These Two Founders Met Online And Created A Video-Editing App

Ed Thomas
Founder, Vidds
$2.3K
revenue/mo
2
Founders
0
Employees
Vidds
from San Diego, CA, USA
started March 2021
$2,300
revenue/mo
2
Founders
0
Employees
384K
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331
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These Two Founders Met Online And Created A Video-Editing App

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi there, we’re Ed and Andrew the co-founders of Vidds, an online video editor that focuses on fast, simple video creation by utilizing beautiful pre-designed templates and a super-intuitive user experience. We started working on Vidds in the backend of 2020, ran a private beta in early 2021, and had our public launch (on Product Hunt) in May.

Andrew is the tech brains behind the operation with an impressive background in programming and I’m (Ed) more focused on the product and marketing side of the business, my background is in marketing and video production.

Fun fact, we met online in the Indie Hackers forum at the end of the summer of 2020, and due to the pandemic haven’t been able to meet in person yet.

Our flagship product is the Vidds video creator, key features include:

  • Drag & drop scene builder
  • Scene by scene video editing
  • Library of over 100+ Scene Templates
  • Export videos in any size for any platform
  • Auto resize videos
  • Add background music to your videos: upload your own or choose from our library of free music
  • Upload audio to a scene: music, SFX, podcast snippets, etc.
  • Add text, shapes, and animations
  • Drag and drop element layers: add as many media, text, and shape elements on top of one another
  • Custom element timing for more advanced editing control
  • Free stock image and video assets
  • Much, much more

Our biggest user base comes from solo entrepreneurs, small business owners, and freelance digital marketers. We have users from all around the world - each creating unique videos that cover a whole host of marketing & promotional needs.

We’re now three months after launch and on average Vidds turnover $2300/month

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What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

We’re both Indie Hackers from different sides of the world, Andrew is from San Diego and I’m from the U.K. We met online when I had a technical problem with the stock video platform I was running and my developers had ghosted me (that’s a whole other story). So I decided to post in the Indie Hackers forum asking for help. Andrew jumped in and solved the problem effortlessly!

After that, we got talking and I discovered that Andrew had already built a simple tool so he could create short promo videos for the apps and side projects he was building. Since I was running a stock video platform and made videos for various projects, I also had an active interest in video creation.

I persuaded Andrew that his tool had a lot of potentials, outside of being for personal use and I asked if we could collaborate to develop it further. He agreed, and this was the point that we decided to team up. We took Andrew’s underlying code and started the redesign and rebuild.

Validating our ideas was a combination of using my experience as a video editor to specify a feature list and Andrew’s experience as a developer to prioritize which ones were possible to build in the first version.

We started Vidds as a little bit of a side project/experiment, Andrew was at the time building apps under his project brisa.io and I was working as a professional sailor and running the stock video platform which my girlfriend and I co-founded. We didn’t have any financial pressures, which meant we could bootstrap Vidds and take our time to grow the user base.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

I think it was a few weeks into development when we saw the progress we had made and thought that this had more potential than being just a side-project.

The process of building the product was a very iterative one. I was designing mock-ups and user flows in Figma and then Andrew was taking those designs and turning them into a functioning app.

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these-two-founders-met-online-and-created-a-video-editing-app

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Books and podcasts are great, but all that knowledge is useless until put into action.

The startup costs were reasonably low since we didn’t need to bring in any outside help. In the early months, our costs were approximately $10/month to host the marketing site and the app was covered by AWS credits that we had.

Since neither of us is a designer we found it easier to take inspiration from apps in other niches and use the best practices to guide the direction of our designs.

After several different redesigns and feature additions, we felt we were ready to release a private beta. To get the early beta testers we reached out to as many people as we could (that we thought were relevant) and asked them to sign up, give Vidds a try and then provide us with as much critical feedback and feature requests as possible.

Describe the process of launching the business.

Our strategy for launching the business was to utilize several online channels to grow awareness and bring in the early users with a 50% discount.

In the end, it’s better to get your product into the hands of the users and collect that all-important feedback so you can start improving on the next version.

Part of this strategy was writing articles on Indie Hackers, posting in various subreddits, and launching Vidds on Product Hunt.

Product Hunt was a big deal for us, it’s a community of our peers and the platform that a lot of the businesses that we look up to also launched on. We spent a lot of time preparing all of the assets (text, images & video) in advance and then had a group of supporters that went in early, upvoted us, and left encouraging comments. All the hard work seemed to pay off, we ended up ranked the #4 product of the day.

Plus, we had our first paying user, someone signed up for an annual membership. Overall we signed up around 150-200 users on the free plan and secured our first 2 paying users.

As the buzz from the Product Hunt launch began to die down, we were approached by AppSumo to list Vidds on their software deal site. After some back and forth, we decided to list Vidds on the AppSumo marketplace. This turned out to be a fantastic decision, we started generating sales immediately and found a very loyal user base that had great feedback and plenty of feature requests.

One of the biggest lessons that we learned with our launch was that you just have to get on and do it. We spent many hours preparing all the launch assets and deliberating whether we needed more features or when the right time to launch was. In the end, it’s better to get your product into the hands of the users and collect that all-important feedback so you can start improving on the next version.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Talking to customers has been so valuable for retention. In our onboarding email campaign, we offer every user the option to book an introductory call to have a walk-through of the Vidds creator. We also send personal emails to every single user asking for their honest feedback and to hear their thoughts on how we can make the app better for their needs.

This relationship-building has meant that a lot of users now feel like they are on the journey of building Vidds with us; we make sure to listen to their concerns and we build the most popular features that are requested.

We’ve also tried to film video tutorials and provide support documents for the most common features that users might struggle with. A great tip is to also include a chat widget on your site so you can answer questions from visitors in real-time, this has helped significantly with converting browsers into buyers.

As we continue to grow, we’re looking for new channels to acquire users from. We’ve placed a big emphasis on SEO and have built a couple of free tools to generate traffic. We use some SEO tools like Ubersuggest and looked at keyword phrases that had a decent chunk of monthly traffic but were considered low competition. After some research we decided on “Online Video Cutter” and “Free Video Converter Online”, then we created a tool that did exactly those things (plus a couple of bonus features) and hosted them on the website, each with their unique page. These pages now get more than 5000 impressions a week in Google search results with plenty of clicks to boot.

These are great ways to attract potential new users since the free tools are video-focused, we fulfill the need that they have at the moment of using the tool, then they discover Vidds can do much more for them and their video editing workflow.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

As things stand, Vidds is in a pretty good position today. We generate the majority of our sales through AppSumo, which in all honesty isn’t very sustainable, but we get great user feedback and have improved the app off the back of this. Moving forward we’ll be looking to scale up our marketing efforts and start acquiring users for our monthly subscriptions to secure monthly recurring revenue.

There are several new features that we are in the process of developing, at the top of the list is “brand kits”, which will allow users to automatically update all scenes in a video with their preferred colors and fonts to bring it ‘on brand’

Our short-term goal is to reach 1000 signed-up users and total revenue of $10,000 since starting the business, we hope to achieve this in the coming months. In the long term, we hope to continue improving the product and increase our monthly revenue to $5000

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

We use several tools to run our business. We have Slack for internal communications, since we’re on opposite sides of the world, being able to communicate in real-time lets us collaborate efficiently.

For all of our design work and mocking-up ideas, we use Figma. Again, the collaborative nature of the tool allows us to have an efficient workflow and mock-up ideas quickly to show one another.

Google Analytics lets us track our traffic and gives us data on where our users are coming from, the channels that are performing well, and the ones we need to put more work into. We also use Fullstory for capturing data from user sessions so we can understand which parts of the app are causing users problems and which features are not so easy to master.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

The first book that got me turned into entrepreneurship was Duncan Bannatyne’s autobiography Anyone Can Do It. I read it at university while studying Marine Engineering, and it essentially changed my aspirations and whole career trajectory. Duncan Banatyne is a British entrepreneur and was an original “Dragon” on the BBC version of Dragon’s Den. His story is pretty unsexy. He talks about his early business of owning an ice cream van, how he leveraged this to a whole fleet and how later his grit and determination helped him eventually grow a hotel and fitness empire.

I love the Indie Hackers podcast, it’s amazingly motivational, plus the episodes are packed full of wisdom and actionable advice from founders that have found success with their projects. Another great podcast is How I Built This with Guy Raz. Guy does a great job of interviewing some of the top business leaders of today and getting them to recall their steps to success. Super inspirational and enjoyable to listen to, even when you think the businesses in question aren’t relevant to you, there are still plenty of takeaways to help you on your journey.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

I think for people that want to get started with entrepreneurship, there are two bits of advice that I would give.

The first is to read or listen to as many books and podcasts as you can. Listening to other people’s journeys to success isn’t just inspirational, there’s also loads of great advice and tips to be unpacked. Plus they often talk about their failures and most common mistakes which can help you to not make the same ones in the beginning.

The second piece of advice is to just start. The books and podcasts are great, but all that knowledge is useless until put into action. It’s often a good idea to start with a very basic version of what you are planning to offer. Don’t worry about the first version, go ahead and make some noise on social media to let your network know about your new endeavor and get it into the hands of your potential customers as soon as possible. They’ll soon let you know if what you’ve launched is useful to them and this will give you early validation so you can continue developing your product offering.

What lessons have you learned along the way?

We have learned a lot this year while developing and launching Vidds.

I'd say the one thing we had to learn, even though the advice is everywhere, is that you should launch early and talk to users often! We put off so many launches for that "one more feature" that's going to make all the difference, and more often than not, the feature was only used by a subset of users. Once we got users in the app, we made much better decisions on how to improve!

The absolute best decision is always launching and promoting. We gained so much from our initial launch, and we could've done it much sooner. We went back and forth on AppSumo, but once we listed there, things took off! Of course, we made money, but more importantly, we got users in the system telling us what they love and what they want to see.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
Ed Thomas, Founder of Vidds
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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