Company headed by SFU alumnus takes 2019 New Ventures BC top prize
SFU alumnus Michael Cheng, CEO of Lumen5, a multi-million-dollar company that makes it easier for anyone to create speedy, “thumb-stopping” videos, is celebrating the company’s first-place finish in the 2019 New Ventures BC competition.
Shortlisted as one of B.C.’s 10 top new ventures, Lumen5’s creators netted the $105,000 prize, and will focus on taking their business to the next level.
A video creation platform powered by artificial intelligence, Lumen5 was designed to be a powerful storytelling tool that helps businesses drive online engagement. Anyone, even those without video editing experience or technical training can easily create compelling social videos in minutes.
“Almost 74 per cent of internet traffic comes from video content, and our goal is to make the creation of engaging video content easy for those looking to build their online audience,” says Cheng.
In just two years, Lumen5 has grown into a multi-million-dollar business with close to 400,000 users including such brands as Forbes, The Economist, Translink and the Daily Hive, without raising any capital.
Cheng, a graduate of SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT), was one of the first clients of SFU’s Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection program and worked with mentor Jim Derbyshire. His earlier venture, WittyCookie, remains active as a local company but Cheng has since moved on.
"I was first introduced to the power of mentorship at SFU through Venture Connection,” says Cheng. “When learning a skill or honing a craft, you seek out coaches and teachers—entrepreneurship is no exception. I've carried this important lesson with me all these years and I continue to actively seek out mentors as I tackle new challenges."
Among the other 10 companies shortlisted for the award was Biointeractive Technologies, another of Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection’s alumni companies, and both co-founders are alumni of SFU’s Faculty of Applied Sciences. The company has created a gesture-recognition wristband and last year was accepted into one of North America’s biggest start-up accelerators, Techstars.