How We Started a Successful Text-Based
Video Editing Software Company
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hello my name is Michael and I founded the Startup Type Studio in 2020 together with my friends Erik, Jan and Marvin. We’re based in Berlin, Germany.
Type Studio is a text-based video editor that runs online in the browser. Text-based means that you edit your video by editing the transcribed text. It’s as easy as editing a Google Docs.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
After school, I did my bachelor’s degree in medical technology. I had a focus on computer science and was always interested in technology. That’s why I decided to do a Master’s degree in Computer Science. In my youth I did a lot of club sports and played handball, soccer and table tennis, among other things. Nowadays I only do workouts at the gym to keep me fit.
Together with my team, I previously worked on a slightly different idea. We wanted to develop a micro learning app for consuming summarized knowledge. In the process, we talked to many online course creators who all had the problem that they were experts in their field but had no experience in video editing. So we came up with the idea of making it easier to edit content-focused videos. We started with a very simple MVP to validate our hypothesis.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
As a startup, you face new challenges every day. But when I have to name the biggest challenge then it would certainly be the development of Type Studio.
Even though our product is far from finished, we had many technical challenges. A text-based video editor that runs in the browser has never been developed before. That means a lot of research and basic pioneering work has to be done.
Who is your target market?
Our target market can be divided into three areas:
Most of our users or as we call them creators are marketers. Most of our users or as we call them creators are marketers. They work either in agencies or in marketing departments of small and medium sized companies.
Another creator group are teachers and generally the education sector. Especially due to the pandemic, the transfer of knowledge shifted into the digital realm. The use of Type Studio is a perfect tool for anyone who makes tutorials, lessons or any other form of educational videos.
The third group are influencers who, for example, want to add subtitles to their videos before posting them on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram. Automatically adjusting the correct aspect ratio in Type Studio allows you to adapt a video for all platforms.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
A great acquisition channel for us is Product Hunt. Product Hunt is a platform where new products are introduced every day. You can launch your product there for free. With about 5 million website visits, this platform is a perfect way to introduce your product to a tech-savvy early adopter crowd.
For anyone considering launching on Product Hunt, I’ve written a post explaining all our insights, payments and pre-processing steps.
Of course, we use a lot of social media channels, which help us to get more attention and to get people talking about Type Studio. We post regularly on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. But an even more important platform for us is YouTube. We regularly post new videos about video editing and Type Studio.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
We try to make an on-boarding call with each user. This is very time-consuming, especially when more and more creators are added. However, this is not only important to better understand our customers and develop Type Studio for their needs, it is also an important signal to our creators that we value their opinions and increase the likelihood that they will stay with Type Studio.
We also added a live chat function both on the website and in the editor itself. This way we want to keep the hurdle to contact us as low as possible. With a Slack integration we can chat directly with the creator and provide support.
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
We founders work together in our office in Berlin and live together in an apartment. That means we spend almost 24/7 our time together. We have a big vision with Type Studio and are willing to invest a lot of time for it. Most of the day we sit together at our desk and work. It’s super fun to grind together.
The remaining team members are located in Germany and the USA and work remotely with us. In addition to our regular weekly meetings where we discuss the tasks for the week, we often have fun evenings where we just play card games or watch movies. Thanks to Zoom, it’s super easy to do this with all team members together.
For daily focus we use the Pomodoro technique. So that we can all work according to the same time rhythm and take breaks, we have printed our own Pomodoro clock with our 3D printer. If you want to learn more about it or build the clock you can read all about it in our post.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
We use many tools that make our day and work much easier!
- Entire Google Suite (Drive / Hangouts / Analytics / Tag Manager etc.)
- Figma for all design related tasks
- Calendly to schedule meetings
- Amplitude to track activities inside Type Studio
- Customer.io to manage users and send emails
- Segment to move data back and forth between different tools
- Stripe as a payment provider
- Loom for doing recordings and internal communication
- Finmark to keep track of all finance related stuff
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
Basically, I’d say we’d all do it again the same way because it’s hard to say where we’d be now if we’d turned somewhere else. But once we felt we needed to develop Type Studio mobile and launched the automatic subtitling functionality. However, the feature was not really well received and we should have validated better beforehand if this is really the feature our creators want.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Working on your own product is the most beautiful thing I can imagine and at the same time makes it super easy to work all day. But maybe it’s even nicer to see how people use your product and solve their problem.
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Having less time for friends and family. Running a startup usually means to invest as much time as possible..
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
Of course, we’ve all read Eric Ries’s book “Lean Startup” but you hear that everywhere anyway.
A great resource are the videos from Caya and his YouTube channel Slidebean. He teaches all the basics around startups.
We also learned a lot from Y Combinator’s Startup School. Also a great way to network with other startups.My favourite podcast is from Omer Khan. Since we are in the SaaS business ourselves, the podcast is great to get more insights into the business. The podcast is called “The SaaS Podcast”.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
In 2-3 years I see Type Studio as the video editor that has established itself as the easiest and fastest to use. Still with the goal to give people the possibility to create outstanding videos without having experience in video editing.
In addition, I see many new employees who share the vision of Type Studio. We will probably have also moved to the US with Type Studio by that time.