We started going after long-tail video editing queries with a video editing blog https://www.kapwing.com/resources
Josh, an amazing engineer with a lot of startup cred, starts full time at Kapwing
1 Million Kapwings have been created, almost exactly a year after we started working on the project
Last week, I was asked by a talented engineering candidate about my startup’s paternity leave policy. In this post, I’ll share how I designed a paternity leave policy for other clueless early-stage startup CEOs.
I’m the CEO of a seed-stage startup called Kapwing, an online video editing platform. As 24-year-olds and first-time entrepreneurs, my co-founder and I started Kapwing last September in a casual, scrappy way: no health insurance, salaries, office, lawyer, or formal incorporation, just a Stripe account and two technical founders. We continued indie-hacking until June, when we raised a seed round and started formalizing the business.
Now that we’re hiring, I’ve spent considerable time researching and defining compensation packages, but otherwise I’ve spent no time formalizing Kapwing’s perks. Since benefits are not on the critical path to growth, I’ve been deferring decisions as long as possible.
But, two weeks ago, a senior engineering candidate asked me about our paternity leave, and suddenly establishing a paternity policy was on the critical path to attracting top talent. I wanted to share my research and decision process here for other CEOs wondering about paternity leave.
To design a reasonable paternity leave, I asked my friends who have founded startups about their approach. The responses were very mixed:
I reached out to my investors to ask them if they had insight into industry standard around paternity leave. Surprisingly, several said they had no idea. After doing some digging, I found that there’s actually no standard for paternity leave in the tech industry. Big and medium-sized tech companies vary from 0-52 weeks of paid paternity leave, with no clear patterns or correlation to maternity leave or allowed PTO. The median seems to be around 6 weeks. Netflix, the golden standard for employee perks, offers a full year of paid time off for moms and dads, and Etsy, Spotify and Twitter allow more than 20 weeks of paid paternity leave. Most (but not all) tech companies I looked into offer more paid leave for new moms than for new dads by a factor of about 2x.
Although there is a huge amount of variability, it’s clear that companies are more generous with paternity leave as they get bigger and older.
Read more about legal requirements and what we decided for Kapwing on our full blog post: https://www.kapwing.com/blog/paternity-leave-for-startups/
Last week, we announced Kapwing’s seed round publicly. Like most startup founders who have just closed a financing round, we’re thrilled to have found investors and optimistic about the future. But I also feel that these reports paint a misleading picture of the fundraising process. For us and for many founders, the process of raising a seed round was discouraging, stressful, and very difficult. In this post, I describe the side of fundraising not covered in outcome announcements, the lessons and realities that inexperienced entrepreneurs should know to expect.
I’m a founder and CEO of a video editing startup called Kapwing. In June, after six months of bootstrapping, we closed a $1.7M seed round led by Kleiner Perkins. It took us a little over 8 weeks to raise our seed, and the final cap table includes more than ten investors (angels plus five institutions).
In my opinion, most blog articles on this topic make fundraising sound easy. Many are written from the investor’s perspective. Tech news is a highlight reel that makes it seem like every founder raises money with ease and confidence. But when I was pitching to investors, this perception made me feel more discouraged and alone, since it seemed like other CEOs breezed through where I struggled. I wanted to publish an honest reflection on fundraising to give other first-time entrepreneurs a more rounded understanding of how terrible the process can be.
Compared to everything else I’ve done to build and grow Kapwing, fundraising was my least favorite task so far. I had my deepest lows because of investor rejections, even as Kapwing’s business grew. I was crushed when people seemed to believe in us but turned us away after many hours of conversations. In retrospect, I was too sensitive, but for a first-time entrepreneur fundraising is a fundamentally bad experience:
Read these reasons and my lessons for other founders on the Kapwing blog https://www.kapwing.com/blog/the-terrible-truths-of-fundraising/
Kapwing exists to simplify content creation. We enable digital storytellers and entertainers with simple, fast, and accessible tools and content.