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Norwich based FX Home who are making an impression in the film and photography industry with their innovative software. Pictured left to right Simon Jones, Andrea Wake, Tom McLoughlin and Josh Davies. Photo: Steve Adams
By Shaun Lowthorpe Business editor
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Norfolk Start-Up business is on the verge of forging a major deal to bundle its specialist video editing software on products sold by electronics giant Sony.
FX Home was founded by former University of East Anglia graduate Josh Davies, who originally started the company from his bedroom at his home in Norwich a decade ago.
And it is on the verge of conquering the US video and photo editing market - despite being virtually unheard of in this country.
The 33-year-old, who was born and grew up in Fakenham, started the company after completing his UEA studies, releasing its first commercial software product five years later in 2005.
But thanks to the boom in online videos via Youtube, the last 18 months has seen the business take off, and the company which now employs 18 people and has a £1.5m a year turnover, has recently moved into newly refurbished offices in St Giles House.
Its special effects software, which sells for between £100 and £300, has won an army of independent film maker fans who use it to produce movies on Youtube. And while the company is little known over here, 85pc of its products are sold in the US.
The firm has already forged a partnership to bundle a version of its software on products developed by Sony Creative, whose Vegas video editing software is biggest selling consumer editing software in the world, and it has also teamed up with Red Bull.
And it is on the verge of a second major deal with Sony Creative to extend its reach globally.
The software has also been used by a new generation of independent film makers, including Freddie Wong, whose Youtube movies have had more than 600m views. More recently the software has been used on mainstream movies Hangover 2 and Salt.
But it is its Photokey software, designed for removing green screen backgrounds from digital photographs, which is proving the key to the company’s growth becoming the best selling product in its sector with 35,000 owners worldwide, with a new version aimed at tablets and mobile phones under development.
Mr Davies said a key part of the company’s growth was the creation of a website to garner the views of film makers, when the product was being developed in the early years, while more than 2.5m people have viewed its Youtube channels and more than 20,000 people have posted on its user forums in the last year.
And the firm has already rebuffed an attempt by Apple to buy it - preferring instead to focus on developing its core product and remaining in Norwich.
“The company has really transformed over the last 18 months, but it’s where we are going to go now that’s going to be really interesting,” he said. “There’s a perception that Youtube isn’t serious, but one of our ex-users, Freddie Wong has had more than 600m views.
“We were absolutely adamant that we wanted this software to be the best in the industry, and with Hitfilm we didn’t want there to be any gap between what Indie film makers do and what you see in the cinema,” he said.
He said the company had enjoyed great success on Youtube in particular where it had more than 20,000 subscribers across its channels.
“We were approached by Sony to work with them on their video software and we are being bundled on a version of that,” he added
“I don’t think people here know we exist, or that there is this Norwich technology company that’s huge in the states, but we are in Norwich for a lot of reasons, and we love being here,” he added. “We have a lot of UEA people but we also employ people from across the world, our lead developer is from Australia, and we have guys from France and Portugal.
“We never really knew why we picked up in America first as we never really focused on that market Apple approached us to buy the company, and they offered an awful lot of money, but it was a short discussion.
“It’s always been our aim to get the product into the hands of as many young people as possible, but we have managed to do something far beyond what we initially set out to do.”
Two hundred jobs are set to be created after one of west Norfolk’s largest businesses was granted permission to expand its King’s Lynn facilities.