Interview With Anthony Welgemoed, CEO and Co-Founder of Ziflow, an Online Proofing Solution

Ziflow, a pioneer in online proofing, offers a web-based product to help agencies and marketing teams streamline the production of creative assets. Driven by the impacts of COVID-19, marketing and creative teams are remotely producing more content for more channels than ever before. A high volume and variety of work often leads to bottlenecks, so Ziflow acts as a single source of truth for associated feedback and approvals for a fully digital approach to enable remote working scenarios. 

The company recently raised £4.37 million in funding and hired new key executives to meet its growth plans. This funding round allows the company to deliver on its vision of creating the market-leading online proofing solution that enables customers to review any content using any workflow on any device across the world. The company now has close to one million users who use Ziflow every day to get real, actionable results.

Prior to co-founding Ziflow, Anthony was co-founder and CTO of ProofHQ, the industry’s leading online proofing solution. At ProofHQ, Anthony built a world-class development team responsible for the market’s most scalable, resilient, and secure online review and approval solution. At the time of ProofHQ’s acquisition by Workfront, it was used by thousands of companies across the world every day, producing tens of millions of proofs per year. Prior to ProofHQ, Anthony was Director of Product Management at Mtivity, where he helped develop a sophisticated marketing process automation platform for agencies and brands.


What Was the Purpose of Founding Ziflow?


“Even when exiting ProofHQ, we saw the immense pressure marketers were under to deliver the high volumes of content required to fill the growing number of marketing channels being used for marketing campaigns/ We originally saw an opportunity in the automation of routine creative production tasks that ate up hours a day for creative teams – that was the original idea behind starting Ziflow. As we spoke with prospects to learn more, we learned there was still need for an ‘enterprise-ready’ purpose-built standalone online proofing platform. We quickly combined the two ideas (creative production automation, now called Ziflow Connect, and online proofing) into the product we develop and sell today.”


Were There Any Initial Challenges You Had to Overcome When Developing the Ziflow Platform?


“I’d say the biggest challenge was speed to market and maintaining the required development velocity to meet the needs of types of customers (the world’s leading agencies and brands) that Ziflow support. These types of customers require a lot more features today in your initial MVP compared to what we provided 10 years ago. Once we pivoted back into online proofing as we had to catch up very quickly and go further with the product. Thankfully, our product and engineering teams have been able to keep up, and exceed, the demand.” 

“Similarly, being a fully remote, distributed company (as we largely were with ProofHQ before), you face certain challenges with managing a remote team – establishing and nurturing a company culture, for example. This has been a very big investment of mine, personally. Prior to COVID, we had annual meetups for our global team and then went a long way to helping us create and maintain a great company culture. I’m very much looking forward to when we all meet again.”

What Has Been the Biggest Growth Driver for the Company Since Founding?


“Primarily, it’s been the continued explosion of marketing content driven by digital marketing and all of the new channels and methods being employed by creative teams today. 70% of marketing’s performance is still down to the creative and the review and approval of creative content is still not fully solved. On almost a daily basis we talk to very large, very mature organisations, who are still using outdated methods like email or hard copy print outs as part of their review process. Our ability to provide immediate ROI in terms of cost savings, efficiency and delivery is our growth driver.”

“And of course, the monumental shift to remote and hybrid working environments has been something that Ziflow has been able to help companies ease into. Ziflow is, at its core, a collaboration solution, that allows teams of any size, in any location, collaborate effectively to review and approve any type of content. When this huge shift occurred, we were well positioned to help those companies struggling to keep up with their work as their employees moved to remote settings.”


What Are Your Future Plans for Growth and Identifying and Serving New Markets or Customers?


“There are many aspects of marketing compliance (both in terms of brand governance and regulatory compliance) that Ziflow is a natural complement for. Today, we’re helping many customers in regulated industries demonstrate control over their review and release processes, by providing a workflow approach to review and approval. We plan to expand our product capabilities in this area to serve high regulated industries, as well as those organisations with strict brand governance requirements.” 

“Also, automation is still in our DNA from our original founding, so we’ll continue to invest in automation capabilities, in areas that help creative teams accelerate their review cycles even further.”

“Lastly, continuing to build integrations with adjacent and complementary marketing technologies, such as project management, digital asset management, work management, etc. will also be an investment for us in the near term.” 


What Are Your Goals Coming Out of the Pandemic? What Are New Challenges You Want to Solve?


“We’ve achieved a very high rate of growth, in part aided by the collateral effects of the pandemic (the aforementioned shift to remote working). Our goal coming out of the pandemic are to maintain that high growth rate and keep delivering new product capabilities at a higher velocity than any of our counterparts. One goal is to visit as many customers as possible, as soon as possible, when travel and safety permit. I’d say a major additional goal is have our annual company meetup as soon as possible. I can’t wait to see the team in person again.”