qcard Makes Video Sticky Notes Because Words Can Only Do So Much

Longtime startup attorney Venus Liles founded Raleigh-based qcard, which makes video sticky notes and received a MICRO grant from NC IDEA. One primary use case for the sticky notes is gift-giving.

How many times have you sent someone a long text explaining how to do something, all while thinking to yourself, “this would be so much easier if I could just show them”? With video sticky notes from qcard, you can.

In November 2020, after working with Triangle-area startups as an attorney for over 10 years, Venus Liles founded her own: Raleigh-based qcard, which is a recent recipient of a $10K MICRO grant from NC IDEA. Each qcard is a sticky note with a visible QR code that can be placed on a physical object. When someone scans the QR code on a mobile phone, it plays a pre-recorded video that had been uploaded to the qcard site.

“It’s basically like Post-It meets Snapchat,” Liles said. “It’s for all those instances where you want to communicate, but there’s more to say that can’t necessarily be conveyed with a few sentences written down.”

No app needs to be downloaded to use qcard. To film the video, someone scans the QR code, which opens up the qcard app in their phone’s browser, and they hit a button to start recording. 

Venus Liles

The qcard product will officially hit the market once the current customer discovery phase is done, which Liles said should hopefully be this fall. Liles is currently figuring out the best market fit for qcards—and there is no shortage of use cases to choose from.

For instance, the initial context in which Liles thought video sticky notes could enhance communication is gift-giving, especially in cases where the gift-giver is unable to be there in person when the recipient opens the gift. 

“When I couldn’t see some of my family and friends during the pandemic, I thought, wouldn’t it be cool if when someone opens their gift from me they’d be able to also see a video of me at the same time”? Liles said. “Rather than a greeting card that can only write your sentiments.”

To see if her idea had legs, Liles built out an MVP and tested it successfully with over 100 people during the holiday season. Many beta testers put the qcards on gifts, but many others ended up putting the qcard in their spouse’s briefcase or in their kid’s lunchbox to say ‘I love you.’

“It’s perfect for cases where you would normally leave a note, because timing is really important for when you want that video to be triggered,” Liles said. “So they will see the video when they open their briefcase or lunchbox, which is more meaningful and surprising than just sending them a text that they receive automatically.”

Another qcard example in the wild.

Qcard can also be used for providing instructions or showing someone how to perform an action. What if an Airbnb homeowner could attach a sticky note to appliances around their house that shows future renters how to use them? Similarly, what if babysitters or houseguests could be shown how to feed someone’s kids or pets, or work the television? Likewise, for physical therapists or gym instructors, a video would be far more effective than a diagram when demonstrating how to perform a certain motion or use a specific resistance band.

The pricing model of qcard is to be determined as it will be contingent on who the customer is, Liles said. For gift-giving, qcards might be sold in a pack of 10 and each qcard could expire after a certain period of time, Liles said. An Airbnb homeowner, on the other hand, would probably not want to have to re-film the same instruction video every time it expires, so a subscription model would be more feasible in that instance, Liles said. 

Liles said further product development is her next step once the customer discovery phase is completed and she has identified the market or markets where qcard will be the most impactful. In general, Liles said that while video content is taking off in the social media and entertainment fields, it isn’t being utilized enough in day-to-day life.

“In our everyday life, we are lacking an effective means to communicate with each other that’s not texting or emailing, but synchronous with an event,” Liles said. “Like when someone goes to the coffeemaker or opens a love note, a video is ready to play.”