Posted on
August 14, 2023

From Ideation to Exit in 3 years

Michael Sieb
Co-Founder of Type Studio
From Ideation to Exit in 3 years

Discover the inspiring story of Type Studio, a visionary project that grew from a simple creator space concept into a game-changing text-based video editing tool. Through engaging conversations with content creators, a tireless curiosity to learn on the go, and unwavering perseverance, Type Studio achieved a remarkable feat: it was eventually acquired by a major tech player. Continue reading to learn more about their journey.

What is your company doing, and how did you get started?

We started with a completely different idea in the creator space. We liked being in the B2C market and wanted to create products that were really user-friendly and close to what consumers needed. Neither I nor my co-founder had experience in the creator field or were well-known, but we thought there might be an opportunity here.

We began with the idea of summarizing online courses from platforms like Udemy and Skillshare into shorter formats - we called it bite-size learning. These courses were usually quite long, around 10 to 40 hours, so we wanted to make them more concise.

To test our idea, we spoke with many content creators on those platforms and discovered a different challenge they faced. Despite being experts in their fields, they struggled with video editing. They had to turn their courses into videos but were having a hard time with the editing part.

An important thing I want to highlight is how we checked if our idea was good. Having conversations with people over the phone was really useful. We would message potential customers and ask if they had any issues, or we would send them a survey. However, a brief phone call, even just 15 minutes, gave us much better insights. We continue to do this today, and we always make it easy for people to have a quick call with us if they have questions.

Through these conversations, we realized that the real problem was making video editing easier for these creators. So we came up with the concept of text-based video editing. You upload your video, and the spoken words are transcribed into text. Editing the video becomes as simple as editing a text document. You can remove errors, add subtitles, and translate the text into different languages. This was the first version of our product, which we launched in June or July 2020, after changing our original idea.

Since the new idea, a lot of factors worked in our favor. We started at a time when more and more creators were emerging. Our product launch coincided with the lockdown due to the pandemic. This pushed the independent creator space and accelerated industry growth. So we were confident that creating a tool for this space held promise, and we went all in. It's truly an exciting sector to develop products for because creators are easy to work with. They're appreciative when you provide them with a useful tool that helps them solve problems, create more content, or make it easier to do so. We were passionate about working in such industries.

How do you identify and prioritize new growth channels?

We changed our approach as we went along. At first, we manually reached out to content creators on different platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Slack, and Instagram. Instead of promoting our tool, we wanted to understand what potential users needed. We did many calls in the first few months, which was tiring but helped us learn about our target audience and what problems they faced. This is how we got our first users and started building the MVP.

After that, we launched on Product Hunt in July 2020, and that really boosted our growth for the first year. We got featured in some blogs and newsletters, and our landing pages started to show up higher in search results. Our website got stronger, and we started getting more people to visit without having to convince each person one by one.

Then, we turned our attention to SEO to drive more growth. It took a while to get there because we were starting with little money. We used the investment we got to hire more software developers so we could work faster. We didn't have a budget for ads or paying influencers. So, we relied on strategies that were free and didn't need a lot of money. We focused on SEO, which is a big part of our industry. Video editing is a competitive market, but lots of people are searching for it. We started showing up in search results for certain pages and saw people coming from Google after about nine months. This became our main way of finding new users.

We created landing pages, wrote content, and reached out to blogs and other websites to get links back to our site. We did our best with SEO even though we didn't have a lot of resources. We spent time researching keywords and making our content better. We also asked other websites in our field to link to us, and that helped our website become more popular.

In short, our growth strategy was a mix of talking to people directly, launching our product, and improving our SEO. We wanted to build a strong brand and give something valuable to our audience. It was a tough journey, but we learned a lot and were able to grow a lot without spending much on marketing.

What are your top skills as a founder? How do you work on it?

We were four co-founders, all sharing technical backgrounds in computer science and design. While we had worked on smaller projects before, marketing and business development weren't our expertise.

Our strength lay in our dedication and eagerness to explore new avenues. When we launched the company, we lacked significant knowledge of the market and industry. Yet, our passion fueled our efforts, and we gave our all to achieve our goal. We worked tirelessly, from Monday to Sunday, sitting at the same table for nearly two years, motivating each other to succeed.

Though the odds of startup success are slim, we held a strong and determined mindset, always ready to learn from our experiences. Let me provide an example. We discussed using SEO to drive growth in the last question. I was new to SEO and learned as I went along, which turned out to be the best way. Rather than reading unrelated material, I focused on solving issues as they arose, continuously learning and refining my approach. To enhance my knowledge, I connected with renowned SEO experts from platforms like SEMrush and Ahrefs, individuals associated with well-established SEO agencies. I even found mentors and held regular calls with them, gathering valuable insights. This strategy significantly improved our SEO efforts. My curiosity and determination led me to learn and succeed.

Further, we, as a team, evaluated our progress week by week, openly discussing successes and challenges. Our honest conversations supported each other through the ups and downs of our journey. To maintain our resilience, we embraced techniques like the Pomodoro technique, working for 20 minutes followed by a 5-minute break. We also included physical activities, such as workouts or runs, to break the monotony of long desk hours.

I really think it was this resilience and determination to make it work that made us a perfect fit.

What is that one opportunity that had a significant impact on your company's growth or direction?

Going down the product hunt rabbit hole.

I mean most people know that they should launch on product hunt and they are doing it. But I really went all in. I would spend hours on the platform. I was fully committed to making it a success.

I dedicated a significant amount of time to the platform, seeking out and connecting with fellow makers whose products aligned with our values and interests. Through these conversations, I was able to gain valuable insights into their marketing strategies, product development processes, and the various tools they used. Engaging with other entrepreneurs on a regular basis enabled us to learn from their experiences, avoid potential mistakes, and adapt quickly to new challenges.

As our network grew, I was fortunate enough to be invited to join exclusive maker groups, where I was able to take on a more active role in managing and facilitating knowledge-sharing and support. These groups quickly became a valuable resource for us, providing us with a wealth of information and guidance. By tapping into this collective expertise, we were able to fine-tune our Product Hunt launch strategy and ensure its success as one of our primary growth channels - at least until SEO started to gain traction.

What part of your business are you most proud of? Why?

My proudest moment was being acquired by a big giant tech company - Streamlabs (Logitech).

Since the start, we were passionate about creating the best user experience possible for our users and focused on fostering strong relationships with our stakeholders. Our efforts did not go unnoticed, as we received several acquisition offers from larger companies. We did not however give this a lot of thought. But it was Logitech's offer that stood out to us the most. It was a big tech company with an attractive deal. We decided to go for it.

The acquisition process, however, was far from easy. It involved extensive documentation, information exchange, and a lot of back-and-forth negotiation. We were also required to work alongside numerous lawyers, which added to the already overwhelming nature of the situation. Despite these challenges, we remained focused and determined to see the process through to the end.

Finally, in November of 2022, after months of hard work, the deal was finalized. The acquisition was a source of great pride for us, as it allowed our company to scale with the necessary resources to reach its full potential. The financial compensation we received for our hard work over the years was also a welcome bonus.

Overall, the acquisition was a pivotal moment for Type Studio and represented a culmination of our team's efforts. Despite the challenges we faced, we remained committed to our vision and are now proud to be a part of Logitech's esteemed organization.


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