Sign up here for the latest articles
By Leah Montebello
Analisa Goodin, Founder of Catch&Release, discusses the power of content licensing and how leadership hinges on vulnerability.
Authenticity is Key
“As clients move towards [authenticity], they will need tools that will help them do it and do it well. It impacts the intern right up to the CMO and everyone touches that experience.”
Born and raised in the Bay Area San Francisco, the heart of Silicon Valley, it is perhaps unsurprising that Analisa Goodin is the founder of a fast-growing tech platform startup.
Catch&Release is a leading content licensing platform for sourcing and licensing content from the internet, enabling brands and advertisers to secure copyright and model releases, manage license rates and data, and indemnify content, all in one place. Catch&Release raised $14 million in their most recent funding round, bringing their total investment to $26 million.
With a MA, Goodin describes herself as an “artist by trade”, and before forming Catch&Release, worked at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, as well as various creative gigs at museums across the US. However, it was through her role as a freelance photo researcher that she had the initial idea for her startup.
“At the time, I was being paid well and really utilizing my skills as an artist. I could understand how imagery communicates with consumers and be able to confidently service and work with a creative team,” she says.
In her role, Goodin would scour the internet to find authentic content, or ‘found content,’ for client campaigns and she explained that she would “go anywhere the web took [her].” This often meant landing on unlicensed content, where the work was often most authentic, but ultimately inaccessible to brands.
She continues, “the content I found online was amazing. I could see it and touch it, but I couldn’t have it or give it to my clients…so I thought, ‘How can we get this content in a scalable way when this creative is in Botswana, or Sweden or on a farm in Idaho?’”
It was at this point Goodin realised she was sitting on an exciting idea for a company… and Catch&Release was born in 2015.
Building a product for everyone
With 1.3 trillion photos and videos uploaded onto the internet every year and no clear licensibility method in place for creatives, Goodin saw great potential in the huge amount of untapped material that lives on the internet.
She says,“the appetite for the content was growing, there was a clear gap. Figuring out how to license content may not have been the sexiest gap, but I knew it would lead to an amazing creative opportunity.”
Goodin explains how there are also two types of creatives: the professional creators, who understand licensability, and act as commercial partners, and then “civilian” creatives, who need to be guided through the process. Whilst the former have a better grasp of licensability and how to sell their content to brands, Goodin explains how a friction persists for both categories. It is a balancing act of ensuring that creatives feel ownership of their content and buyers feel like they are getting value in the creative output.
Catch&Release enables a process of licensing that is both usable and scalable, and the model hinges on buyers (who are normally either brands or agencies) being uncovering found content and creators through Catch&Release. This avoids the investment of creative’s time spent looking for content that they need to then find a way to license on their own , and also demonstrates the level of trust clients place on the platform to find the best found content.
With dozens of Fortune 500 clients on their books Catch&Release has seen a 100% increase in content licensed on the platform in the first quarter of 2021, and a doubling in revenue year-over-year.
“There is a great phrase in technology, which says nail it with people, scale it with software. That applies here”, Goodin explains.
Out of the gate, Goodin initially did the content selection by hand and trained curators to work from client briefs. Not only did this allow the team to bootstrap for two and a half years, growing to fifteen employees, but it also “afforded us a lot of runway and intelligence,” Goodin emphasises.
Now they use AI and recommendation engines, as well as licensing predictability to find content for their clients. This gives brands and agencies relevant assets, as well as the predictability score of licensability, ultimately saving time and boosting productivity for all involved.
Moreover, with recent investment from the likes of Accel, the American venture capital firm, Goodin plans to develop product, engineering and marketing even further: “We see a huge opportunity to tell our story to new ears. There are a lot of people in this industry who don’t see the internet as a safe space to source found content. However, we are really excited by our ‘first to market’ position and to articulate that it is a reliable and safe space,” she says.
Goodin is undeniably passionate about her company’s growth, and the ultimate goal for Catch&Release is to “license the internet.” “We see our work as empowering story tellers and making the internet a professional resource to facilitate those stories through images, videos, audio content and copy.”
Pandemic benefits and market shifts
By utilizing content that already exists rather than producing new material, Catch&Release was also able to facilitate campaigns throughout the pandemic when production wasn’t otherwise possible. Goodin views the industry as fundamentally shifting.
She explains, “I think of the industry as a huge ecosystem of people who play different roles and they have all shifted over time. For a while agencies controlled production and now brands are bringing some of those capabilities in-house.”
The pandemic highlighted how some brands wanted to retain control of their content and whilst brands will continue to rely on agencies for certain things, Goodin predicts that a majority of production will take place internally in the future. Consequently, this has also meant that Catch&Release’s clients have shifted from agencies to brands.
Other Women of Influence: Jo Coombes: spearheading creative production towards a more sustainable future
In her view, the market is shifting towards authenticity, and consumers are much more concerned with how brands are communicating with them: “As clients move towards [authenticity], they will need tools that will help them do it and do it well. It impacts the intern right up to the CMO and everyone touches that experience.” And in her view, scalability is only achieved through licensability because brands can’t handmake content for every campaign.
She adds, “Catch&Release is building tools that are the rails for licensing the internet for the whole ecosystem. Our customers are a reflection of the state of the industry”.
“We are living that future now and I think it will come down to what consumers expect and what brands need to deliver… I think about the internet as the huge creative repository that without a licensing engine, will not be able to scale,” she emphasises.
Vulnerability in leadership
On being a woman in technology, she says, “I don’t think about myself as a female founder but I think about myself as a CEO that has landed on and nurtured those ‘once in a lifetime’ really good ideas and that I uniquely feel and know.”
Goodin does think gender may feed into her leadership style, and has particularly impacted fundraising for the company . She believes that whilst she doesn’t necessarily meet the criteria for the “pattern matching investors” of the world, she doesn’t always see this as a disadvantage: “In some instances, we were able to cut through some of the noise more quickly because of certain investors’ disposition”.
Describing leadership as a push and pull exercise, Goodin views leadership as a skill that hinges on listening to people, whether that be customers or employees; she is unafraid to admit she doesn’t have all the answers, and expects the same from her employees.
She explains, “the table is round, not rectangular and it’s a much more dynamic space where every voice is heard.” This is something she says is really important, especially at an early stage company, as she believes it takes “a village” to build a successful business.
This village culture is something that Goodin is extremely passionate about. Her TED talk of choice would be around how to grow a team for “high-risk, high-reward” companies. Deeming it as “preparing teams to go to Mars”, she emphasises the ambiguity and excitement that needs to be nurtured in startup teams. She thinks a lot about how you evolve, communicate, empathise and listen to your team.
As she says, “if people are going to jump on your ship, people need to have security in the team and not in the destination but in the journey to get there. Like any moonshot, the journey is filled with ups and downs and we all need passion, determination, resilience, and trust in our team to land on Mars. ” This is why she, and her leadership team, endorse a servant leadership style within their organisation.
This mindset is undoubtedly reflected in her response to her proudest moment. Aside from having her two daughters, she says sharing the news of the Series A investment with her team was another one of her best moments: “Announcing that to 60 people on Zoom was awesome and being able to say ‘WE DID IT’, was great.”, she says.
Seeing leadership in action
Like the quality of her content, she believes that quality leadership is only effective if it can be openly seen.
She discussed the Vice President of the USA, Kamala Harris, and how symbolic her appointment was for female empowerment. Goodin says, “it’s one thing to theoretically feel it, but it’s another thing to see it in action”. On this, Goodin is proud of her role as a female founder, seeing that she is setting a strong role model and precedent for her two daughters, and other women.
Telling me about a recent board meeting she had whilst working from home with a board of male executives, she says her three and a half year old daughter came running in mid-presentation. Whilst some leaders may have panicked, shunning her away, Goodin propped the child on her hip and continued on with the remainder of her presentation: “It felt natural and I know it’s important – not because I didn’t think it was possible, but because now people can point to something that they have seen, and that normalises it”.
By showing others the blend between home and work, she is setting an example that it is also okay to be an ambitious CEO, founder, and mother.
And it is this dynamic fusion that makes Catch&Release, and the culture she has fostered, an ongoing success.
The Women of Influence insight series is published in partnership with Decideware
Thank you for your support in helping to inform our industry.