Postering San Francisco: Lessons from a scrappy growth marketing experiment

Hello world! My name’s Grace. I’m a rising senior studying public health at Johns Hopkins University, and I love creating videos, adventuring, laughing at memes, and telling stories. That’s how I ended up interning as a Growth Marketing intern at Kapwing, a San Francisco-based startup. On my first day of work at Kapwing, my coworker Peter and I were challenged to put up 400 posters around the Bay Area in one day. »

Author image Grace Windheim

Business Needs vs Customer Interests at SaaS Startups: Questions for Founders

In the world of subscription payments, service providers face ethical dilemmas on how to charge customers and set policies for their business. A large company might have the financial freedom to take the high road, but startups face a constant existential threat that can force them to make revenue-first decisions. After leaving the company with the tagline “Don’t be evil,” I founded a subscription-based startup with every intention of building a consumer-first subscription model without the “gotchyas” that I hated. »

Author image Julia Enthoven

Cofounder Conflict and Resolution

Two months ago, I tweeted “TIL that cofounder conflict is best resolved over tacos.” A lot of founders appreciated the tweet (IndieHackers RTed), but my investors did not. A few hours later, one of my investors messaged me “Are you and Eric okay?” Then, that Friday, a potential investor told me that I could never show cracks in my cofounder relationship, that it was a very dangerous red flag to investors for a company looking to raise money soon. »

Author image Julia Enthoven

In 2019, is YC worth it?

Right now, YCombinator - the famous Silicon Valley startup accelerator and incubator of Dropbox, Airbnb, Stripe, and many other tech giants - is interviewing for its Summer 2019 class. Hundreds of founders are considering the opportunity to move to Palo Alto for $150,000 in seed funding and three months of storied startup programming. These founders give up 7% of their nascent company to join a community of Bay Area founders and give their idea a shot. »

Author image Julia Enthoven

The Case Against Email Sign In

My cofounder and I recently decided against building an email sign in flow for our users. Our website, Kapwing, relies entirely on Google and Facebook OAuth. In my opinion, too many startups unnecessarily build email sign in into their MVP. Although every product has different requirements, I think that, in general, founders should ditch email auth in favor of Google and Facebook Authentication. In this article, I’ll explain how we made the decision and why for other early-stage tech entrepreneurs. »

Author image Julia Enthoven

How to Write Investor Updates

As a first-time startup founder, I didn’t realize that entrepreneurs were supposed to send regular email updates to their investors after raising money. For two months after we closed our seed round in June 2018, I didn’t send investor updates, and our investors didn’t ask me for them; I went back to growing the business, and they went back to their funds. Thankfully, another founder in my coworking space (the great Deon Nicholas) told me that investors and advisors expect a monthly update. »

Author image Julia Enthoven

An Unoffical Guide to Product Hunt: Learnings from 15 Launches in 2018

Product Hunt has been an amazing launch platform for our image and video editing startup, Kapwing. We got to >300K monthly-active users last year with little marketing spend due partially to Product Hunt exposure. In this article, I’ll describe how Product Hunt (PH) works and share what strategies we’ve learned from fifteen PH launches in 2018. Disclaimer: This is absolutely not official advice (hence the title), and it’s not representative of everyone’s experience. »

Author image Julia Enthoven

Don't Pay to Acquire Your First Users

Recently, a founder asked to chat with me about SEO. During our call, the founder - whose startup is backed by a top-tier VC - said to me “I assume that you acquired your first users through paid marketing.” Really? Is this an assumption nowadays? Since we’ve raised money, I’ve advised several founders who are fundraising for the first time. Many of them have told me that they need capital to pay for ads before they’ve even launched their product. »

Author image Julia Enthoven