We talked to Ido Lavi, CEO of V-Labs about branded virtual backgrounds for your video calls and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Ido Lavi: Thankfully, we are all in good health. Covid 19 really changed the ‘work-life balance’ equation, for good and for bad. We’ve been working crazy hours, but being in the same place feels great.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded V-Labs.
Ido Lavi: Yonatan, Bar, and I worked on a completely different startup before the pandemic, targeting small and medium businesses in the US, like restaurants, barbershops, and real estate agents. We already had a few paying customers when Covid broke out, leaving these businesses in lockdown and forcing them to close and stop working with us.
We recognized the massive adoption of video conferencing and thought what we can do in that context that will give us a touchpoint with as many customers as possible and allow us to make revenue with as little development time as possible. We launched VirtualOffice on Product Hunt, with nothing more than a landing page, offering customers to upload their logo and create a personally branded virtual background. In under 24 hours, we’ve reached thousands of customers and generated enough revenue to convince us that we’ve stumbled up to something interesting.
Over the past months, we’ve worked with more than 50,000 customers from all over the world and generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue. We are now working on V-Labs, which develops tools that enhance video meetings.
How does V-Labs innovate?
Ido Lavi: We are the first company that allows marketing and sales teams to customize and design the appearance of company representatives on video meetings with ease and at scale. Video meetings are here to stay, even in a post-Covid world; we help these teams with their video meetings and create better engagement with viewers.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Ido Lavi: The first month or two were a complete blur – we’ve closed our previous startup and instantly got crazy traffic. Afterward, we managed to get things in order, which helped in building the company. Covid-19 was a difficult time for all of us, but I think we managed to make some lemonade out of these lemons.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Ido Lavi: We all had to make difficult choices during the pandemic. We had to part ways with some team members, close our business, and start a new one. The most valuable lesson we’ve learned is that it’s better to make a difficult decision than not to decide at all.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Ido Lavi: We’re obviously using Zoom and all other platforms, much more than before. We also use Notion as the knowledge center of our company and rely heavily on email and G-Suite.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Ido Lavi: At this point, we’re doing things that are very different. We are the first to offer teams to enhance their meetings at scale, with no need actually to download any other software.
Your final thoughts?
Ido Lavi: Coming from a very VC-oriented background, starting a bootstrap company is very hard and only gets harder as time goes by (and funding offers). We’ve learned to work lean, have our finger on the pulse of our business and anticipate market movements.
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