Mike Cheng, the CEO, and founder of Lumen5 tells us about an easy-to-use video editing platform that turns content into video.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mike Cheng: We’re doing well! It’s been a bit of a transition here for us, as I’ve managed to both get married and move during COVID-19. Not the easiest, but it’s definitely been the experience of a lifetime!
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Lumen5.
Mike Cheng: I’ve been a serial entrepreneur my entire career and have founded a myriad of businesses thus far. I’ve always been fascinated with entrepreneurialism, with a strong penchant for the intersection of art and science. Lumen5 would be a perfect combination of those fascinations as it is a best-in-class innovative video creation software founded by myself and my two co-founders, Chris and Nigel.
How does Lumen5 innovate?
Mike Cheng: Innovation is all about solving something that has never been solved before, or building something that has never been built before. Lumen5 does just that. While there are sophisticated video creation tools like Adobe Premiere Pro or Adobe After Effects, they require large amounts of both time and monetary resources. Those tools are great for expert video creators and creative directors who have a plethora of video types they want to create; however, Lumen5 carves out a different market niche. It’s a tool for anybody who wants to create videos, and specifically content-based videos (such as for thought leadership or internal communications). Videos on Lumen5 can be created in minutes and require little to no learning, thanks to our proprietary machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence technology. No other video creator offers that level of innovation.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business?
Mike Cheng: In the past few years, Lumen5 has seen rapid growth. The company was featured by both CanadianBusiness.com’s Startup List 2020 and the Globe and Mail’s list of 100 top fastest-growing companies in Canada. From the start of the pandemic to now, we’ve seen an increase in about 80% additional brands using Lumen5. With the pandemic accelerating the need for brands to move online, companies are committing to a robust content marketing strategy that relies heavily on video marketing to capture new leads in an increasingly crowded online marketplace.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Mike Cheng: Knowing that many businesses suffered as a result of COVID, we recognize many had to make the difficult decision of mass layoffs. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case at Lumen5. The opposite has been happening, where we’ve been revamping a lot of our benefits to help ensure we retain our talent. Examples include revising various budgets that were previously on-premise to budgets that can be spent on supporting a remote workforce.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Mike Cheng: Like many other businesses, we’ve been using Zoom and Slack excessively during the pandemic. Besides, we’ve adopted the use of Asana and Notion to help organize a lot of our projects and plans, as well as to centralize communication. In management, our company has a book club where we read a new book and talk about it each month. A lot of these books have helped shape our leadership philosophy. Some of the books that have helped us include Radical Candor by Kim Scott, Traction by Gino Wickman, and No Rules Rules by Reed Hastings.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Mike Cheng: Honestly, there are few competitors in our space. We target a very specific audience for specific video use cases. A lot of other businesses in the video creation industry strive to boil the ocean – they want to be everything to everybody. We recognize that we’d rather do five things extremely well versus try to do everything at a mediocre level. Lumen5 excels in creating “Now This” style videos, as well as other thought leadership videos above and beyond what any other video creator in the market can do.
Your final thoughts?
Mike Cheng: The startup space is exciting, and it’s both a pleasure and an honor to be at Lumen5. We’re always hiring talented people looking to work at a startup as well (details can be found on our careers page: lumen5.com/careers). We’re on a strong growth trajectory and are excited to see where this rocketship will take us!