search, edit, download, share and comment on content.

The ambition when starting the company was to remove cumbersome barriers of video, such as huge files and bandwidth requirements, thus the Big Sofa software development took place. The rapid consumer adoption and emergence of mobile technology allowed the company to scale as businesses noticed the surge of videos for engaging with customers.

As for the year ahead, the firm is supporting sectors including research, marketing, organisational development, e-learning, innovation, museums, education, and market research looks to be big business as more than 20 agencies are planning to use the tech.

“Clients use Big Sofa to help them build and share knowledge, by making video and other digital assets searchable and mine-able,” according to the company. “Our aim is to be the best video activation, management and analytics company in the world. We are partnering with agencies and working with companies and educational institutions who see the potential for video technology to help them create and build greater human understanding, and promote more effective learning and research.”

Both founders say they only have three other rivals globally despite having been in operation for five years, but seemingly there is little worry about the competition and a strong belief in the task ahead, as they expect the company to become a £100m business as video demand grows and consumers are placed at the heart of companies.

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About Author

Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications.

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