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Jen Zug

A new startup specializing in explanatory animated videos is launching in Seattle this week — and for a group of people taking the entrepreneurial plunge, it would be hard to imagine a more appropriate first project than this video.

The startup, called What Now? Exactly! made this animation for the formal debut this week of the Startup Foundation, an initiative launched by Seattle-based Startup Weekend in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

What Now? Exactly! is a partnership of writer and producer Jen Zug, the president and CEO; strategist Bryan Zug; and illustrator Andrew Imamura, the art director for the startup. The Zugs and Imamura met while working as contractors at another Seattle animation company, lilipip.

Bryan Zug

“As contractors, we bumped into each other on several projects and soon realized we had the perfect chemistry for cooking up some great animated explanations. This gave us the entrepreneurial itch to start our own thing,” explains Jen Zug in an introductory post.

She adds, “That’s why I’m so excited about our first client, The Startup Foundation. It’s their mission to help folks like us do what we did – plant a flag in the community and start something new.”

Also working on the new venture are illustrator Yas Imamura and animator Linda Spain.

Andrew Imamura

The startup’s name, What Now? Exactly, speaks to the growing trend of videos that give clear, watchable explanations of complex topics. Online giants such as Google and Twitter have helped to popularize these types of explanatory animated videos.

Seattle has become a hotbed for experts in the field, with another firm, Common Craft, recently launching a new business model around its videos.

Bryan Zug explains that companies sometimes get so caught up in their own internal language that they have a difficult time explaining the value of what they’re doing to the outside world. The videos are an antidote to that.

As he puts it, “It’s great that you have 50 features, but what’s the real problem you’re solving?”

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