Exactly a year ago today, we launched the first private beta of mmhmm. It's been a pretty eventful year, and we're happy to announce that we just raised a $100 million B round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 to kick mmhmm up a notch. A few notches.
We started mmhmm a year ago as a joke. We were trying to survive being locked down during the pandemic and needed to laugh during interminable Zoom meetings. A few months ago, we entered a new phase of the company: as the world started to reopen, we shifted from trying to survive the pandemic to helping people thrive in the coming post-pandemic world. We believe that the next generation of video tools and the distributed work style that they enable can make the new world better, fairer, more productive, and more humane.
Don’t think about how we used to work. Think about how we should be working.
mmhmm has the potential to play an essential part in this monumental change. Over the past eight weeks, we've shown everyone what’s possible during the mmhmm Summer event, demoing our upcoming features and spotlighting beautiful work from our community. If you haven't seen any of it yet, please take a look. It's way beyond making Zoom calls less boring. We can transform human communication.
Not coincidentally, the content of mmhmm Summer is what we demoed to SoftBank and our other investors to raise this round. If you want to see our pitch, just take a look at product and demo videos. We’re grateful for our investors’ trust and support and for the enthusiasm and dedication of mmhmm's employees, customers, users, and partners.
Who are the investors?
SoftBank Vision Fund is the lead in this B round. Sequoia Capital, Mubadala Capital, Human Capital, World Innovation Lab (WiL), and many of our earlier investors are also participating. It's a pretty fantastic group, and we’re honored to be on this journey with them.
Lydia Jett from SoftBank Investment Advisers is joining me and Roelof Botha from Sequoia on the mmhmm Board of Directors. Anita Sands is joining the board as an independent director. I've been a big fan of Lydia and Anita for years and am psyched to finally work with them!
Combined with our seed and A rounds, we've now raised about $136 million for mmhmm in less than a year.
Why did you raise money now?
Most tech startups spend the first four or five years of their lives trying to be impressive to investors. Investors are important, but they’re not customers. The beginning phase of a startup’s journey is typically spent focusing on the next round. Today’s announcement means we got mmhmm through the early phase in just one year. We don't have to worry about being impressive to investors any more; we can devote all our attention to being impressive to customers. We’re off to a great start with many customers; individuals, companies, and schools are embracing their new communication superpowers with mmhmm, but now that we don’t have to split our attention between investors and customers, we can go much faster. I'm thankful for the four-year head start!
Why did you raise so much?
Because it's better than not raising enough.
One of my main jobs as a CEO is to insulate the team from the ups and downs of the hype cycle. mmhmm sits at the Venn diagram intersection of two pretty volatile things: the hype cycles for video and the one for mid-stage tech startups. I don't want anyone in the company to worry about either of these things. I just want us to put our heads down for as long as it takes and work on making the best product possible.
My other main job as CEO used to be making sure that everyone had enough coffee, but our new distributed work style has eliminated that burden.
What are you going to spend the money on?
Mostly people; we’ll be over a hundred by the end of the year and we are hiring rapidly and globally. We started with a Mac version of mmhmm. A few weeks ago, we released the version for Windows, along with features for business use. Other versions are coming: iOS in the next few weeks, Android later this year. We’re also standing up teams dedicated to building great integrations with all of our partners: Zoom, Cisco Webex, Google, Microsoft, and others.
We’re moving from just making you good on video, to making your team great at video. The whole workflow of making, sharing, watching, commenting, and acting on videos will be getting the mmhmm treatment.
We’ll also be making content—a lot of content—by ourselves and with our community to spotlight the superpowers that being great at video can give you.
Did we mention that all of this will be global? We’ll be operating in twelve languages by this summer with many more to come.
We’ll spend some of the money on servers and infrastructure. Video magic gets expensive.
What's next for mmhmm?
A year ago we couldn’t imagine the things we’re building now: time-shifting, takes, Teleport, Loaf...If these words don’t mean anything to you, take a look at my first keynote at the launch of mmhmm Summer. All of that is pretty mind-bending and it’s coming now.
One of the sure signs that you’re onto a good product idea is when you see it being used in ways you couldn’t have foreseen. This happens with mmhmm all the time now. We don’t know everything we’ll be working on next year, but we know they’re going to be equally epic.
Come join us. Either as an employee, an individual user, a business or educational customer, or a partner. We thank everyone who was with us from the very beginning and we welcome everyone who wants to come with us on this next phase of our journey!
Let’s kick it up a notch together. Many notches.
- Phil Libin