Hi everyone, I am grateful for this wonderful site. Some great knowledge here. I wanted to share with you my situation and request some advice. I will need to share some important details before I post the question to get better answers from you. So kindly bear with me.
I am a VFX & Animation artist with 4 years of experience and also a Masters education background in the same. I am not an entrepreneur and have no MBA background or the like. In 2015 while job hunting I came across an idea of web-based startup for the industry's recruitment procedure that could serve the industry very well due to its contract-based nature. My concept is neither like LinkedIn nor like Upwork.
Next, I created detailed print-screen like mockups of the site, features, user flow etc. I then decided to contact the Senior HR managers, Recruiters and the likes at around 10 VFX studios for feedback. I had received detailed feedback from global heads of recruitment at some of the premier studios, 3 programme leaders at leading Animation colleges / Universities, 2 industry veterans who have various VFX book publications to their names that are taught at the Universities, as well as a few VFX supervisors who have supervised on oscar-winning films (literally speaking).
I also created a quick anonymous survey giving a brief description of what the site will do. I reached out to two renowned Animation Universities in Canada and UK to help forward my survey to their batches of ex-students who were now working in the industry. I received a 100 responses. 70% said Yes they would use it, 30% said I Don't Know, and 0% said No. 83% left us their emails to be notified upon launch. 31% respondents were middle-weight artists and 17% were Senior.
Now, I live in India and am a non-tech founder. Since I have a UK degree, I am eligible for the 1 year Graduate Entrepreneur visa endorsed by a recognised Uni to launch my startup in UK. London is still the hub of VFX and post-production. And I would love physical proximity to the target market. Especially during early phases where feedback and reiteration to product are important. The awareness about this industry is still extremely low in India, especially in my city.
The goal of this visa is to let graduates have a go at their ideas. So no funding is required unlike the formal Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa. Although this 1 year visa can be extended by 1 more year, ultimate goal is to raise a minimum Funding of £50k from FCA recognised firm and switch to formal Tier 1 visa.
I have around $12k at the moment that I want to use for this startup.
Last thing, there is a scope for API integration with an application tracking software company used in-house by majority of vfx, games and animation companies. That company has also successfully raised Series C. I talked with their business partnership head and they said they would be happy to work with our developers to develop a special API, and also share their post-production industry customers with us, for a 20% revenue share.
If we were to consider Only the market for Online recruitment in the VFX industry in English-speaking countries, the figure for SOM would be around $XX Million (on the lower end of 2 digits).
QUESTION: So although I have my clear business plan about how I want to go about this, I want to ask you what would you do if you were landing in the UK with $12k, 1 year on visa and No team at all. You are a non-tech founder. You would have a year to launch startup and raise £50k to be able to switch to main entrepreneur visa. If endorsing University feels you are progressing well, it could extend your visa by another year but no more. Target industry is Niche and your startup uses pre-existing technology. A competitor in same industry who has model that is 30% similar to yours has raised $1M. Demand for great coders and post-production artists is about to increase with VR and VR Cinema around the corner. Industry is resistant to automation due to its creative nature.
Appreciate your time! Thank you.