With Cohort 11 applications for the StartOut Growth Lab in full gear, we’re catching up with our alums. Founders who’ve graduated from the StartOut Growth Lab have helped raise $763M+ in funding and created over 3,650+ new jobs – a true testament to the impact of LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs.

Paige Williams (she/her) is the CEO and founder of AudPop, a social impact video submissions platform that activates diverse storytellers to create video content for all business needs.

“We make getting video at scale simple and affordable,” the Montana-based founder says.

AudPop’s technology and community-driven ecosystem connects creators, brands and agencies. AudPop has a diversified business model that includes video and content submissions software, events, video library, subscriptions, and original content.

Last year, Paige and AudPop graduated from Cohort 8 and participated in our 2021 StartOut Demo Day.

Paige, what motivated you to launch AudPop back in 2013?

I’m a documentary filmmaker by trade, and I found a passion for connecting creators to brands and getting their videos out. I believe a story well told can change the world, so why not do it one thousand stories at a time?

We want to democratize entertainment and create a world without gatekeepers saying who can or can’t show up and tell stories.

How did your experience in filmmaking help you in your beginnings as an entrepreneur?

Every film is a business; you have to raise money, find a crew, find distributors, and work cross-collaboratively to make your film come to life. That experience helped me as an entrepreneur because I led with that team-focused mindset in everything I did, launching AudPop. I also taught a business of film and entertainment course at the University of Montana and understood business plans, management, etc., as it related to filmmaking.

What was your experience like with the StartOut Growth Lab?

The mentorship was critical, but the community aspect stood out to me in the StartOut Growth Lab. I got to know some great LGBTQ+ founders, and there aren’t many ways to meet like-minded queer entrepreneurs nationally. StartOut is original in this way. It’s a place where we can gather as a cohort and get support for our startups and celebrate pride. The community is everything.

What has AudPop been up to since graduating?

We’re continuing to grow and scale our platform. We’ve signed two strategic partnership deals that will be pretty significant for the company – but more on that to come. We’ve continued to provide filmmakers and creators with jobs, and we’re about to launch a series of live events. A big win this quarter, we just screened the top videos from our Verizon and Kindness Video contest in NYC in Times Square on the NASDAQ jumbotron for World Kindness Day. It was amazing to provide such a grand stage for our creator community.

We’re also planning to run a Pride Film challenge in June to bring together brands, businesses, content creators, and all folks interested in supporting LGBTQ+ filmmakers.

If your business needs great video, get in touch at paige@audpop.com.

What advice would you give to a queer founder planning on launching a startup?

Make sure you’re fulfilling a need in the marketplace and that people will pay for your product or service. LGBTQ+ founders should join StartOut and connect within the community. It’s a great hive mind to share resources and ideas and have great conversations with like-minded people in your circle.

Bring on exceptional talent. Have a vision but keep it super simple at first; find one product or service that serves the need and tell that story extremely well. That ability to tell your story will make or break your business.