It’s Female Founder Friday, and I couldn’t be more pleased to introduce you to Julia Enthoven, the woman entrepreneur behind Kapwing. Her company is a video creation platform that makes it easier to make and edit video by bringing tools, content, and inspiration to the browser. Kapwing is free to use and accessible from any device. It helps influencers, artists, brands, and creative individuals make thousands of videos everyday!
So, if you’re curious about the startup story of how a former Google employee saw a megatrend and left corporate life to launch her company, or want to know her theme song (which is also one of mine)…. don’t miss Julia’s answers and advice for other female founders below!
What inspired you to create your company?
Eric, my co-founder, and I started learning about visual content when we worked together on Google Image Search. We saw both on our own social media feeds and through Google Search trends the rise of a new kind of video: short-form, ephemeral, high-volume video made to entertain and tell stories on social media. Although video has changed a lot, the tools to create video haven’t. We had both felt the pain and slowness of iMovie and Premiere many times and, when we noticed the video megatrend, set out to make something better and more modern.
What was your biggest obstacle and failure in going from idea to business?
Since building and launching Kapwing, I learned so much about distribution and marketing. Even when we had a live product, we realized no one would visit our website because no one knew about it. We had to figure out how to drive traffic to the website. We tried dozens of things that failed: cold outreach to journalists, paid advertising, mass emails to customers, and more. Apparently, getting a large number of instagram followers can help so I’ve heard but we didn’t try it. In the end, we realized that SEO was the most important vehicle for distributing our product and have focused on organic discovery and viral marketing. The more we looked into it, the more realized how many opportunities SEO offered. Loads of people were going to agencies like Home Service Direct who are experts in a particular industry, helping those businesses beat out all their competitors online and we were missing out on all of that until we adjusted our strategy.
Another major obstacle was self-doubt. There are lots of uncertainties and risks in growing a business, and it’s difficult to get anything done when you’re distracted by the possibility of failure. There were days when we spent so much time analyzing and worrying that we made no progress. We have always learned more by doing than by overthinking.
What are you afraid of?
My highest priority is preserving the relationship between me and my co-founder. Co-founder feuds are the most common reason that early-stage companies fail, so emotional disagreements or heated debates feel high stakes. To ensure that Kapwing succeeds and that we’re both happy at work, we invest time in making sure we resolve disagreements, give each other feedback, and set up processes to make decisions more efficiently.
We just closed our seed round, so my next milestone is a press announcement and hiring engineers! I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to grow our engineering team and accelerate product development. I’ve never done recruiting before and it’s challenging and exciting to talk to new candidates about joining my business.
What is a life or business hack that you recommend to help other female founders?
Business hack: If you don’t know about Product Hunt, you should learn about it! It’s an amazing community for finding new products that might be useful to your business and an awesome forum for launching new products that you’ve built.
Life hack: Coffee!
If you had a theme song what would it be?
“How Far I’ll Go,” from Disney’s Moana! In the past, I’ve felt insecure about my own ambition, but Moana’s song inspires me to strive and push myself further. Great song for any female entrepreneur.
Please share your best piece of advice for aspiring female founders.
Do! You don’t need to have it all figured out – just go, try, do things and you will learn as you go. Entrepreneurs don’t have master plans or flawless visions; they fake it until they make it and appear more confident than they actually are. It’s easy to feel insecure or afraid because you’re trying something that hasn’t been done before, but don’t let that stop you from innovating or trusting your gut.