Kari Wu is the founder of FilmIt. Her tech journey includes a product manager role at Adobe and Co-Founder of Screen Door Laboratories, an AR startup. She is a two-time award winner from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Kari began her tech career exploration when she was an international TV news reporter, a journey that led to writing the book Startup Fever: How Failure Can Prepare You for Success. Kari earned her MBA and MS in Media Ventures from Boston University.
Q: What's your background, and what are you working on?
My background is in video production. I was a product manager at Adobe, building Premiere Rush, the video editing software that runs on iOS, Android, and desktop. Before tech, I was an international TV news reporter and had helped CNN with digital videos back in college. I received my MBA and MS in Media Ventures from Boston University.
I created FilmIt because video production is too complex and expensive for business people. We use Augmented Reality to teach users what to shoot and how to capture professional shots. FilmIt then provides automatic editing. FilmIt empowers knowledge workers to create their own videos anytime, anywhere.
Q: What motivated you to get started with FilmIt?
When I worked with corporate clients in the past, I realized that business people need more than an easy-to-use video editor. They need help with planning and filming.
A friend of mine further confirmed this understanding when she reached out about the marketing videos for her online retail business. She didn't ask me "how to edit videos"; instead, she described how challenging it was for her to film a professional-looking shot.
I know my friend is not alone. Realtors, salespeople, and marketing managers all need a tool that takes them from planning to filming, and automatically edits their videos.
Q: How have you attracted users and grown your app?
Warm intros and LinkedIn have been opening a lot of doors for me. I was part of some successful startup programs, including Comcast NBCUniversal's LIFT Labs. With the techniques I learned, I have been tapping into my network to set up sales meetings with potential clients, and I am working on setting up webinars with leaders in my targeted communities.
For an early-stage product, finding a niche is essential. I have the privilege of having connections from my time in Boston, LA, and San Francisco. Conversations with potential users across the US helped me nail down the core product requirements more efficiently and get the word out to a broader audience group.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
My current goal is to push FilmIt to its maturity so that every business person can have their voice heard without spending hundreds, if not thousands, to hire professional videographers. In the long term, I aspire to be the bridge between corporations and startups. I have been in both worlds and understand the pros and cons of both. I love innovation. I would like to maximize my impact with the agility of startups and the scalability of corporations.
Q: What are the biggest challenges you've faced so far?
Some people may assume my English is not proficient due to my accent. It directly or indirectly led to frictions that I wasn't fully expecting. To combat this misperception, I've built a habit of phrasing what others said to demonstrate that I fully understand what they were saying. I didn't have to overcome things like this when I was an international TV news reporter. Back then, my job title encouraged people to give the benefit of the doubt.
Becoming disillusioned about biases was painful, but it has pushed me to think even more from the other person's perspective. The experiences helped me to be on top of things, which I later realized was a blessing in disguise.
Q: What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?
Stop looking at research that shows how female founders get fewer fundings or get treated differently. Be the change you want to see and turn any less-than-ideal things into actionable items. Start building traction, assembling a five-star team, gaining leadership presence, and being your best self.