In 2020, the idea of automating video creation brought Ivan, Daniel and Nebojsa together. After working on side projects and trying to create promo videos for them we realized how hard video creation actually is. Nebojsa was also working as a freelance motion designer so he had first hand experience in video creation and the lengthy process of the creation.
What didn’t make sense to us is that a lot of video content doesn’t have to be 100% unique. In most cases you’re not creating the next Superbowl ad. It’s probably enough to use a template, change a few elements and create a semi-unique video. This is especially true when you need a lot of videos, or you need them on a continuous basis. Creating them from scratch just didn’t make sense. We thought, there must be a better way and that’s when Plainly started.
We were all in our separate ways, working as employees or freelancing and we didn't want just to quit our jobs though to chase this idea. We needed validation that people actually want templated videos that are personalized to them and created automatically.
We resorted to Indie Hackers, an online forum filled with internet entrepreneurs. We offered a free promotional video based on a template for anyone who posted a link to their product in the comments below. It was advertised as automated, but in reality we were doing it manually in the background. We expected a few replies. Sounds small, but it would give us at least something to work with.
Turns out, a lot of people wanted videos. Our post shot up to the top quickly, with over 150+ enterpreneurs asking for a video in just one day. Upside - we validated the need. People didn’t care that it was a templated video, they just wanted a cool video for their product. The downside? Well…we had to make all of these manually.
We worked with that small sample of people and iterated the product. We realized that our initial idea for the product also involved a lot of manual work. The user needed to manually enter the data that's going to be added in the video, and if you need large amounts of videos this was still a lot of manual work. We needed more automation.
We decided to build out an API and also allow template creation in Adobe After Effects. This allowed our users to automatically create videos based on After Effects templates. Nebojsa had a lot of experience in After Effects as a motion designer, and we knew the power of it. After all it was an industry standard tool that video creators used.
Things started working slowly. Users liked that they can upload their own projects, even their old ones, and more and more use cases started to appear.
In early 2022 we got funded by the Serbian Innovation Fund which allowed us to focus full time on Plainly and expand our team. In late 2022 we became a part of TinySeed, a US based bootstrap accelerator, that will allow us to get Plainly to the next stage.
Plainly today is much more than a simple video creator that offered a free promotional video to people on IndieHackers.
We evolved both as a company, and as a product. Plainly today is a robust video automation platform that helps companies from various industries such as media, real estate, eCom, creative and similar to automate video creation. Video as a medium is more popular than ever, businesses need more and more of it but they also realize how hard is to actually create it. That’s where Plainly jumps in.