Empowering digital storytellers through fully online image and video editor
WHO ARE YOU?
My name is Julia Enthoven, and I’m the cofounder and CEO of Kapwing.
WHAT did you do?
In 2017, I left my job at Google to start Kapwing with my friend Eric Lu. We set out to solve a problem with today’s leading video editors, like Adobe Premiere and iMovie. We felt that this software was just too heavyweight and inaccessible for the average person. As video was becoming more and more important across domains, people needed more accessible, more collaborative, and more modern multimedia tools to express themselves, promote their business, and share stories online.
So, we built and launched the first version of Kapwing! Kapwing is a fully online image and video editor for creative professionals, artists, and media entrepreneurs. It empowers digital storytellers, entertainers, and educators. Now, millions of creators across the world use the website every month. Nearly everything is free to use without a watermark, and teams/companies/institutions can license the product to enable their whole workforce.
HOW did you do it?
Eric and I built the first version of the product ourselves. Once the MVP was launched, we needed to get it in front of potential customers. We had no past experience in marketing, so we tried a bunch of low-cost experiments to get traction: outreach to bloggers, posts on social media, Product Hunt launches, adding ourselves to online directories, etc. Ultimately, content marketing and SEO were our most fruitful channels for getting the word out about Kapwing, and there was also a strong word of mouth effect as our customers are influencers, marketers, and content creators themselves. I wrote a blog post about how we got our first 10 customers that might be useful for other entrepreneurs.
Our first creators gave us amazing feedback about the product and pushed us to add new features like automatic subtitling, smart resizing, adding music from YouTube links, jump cuts, and more. We’re constantly pushing new editing capabilities to speed up common workflows. After we got to 100,000 users and about $7000/month in revenue, we decided to pitch our long-term vision to investors here in San Francisco. I raised about $1.7M in seed fundraising to hire an engineering team and build out new capabilities on the Kapwing platform.
Now, our team is 15 full-time people (and we’re hiring!). Our amazing team has helped us scale our business to support millions of creators and thousands of customers every month.
WHEN did you start your company?
We wrote the first line of code for Kapwing in September 2017 and launched the website in October 2017. We officially incorporated in April 2018 and raised money a couple of months later.
WHY are you innovating with this product or service?
Kapwing is fully online, so it's one of the first cloud-based video editors. It's growing faster than any other online creative tool, and all of our growth has been organic. Kapwing has innovated access to creative tools in four key areas:
- Faster: Tedious tasks in iMovie that take hours (making many-photo slideshow, adding subtitles, animating text) reduced to a few clicks.
- Simpler: No installation process. No sign in. No technical tutorials needed. Our interface is hyper-intuitive and is used by hundreds of elementary school students every day. Kapwing works for images, GIFs, and videos instead of just one file type.
- Accessible: Works on every OS, on phones and computers. Always up to date and backed up. Collaborative so that you can work with others on the same project.
- Modern: Unlike today's tools that are stuck in the past, Kapwing is designed for modern formats like memes, TikToks, GIFs, vlogs, lyric videos, etc.
WHERE are you from?
I’m from Dallas, TX originally, but now live and work in San Francisco, CA. I came out to Silicon Valley for college and have been here ever since.