Whereas the ill-tempered imp from the German fairy tale could spin straw into gold, Patrick Latcham ’11 transmutes raw video footage into crisply edited highlight reels. And whereas Rumpelstiltskin demanded a newborn child for his services, Latcham is content to accept a modest fee, no matter if you guess his name or not.
Latcham is the founder of ProEditors, an online video-editing startup based in Telluride, Colo. ProEditors customers submit their raw videos over the Internet – usually outdoors or sports footage from activities like skiing or river rafting – and then quickly receive a crisp and polished one- to two-minute clip in return. As ProEditors slogan says, “You film, we edit.”
The seed of this idea was planted while Latcham was working as a ski instructor at Telluride Ski Resort in 2012. Nearly every other person coming down the slopes, it seemed, was using a GoPro camera to record their adventures on the mountain. Meanwhile, Latcham’s girlfriend, owing to her video-editing talents, was being bombarded by requests from family members to shape raw footage from their own GoPro cameras and smartphones into mini-movies. One day, a light bulb went off in Latcham’s head and ProEditors was born.
Having since worked his way up to sales and marketing positions at the ski resort, as well as having networked with a number of Telluride professionals, Latcham was encouraged to submit his business idea to the Telluride Venture Accelerator. He did so, and in 2015 Latcham was accepted into the competitive business incubator. To his surprise and delight, so was a former College roommate, Robert Blank ’11, a founder of Mountain Drones. It’s a small world.
In the months ahead, the Telluride Venture Accelerator helped Latcham refine his business plan. Editing can be tedious, time-consuming work, so one critical breakthrough was the development of software that allowed customers to flag the most important parts of their video footage, choosing clips they expect to be included. It’s a win-win, as this innovation saves ProEditors employees time and also guarantees nothing remarkable from the client’s footage is left on the cutting room floor.
“Our customers wanted to be the director,” Latcham explains, “but they didn’t want to learn how to edit.”
Another innovation is the outsourcing of the editing work to freelancers across the country and world. Whenever a freelance editor accepts a job from ProEditors, they are provided the clips chosen by the customer as well as relevant stock footage (some of which has been provided by Blank’s Mountain Drones), giving the editor a healthy head start on the video. What might have taken an editor four hours to complete previously, Latcham says, now can be finished within a half hour, with finished videos delivered via a downloadable link or YouTube.
“It took out all the laborious work that editors hate doing and let them focus on the creative aspects,” he says. “I think of it as the Uber of video editing. They have to vet their drivers; we have to vet our editors.”
Though Latcham launched the company by himself, he’s since taken on a partner and hired some tech talent. He’s also raised money from investors while preparing to launch a new website in 2016.
Len Metheny, a Telluride resident, successful tech entrepreneur and mentor to those in the venture accelerator, says he’s been impressed by Latcham’s aptitude and ability to “scrap it.”
“He’s tremendous. He’s like a sponge,” says Metheny, who met with Latcham weekly as he developed ProEditors within the incubator. “He works with confidence, but not too much confidence.”
Metheny credits Latcham for singlehandedly proving a market need for his service and raising capital. Now, he says, the trick is to get enough people to use ProEditors.
Latcham has tackled this next challenge by partnering with outdoors companies – he hopes to lure customers when they buy their ski lift tickets or hire a river rafting guide, among other strategies. In the future, Latcham sees ProEditors as having much potential beyond the world of outdoors sports.
“Anything that’s being recorded on video needs an editor,” he says.
In the meantime, he’s plenty busy just getting off the ground and building a strong foundation for his startup.
“Right now I’m making less money than I ever have and working more hours than I ever have,” Latcham admits. “But I love it. It’s exciting and I’m creating something, which is definitely rewarding.”