What Happened When We Asked 200 Companies for Free Swag

In the venture-bloated Startup Land, it seems like every founder is trying to give away branded products for free. So how does a company leverage branded gear (“swag”) to win brand affinity? We work at a startup trying to set up a brand ambassador program and build brand awareness with consumers. We noticed that other startups give away swag liberally and wanted to do some first-hand research on how common this actually is. »

Author image Grace Windheim & Meg Enthoven

What It Takes to Hire 10 Employees in San Francisco

We started Kapwing (an online image and video editor) almost two years ago and grew the company from 2 co-founders to 12 full-time employees in the last 12 months. Our team is based full-time in San Francisco, where the unemployment rate is astonishingly low. I wanted to write up a brief article on our learnings around hiring for other first-time entrepreneurs trying to hire engineers. Like marketing and sales, hiring requires hustle. »

Author image Julia Enthoven

Finding SF Office Space: A Startup Story

In the last two years, we’ve grown Kapwing from two cofounders to 13 full-time employees and secured two rounds of venture funding, but we just moved into our first office space. In this article, I tell the story of our journey between offices and share some tips for other entrepreneurs on responsibly finding and furnishing your own space in SF. Zero Eric (my cofounder) had worked for seven months on his own from his bedroom before I left Google to join him in Startup Land. »

Author image Julia Enthoven

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