The Artist Advantage in Mobile – with Plotaverse CEO & Co-Founder, Sascha Scheider
Meet Sascha Scheider, CEO and co-founder of Plotaverse, a digital photography platform and community that features the world’s largest collection of motion art in HD.
Plotaverse has been downloaded over 11 million times across mobile and desktop. It has used by notable names including Ariana Grande, GoPro, Kim Kardashian, and even PhotoShop. Plotagraph, their first app, has been named an App of the Year. Sascha herself has been recognized as a Forbes 30 Under 30.
We sat down for an interview with Sascha to talk about out how she built Plotaverse and how her background as an artist allowed her to spot big opportunities in mobile and build a passionate community.
You built your app business at a relatively early age. What motivates you? What drove you to create Plotaverse?
I went to art school in Italy, and when I came back to the states, I met Troy Christopher Plota, who became my business and life partner. I’m from a traditional artist’s background with painting and sculpture, whereas Troy has a background in advertising, celebrity photography, 3D, and VR.
When we met, we talked about the trends we’re seeing in the art world, and shared our observations about how the fine arts and photography worlds are changing. You don’t need to call a photographer for pictures anymore. Day rates and commission rates have gone down tens of thousands. As a result, professionals in these fields have been suffering.
From our conversations, we realized that we had the same mission: to help artists survive – if not thrive – even though the market has been changing drastically. The combination of our backgrounds – mine in the fine arts, Troy’s in tech and in the ad world, is what made our business work.
How did being a first-time app founder impact how you started your business?
I grew up in the arts, but I also love the business side. I can switch back and forth between the creative and analytical. I’ve always wanted to help artists balance out their creativity with actually being able to live off of their art.
I was 17 when I created my first business, an online community that helped connect artists and gallery spaces to help them monetize their work. Going from an online community and website to an app wasn’t too much of a leap. It just opened up more opportunities to access artists and help people.
Since Plotaverse was our first app, we approached the business with a fresh outlook. Normally, if you have an idea for an app, you start with a business plan and then go raise money. When you raise money before you’ve tried everything out, it becomes harder to pivot later on based on what your customers actually want. Your investors tend to want a more traditional way of doing things to lead to sales.
We just dove in head first and started building the product. Because we don’t have a venture capital firm funding us, we can really control the product and turn the community into what we want to develop. We have a lot of freedom. It was actually to our benefit that we went down a more unconventional route.
You also lived in Hawaii for a few years while you were building your business. How did that affect your business’ success?
One of the reasons we became more successful is because we stayed outside of Silicon Valley. We didn’t get bogged down by everyone else’s opinions or by people trying to get a piece of you. We could focus and be heads-down on our vision.
Because of that, we’ve built a strong foundation for our product. We have a very clear idea of where we want to go and how to expand. We recently moved to Florida – still outside of traditional Silicon Valley, but being around our family and in a beautiful place keeps our creativity, hope, and aspirations high.
Community is a popular buzzword, but Plotaverse has a real passionate following. How do you think about community?
Since Troy and I are both artists, it’s been a massive advantage as we build a brand for artists, by artists. We’re different from social media communities that are created by developers who think they can create something cool that others would want, but they don’t use it the way an artist would.
Troy curates and looks at every single piece of art that comes through. Instead of focusing on who is posting a lot or who has the most followers, we focus on the quality of art.
If you spend all this time creating this content and conceptualizing it and publish it on Instagram, it often looks like crap. We provide full HD quality so that what our community creates holds its integrity after posting.
We are also really dedicated to creating a safe community with a no-troll policy. If you want to hide how many followers you have, so that people don’t judge you, you can turn that off. On Plotaverse, we want you to follow people you’re interested in, regardless of how many followers you have. We want you to feel engaged. It’s not just about publishing content, it’s also seeing what other people are doing.
All of our focus is on quality of content. We’re building what we think is the community an artist should have.
What do you see as the future for the arts and entertainment industry?
I think it’s going to continue moving toward community. You see more artists sharing their skills, and the excitement of collaboration. The industry used to be more possessive, more about, “This is mine.” But now that there are so many content creators and so many artists, working together just makes everyone stronger.
Founders in Mobile is a story series by Braavo. We talk to mobile entrepreneurs about what success really means, and unveil what it takes to build an app. If you’d like to nominate a founder for our series, get in touch with us here.