HeyGen, led by CEO Joshua Xu, is causing a stir in the world of AI video creation. Xu sees its impact similar to what Snapchat and Instagram achieved in their early days. The platform reached big goals, making $18 million annually, jumping from $1 million in March and $10 million in October.
Xu envisions AI as the new camera and HeyGen aspires to lead this paradigm shift. Recent funding of $5.6 million, led by Conviction Partners, values the Los Angeles-based startup at $75 million. It got funding and they made a strategic move by putting Sarah Guo on the board instead of HongShan. This shows they are trying to move away from their Chinese roots.
HeyGen has a cool product that makes it easy to create AI avatars for their videos. Previously a process involving professional photography and days of work, the new solution generates custom AI avatars using smartphone footage in just five minutes. HeyGen’s progress is because they figured out a new way to make their AI work better.
HeyGen’s roots trace back to the collaboration of Xu and Wayne Liang, Chief Product Officer, during their time at Tongji University and Carnegie Mellon University. Xu’s experience at Snap and Liang’s roles at Smule and ByteDance set the stage for their venture. His return to the U.S. saw the founding of HeyGen, attracting funding from Sequoia China and ZhenFund.
Amidst U.S.-China tensions, HeyGen remains steadfast in focusing on Western markets. The platform, with 25 people, stands out by using really advanced AI for videos, combining tech from OpenAI, Anthropic, and Eleven Labs.
While other companies are also making AI videos, HeyGen is different because it focuses on helping businesses with things like marketing, training and how-to videos. It wants to get YouTubers and TikTokers interested, so they made a new thing to make people like it more.