Their start-up will change my marketing, and many of my clients, exponentially. Normally video, and video editing takes a STACK of cash. But with Kapwing plug in your video, pick features like filters, music and text, and VOILA, you have a e-marketing campaign , engaging social, convincing pitch decks, a less boring presentation, or an amazing Christmas montage for Grandma (you're welcome).
And the co-founders are young, extraordinarily amusing and ready to take the punches of starting a company (not to mention very photogenic). They left their secure jobs at Google to escape the group mentality and control their own destiny. In an era where we thrive off labeling generations I wouldn't consider them as Millennials. Both act well beyond their years but know how to cut loose. Their self awareness but willingness to offer transparency are the heart of their business. And like most founders I meet they are hungry to absorb information and make mistakes. Meet Julia and Eric.
You both met at Google where you had secure product manager jobs. Did something happen at goggle that sparked you to leave? As an outsider Google sounds like this amazing place. Why leave that security?
E - Nothing happened, Google is an amazing place. I think you get great things like security, predictability and you get to be apart of this big product with lots of users. But the trade off is you don't control your own destiny and make large contributions to that product. Nor the scale that you want to make contributions. You don't make something from scratch.
J - Yes, you’re very replaceable.
E - Yeah, I think for me you don’t get to control your destiny as much. And at the time I wanted to try something new and control my own destiny.
In your own words what is Kapwing?
J - An online media editor for casual creators and creative professionals.
How do you see it helping people? More for entertainment or as a business tool?
J - Kapwing is for any original content creator and serves artistic, personal, and business use cases. It helps people make modern formats quickly, saving them time and enabling them to bring their vision to life.
You guys have moved into your first office! Congrats! What is your first order of business?
J - First order of business is getting everyone on-boarded. We had two people start this past week. New first lunches, etc.
E - Are you sure the first order of business wasn’t buying Coup? lol
Does it freak you out that you had to take so much time to onboard newbies yourself the first week of moving into an office while running the company?
E - Yeah, it’s a change because it's been just me and Julia for a really long time; over a year. So to go from two of us to four people that we have to consider and work with, is a big shift in the way we approach how things get done.
Have you guys set out a structure for how you’re going to hire people. The guidelines for company culture, or set a "this is what we stand for", and this is how I’m going to secure someone to fit that role and this is what I’ll listen for.
J - Yeah I think we have company values we think about for hiring. One of them is a tendency toward action. Someone who is a doer other than a thinker. Someone willing to do something even if it might be the wrong thing. Also people that are creative and interested in wacky, trendy, current ideas. Growth mindset.
Eric I want to know what it’s like for you on a personal level. Julia and I had a chance to talk one on one for almost 2 hours about Bay area culture. Do you guys ever get questioned about being "together"?
E - For me, Julia and I worked together at Google and the same team so we've had a shared working history. Which was nice to build off of. Our personal relationship is positive and we hang out a lot, share the same interests. We have a shared respect for one another and care a lot about what we’re doing.
J - We did have our very first investor asked us whether or not we were dating.
S - What?!
J - Yeah, I mean I don’t think they would ask two guys about that but I guess it’s so unusual to see a female founder as a separate entity since they see a lot of prominent female founders being apart of couple. And that's the only that one asked. Other investors ask what the breakdown of the roles are. They treated us similar.
If you could give yourself advice would you give yourselves two years ago? Because that's when you were starting to do this.
E - I would tell myself to buy bitcoins. (all of us laughing)
J - I have learned a lot in the past year from Eric and running Kapwing. To be less critical of new ideas and to just try things. I think that a lot of people see something that might be wrong and so they never try it. Sometimes you do something weird and it turns out to be a contribution to the world. Also I'd put more things into the world. One of the things I love about working with Kapwing is writing the blog. I get to share our experiences. It's cathartic. Plus it’s a resource for those working through similar things.
E - One thing that somebody told us, he was another founder of a company but still a start up. You ‘ll get there as long as you don’t give up. Perseverance. Giving up is the only thing that will kill your start up. But if you don’t give up you’ll get somewhere. We could do it as long as we stick with it.
What is your biggest fear at this stage of your company
J - I think for me .... I wanna make Kapwing a fun and fulfilling place to to work. I want it to be a place where every employee feels safe.
E - I'm not very afraid of things. But maybe our own ability to execute. Can we achieve what we want to achieve in a reasonable time line. Not really a fear but a challenge. Are we doing something today to achieve our goals.
What's next? What are Kapwing users looking forward too next year?
J - Our goal is to launch a unified video editor. By end of 2018.
Do you have any books you could recommend?
J - "Lean In" for both genders. Super important book about being ambitious and how to treat people respectful in the work place.
E - "Pachinko" by Min Jin Lee and it documents this Korean women’s journey during world war two. Touching and sad. Well written.
S - Sounds like a bottle of wine on the couch for the weekend read Eric. (laughing) I'm into it.
Thank you both for taking SO MUCH time to do this article. I know you're super busy hustling a brand new start up. I can't wait to see where you are this time next year. AND I'm already using you.
Part of the job perks: Working with movers and shakers, hustlers, dreamers. It's a major reason for doing what I do.
She realized systems in place for drug and alcohol recovery were failing those who needed them.
So a recovering addict, Daniela Luzi Tudor, decided to change the system by co-founding a recovery app, WEconnect.
Daniela is exquisite.
I met her a decade ago swimming in the glory of our mid 20s. Soaking up house music, neon lights and late nights. I, a club photographer, she, a promoter. Even then she had such a presence with her striking features and endless, curvy smile. So at ease, so fearless.
Now... She's been through hell and back. And even though she heads a million + dollar funded company she's still seductive, captivating and a commanding presence with a gentle undertone. In a way, parental like. Someone who's lived with lots to tell. Parallel features to her company WEconnect Health, which tackles an addict's recovery path. It's personal and no small, short term task.
I photographed Daniela as the dark, composed beauty she is. Deeply emotional and therefore a powerfully attuned human being. Her company story is one in the same of her very own. Here are her own words describing how she first hand experienced a broken system and how she's using technology to change it.
Daniela let's talk about WEconnect Health before diving into your personal story. I wanted to feature you and your company because you're the exact person who fits the Finding Founders motivation. You're giving back to the world by improving a broken system. But first we need to know exactly what was broken. And how you're fixing it.
Not enough people are getting the proper treatment that they need: for every 100 persons that needs treatment for addiction only 10 get into inpatient treatment and only 2 of those stay sober for a year. Moreover, the length of treatment covered isn't long enough and at the end the person receive a piece of paper called a care plan and are sent on their way. There is no accountability and addiction is treated like an acute diseases versus a long term chronic condition that requires daily treatment in the form of: support meetings, therapy, MAT - depending on what works for the individual.
With the WEconnect mobile app, the individual is connected in real time to their support network and they are kept accountable to their care plan via rewards, positive messaging and location verification. We have a patent pending relapse risks core algorithm that generates a relapse risk based on behavior on the app, and notifies the support network - such as a counselor - within the enterprise data dashboard.
Do you have professionals working for the app that, say, a client could contact should they feel a relapse coming on, questions, or just simple therapy in a way like a counselor?
We partner with professionals and facilities who are that connection to the patient on our app. We are experts at building engaging technology solutions in this space, and partner with the best on the clinical side. We also provide facilities with curriculums developed by our PHds' to help the counselors and therapists educate the patients on WEconnect. We also provide swag for the patients and welcome to them to our community very early on.
What would you consider your official start date of the idea? When you quit your other jobs or job to focus on this?
I quit my job November of 2015: we were on the brink of getting our seed round filled, and the investor needed to know I had skin in the game. I was also feeling distracted at work thinking about it all the time and felt like I wasn't serving my employer anymore- it felt dishonest and I needed to take the leap, and it was a big leap. At the time I didn't have enough to make next month's rent and I really depended on the stipend that the funding was going to provide, but I knew it was then or never.
Do you feel more personally connected to the business because of the reason you started it?
How did this work affect your personal life? I get asked all the time how long founders or co-founders work weeks are.
Do you feel like you "shut off" from work or does work and personal tend to flow together?
DJing?!! It's amazing you still have time to pursue great passions while running a new company. It does reflect the person you quoted Richard Branson a tad. Do you think making time for these other passions adds to your work on the company? Directly or indirectly?
Do you feel supported by your tech community in Seattle? What other business communities are you apart of around the nation or the world?
Last questions and I realize this is tough. If you could go back to that 20's something and change it all, would you?
I would not change what happened to me. I would like to change the impact my struggle had on others. But as far as my own experience, and what it has led to: the ability to help others, the new people this experience has brought into my life, and most importantly a person that has come back into my life as a result is priceless.
Would you sell anytime soon and to who? Would you be afraid that someone wouldn't take care of this business like you would?
I want to grow the company to have opportunities to create the biggest impact and for us to have choices. I am not tied to an outcome where it is: IPO, selling or growing it incrementally. What is important to me is that as a group we decide what is best and choose the path that will allow the most family systems to heal from addiction and behavioral health conditions.
"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places." Ernest Hemingway.
Find something broken and fix it. The very heart of evolution. This responsibility falls in the hands innovators and entrepreneurs. Daniela, is both.
written and photographed by: Summer Wilson
November 20, 2018
It's head shot season. Mid November is before the holiday weight gain, before spending loads of cash and before the New Year when most people want to put their best foot forward.
Step one is choosing your photographer (hopefully me). But step TWO is finding the right spot to shoot. Three questions you want to ask yourself or your photographer will ask for you.
Clothing and location affect the message. We can chat about clothing when you book your appointment but lets focus on location.
A blank background has it's perks. You focus on you and I think it's perfect if you're someone people know. It's amazing for team photos, editorial style portraits or marketing content focusing on a particular person. Backgrounds are person focused.
In contrast an environmental setting sends a message of activity, concept and affiliation right away. It's still about the person, but goes the extra step adding context to you or your profession. It also is amazing for team photos, and/or lifestyle portraits.
Either way, to reserve spaces my go-to is PeerSpace and I'm going to sing their praise for doing such a good job offering this service.
Peerspace offers private spaces up for rent. It's like the Getaround for your commercial or private space. Unless you want to shoot in your house or your office I point clients in this direction every time.
A lot of my client not only love their photos in these unique manicured spots, but they turn them into events, team building, meeting or work spaces before or after. For example: Book a team event, hire a portrait photographer and make-up person, BOOM. Two birds, one event space.
Here are a few spaces I recommend
Covering your basic head shot needs with the ability to add backgrounds and studio lighting. No time limit and super in-expensive.
For a darker, more editorial vibe this space is stunning, located in the Mission, also not a bank breaker and with outdoor natural light access.
If you're not cramped by location or cash take the team portraits here then team build (party) after. It's absolutely perfect for indoor and outdoor photo options with multiple backgrounds and lighting scenarios to choose from.
I could go on and so do the options on PeerSpace. Make time for a portrait or head shot this month, check out PeerSpace to secure location then give me a call to snap those much needed brand visuals.
Summer Wilson - Creative Director and Photographer of Battle Cry