In December of 2018, Spencer Elliott had to have a, well, interesting conversation with his boss: he was going to quit his job – again.
The Viewstub CEO, who had left his job previously to pursue a startup, had another idea.
This time, however, it was going to work.
Now, years later, his event-streaming business has worked with top brands like Coors and Home Depot along with the rock band One Republic and Jacksonville rapper YK Osiris.
He says he has always wanted to be an entrepreneur and his experiences have been all about moving toward that.
“It’s always been about having to roll with the punches,” said Elliott, 31. “Entrepreneurship is a fickle game. You have to take risks, take a leap then build your wings on the way down.”
Viewstub is an event-streaming platform based in Orlando that built its business model around live events.
The company launched in December 2018, long before most had even heard the word “coronavirus.”
Viewstub now has more than 70,000 users and has been part of $1.4 million in ticket sales.
For Elliott, leaving his job to pursue entrepreneurship was a no-brainer.
“Let’s say you do fail,” he said. “You just had the best experience of your life and promoted yourself to CEO.”
Elliott has used his experience to mentor other startups in Orlando, speaking at events and sharing his story of entrepreneurship.
That’s how he found himself speaking at VentureScaleUp’s demo day last week, sharing the tips he has learned from other mentors during his journey.
“Let’s say you do fail,” he said. “You just had the best experience of your life and promoted yourself to CEO.”Spencer Elliott, Viewstub
It’s a journey that has included several business ideas.
But Viewstub had the benefit of not only a persistent founder but timing.
“Nobody was doing pay-per-view events before COVID,” he said. “No one knew what Zoom was. They didn’t get the value of bringing events online. They thought it was too futuristic.”
He includes his story about returning to work partly into his journey as a way to motivate others to do what it takes.
“It was what I had to do to get to my ultimate goal,” he said. “If it meant I had to work a little bit longer, I did that.
Viewstub has had a steady presence on Orlando’s tech scene since before the pandemic.
It received $100,000 in investment from SeedFundersOrlando in early 2020.
For a year after graduating from UCF, Elliott spent time in startups, learning what he could from other founders.
At one point, Elliott had plans to move to California and immerse himself into a larger tech community.
However, when he had his first child, he chose to stay close to family and build in Florida.
It also sent him back to a job he had left when he first wanted to pursue entrepreneurship.
“I had been all in on entrepreneurship and had just started making all of these connections,” he said. “But I wanted to stay near my family for my daughter. I came up with ViewStub while I was sitting at my old desk again.
The company didn’t immediately take off.
After all, Elliott had to convince potential investors that conferences that earned money by in-person ticket sales would embrace a business predicated on virtual attendance.
So Elliott pivoted slightly to become a hybrid online and in-person event service, streaming moments like backstage VIP meet-and-greets or exhibits from cultural attractions.
Then COVID hit and Viewstub had to return to its strength: virtual events.
“We went crazy with virtual,” said Elliott, who explained that the company has only recently started to gain momentum with in-person events.
The coronavirus pandemic brought with it a new look to just about every industry that exists.
But for the event community, which traditionally relies upon ticket sales and in-person interaction, its effect was devastating.
So when the pandemic hit hard, many industries turned to the startup Viewstub to at least continue to present conferences in a new form.
“We were still bootstrapped,” Elliott said. “It was very hard to keep up with the growth. We felt like we worked for a decade in the last year.