2012年,金明带着自己的创业项目“Venvy”去参加哈佛大学创业比赛,希望用技术为文娱视频创造全新的商业模式,解决用户体验痛点。当时中国在线视频行业还停留在贴片广告时代,那一年,UGC视频贴片广告的规模是5.5亿元。金明凭借着这个项目拿到了哈佛真理基金的投资,开启了自己的创业之路。那是七年前,他19岁。

In 2012, Ming Jin participated in the New Venture Competition held by Harvard University with his entrepreneurial project “Venvy” , aiming at creating a new business model for entertainment videos and solving the pain points of user experience. Back then, the online video industry in China was dominated by pre-movie advertising. In that year, the scale of pre-movie advertising for UGC videos reached RMB 550 million yuan. With this project, Ming Jin obtained the investment from Veritas Venture Fund and started his own business. That was seven years ago, when he was 19.

2019年,金明创办的Video++入选了年度最佳人工智能企业TOP10,他本人也成为上年度NBI Awards评选的“年度人物”。

In 2019, Video++, founded by Ming Jin, was nominated as the TOP10 of the Best Artificial Intelligence Company of the year. He himself was awarded the “Person of the Year” by NBI Awards in 2018.

他是一个年轻的创客,激昂、无畏;他也是一个管理超过200人团队的CEO,谨慎、焦虑。两种看似矛盾的状态,一个26岁的创业者,艾问金明,听90后聊创业。

He is a young entrepreneur, passionate and fearless; he is also a CEO who manages a team of over 200 people, cautiously and anxiously. Two seemingly contradictory states exist in a 26-year-old entrepreneur. iAsk Ming Jin – let’s explore the outlook of a post-90s on entrepreneurship.

创业公司要急着赚钱吗?

Should startups make money in a haste?

2018年7月,拼多多“拖着”13亿亏损赴美上市。今年4月,拼多多发布2018年财报,归属于股东的净亏损额高达102亿元。

In July 2018, Pinduoduo went public in the US with a “burden” of RMB 1.3 billion yuan losses. In April this year, based on the financial statement published by Pinduoduo, the net loss attributable to shareholders reached as high as RMB 10.2 billion yuan.

一周前,成立仅18个月的瑞幸咖啡也匆匆赴美,超过40亿美元估值的背后,是2018年高达16亿元的净亏损。

A week earlier, Luckin Coffee, which was established only 18 months ago, also became listed with haste in the US. Behind the valuation of over USD 4 billion was a huge net loss of RMB 1.6 billion yuan in 2018.

关于创业要不要急着赚钱,徐小平和周鸿祎甚至曾有过一番争论:

Regarding whether startups should make a fortune in a haste, Xiaoping Xu and Hongyi Zhou once had an argument:

艾诚:想赚钱和能赚钱是不是一回事?

Gloria Ai: Is the desire to make money and the ability to make money the same thing?

徐小平:首先要想赚钱才能赚钱,不想赚钱的人肯定赚不到钱。事实上在创业时代,所谓创业,首先得要创造财富。

Xiaoping Xu: First of all, you can only earn money if you yearn to make money. Those who don’t desire definitely cannot make a fortune. In fact, in the era of entrepreneurship, the so-called “start a business” must first create wealth.

周鸿祎:在创业早期很多人想赚钱,但赚不到,但是这个我觉得也没关系,因为有很多公司做着做着就知道怎么赚钱了。

Hongyi Zhou: In the early stages of entrepreneurship, many people wish to make money, but they fail to. I think it’s alright, because lots of companies find their ways to earn money as they run the business.

赚钱,是金明在对话中反复提到的,他说做一家亏损的公司没有什么可以自豪的。融资环境在过去十年发生了较大变化,创业者的融资渠道变宽了,可以通过资本不断续命。但回到父母那一辈,就真正是称之为商业的战场,一定要有一个自己可以造血的引擎。

Money-making was repeatedly mentioned by Ming Jin during the interview. He said that there is nothing to be proud of running a company with losses. The financing environment has undergone major changes in the past decade. There have been more channels to raise funds for entrepreneurs, who can continuously sustain their businesses with capital. However, back in the times of older generations, it was seriously a battlefield for business. You must need a revenue generator.

他甚至为自己在创业的前三年没有赚过钱而感到惭愧。“因为我们在创业的前三年其实没有赚过钱的,这是很惭愧的一件事情,但是没有赚钱的时候我们还把大量的钱投入到技术中去,所以这个事情就使它的风险更大了。”

He even felt embarrassed that he had not made any profit in the first three years of entrepreneurship. “Since we didn’t actually make a profit in the first three years of business, which was very embarrassing, it was even riskier when we invested a large amount of capital in technology back then.”

让金明感到幸运的是,阿里巴巴、云峰基金、优必选等投资人出于对公司的信任,让公司撑过了前面几年。种子轮、天使轮、A轮、B轮、C轮……融资速度越来越快,规模也越来越大。

Fortunately for Ming Jin, investors such as Alibaba, Yunfeng Capital and UBTECH provided financial support for the company out of trust during the first few years. Seed funding, angel investing, Series A, B, C…… The rate of financing becomes increasingly faster at a growing scale.

Video++也没让投资人失望,去年12月,Video++的单月营收突破1亿元。据公司联合创始人董慧智透露,2018年公司已实现了一定的利润。

Video++ did not disappoint the investors. In December last year, Video++’s monthly revenue exceeded RMB 100 million yuan. According to the company’s Co-Founder Huizhi Dong, the company has made some profits in 2018.

说起来容易,但一家技术公司想要实现盈利,关山阻隔。打开Video++的官网,艾问(iask-media.com)看到一段关于公司的介绍:极链科技是一家以视频AI技术为核心,对全网的视频进行场景解析,进而驱动场景新经济发展的人工智能科技公司,核心技术为VideoAI视频智能系统、VideoOS视频小程序系统,支持业务矩阵包括AI场景营销平台、视频电商、视频互娱等。

It’s easier said than done. There are numerous hurdles ahead if a technology firm yearn to make a profit. On Video++’s website, iAsk (iask-media.com) saw a brief introduction about the company: Jilian Technology is an artificial intelligence technology firm, with video AI technology as the core, specialized in conducting scene parsing on video across the Internet and further driving scene-based new economic development. The core technologies consist of VideoAI smart video system and VideoOS mini program system, which support business matrixes, including AI scene marketing platform, video e-commerce, video entertainment, etc.

金明曾在演讲中提及,国内95%的AI企业是亏损的。要想实现盈利,甚至是规模化的盈利,一定要做到三点:

Ming Jin once mentioned in his speech that 95% of the AI companies in China are suffering losses. To achieve profitability, even at a larger scale, you must follow three rules:

1)切可变现的赛道。Video++切入文娱产业,以技术改变大文娱时代的视频广告行业。简单来说,金明做了两件事,一个使用AI技术识别视频中的播放的内容,人脸、品牌、地点等等,准确地找到视频中可能的营销点(目前Video++人脸全序列采样辨识算法整体准确率达99.9%);另一个,就是基于已经完成的识别,实现广告的自动化投放。

1) Enter a monetizable segment. Video++ is positioned in the entertainment industry and utilizes technology to bring about changes to the video advertising industry in the great entertainment era. To put it simply, Ming Jin did two things. Firstly, he takes advantage of the AI technology to identify the content shown in videos, i.e. faces, brands, locations, etc., and accurately hunts down possible marketable points (Currently, the overall accuracy of Video++’s full-sequence sampling-based face recognition algorithm reaches 99.9%). Secondly, based on completed recognition results, commercials are delivered automatically.

2)找到平台化的模式。在金明看来,想要规模化盈利,必须成为平台级的企业。他提出要做一套完全开源免费的操作系统,可以使得视频拥有一整套小程序的各种功能,支持互动、商业化、广告、电商等等。“今天其实我们已经完全实现了这一点,并且我们在把它继续的规模化,中国有将近四五千家AI公司,我们是非常少数的盈利的,并且能达到规模化盈利的公司。”

2) Adopt a platform-based pattern. In Ming Jin’s viewpoint, in order to achieve scalable profits, a company needs to run its own platform. He mentioned that he desired to create a completely free open source operating system that incorporates a full set of mini programs and supports interactions, commercialization, advertising, e-commerce and more. “In fact, we have fully realized the goal today, and we are continuing to scale it. There are nearly four or five thousand AI companies in China. We’re one of the few companies that make profits and achieve scalability.”

3)多元化业务拓展。Video++在实现AI广告业务的规模化之后,成立了电商平台,做了AI小剧场、AI实时视频相机等等。

3) Diversify business portfolios. After realizing the scalability of the AI advertising business, Video++ established an e-commerce platform and developed AI mini theaters, AI real-time video camera and so on.

“Make Video Valuable”,拥有了足够改变行业的技术,也拥有了足够好的商业模式,Video++收到了来自爱奇艺、腾讯视频、芒果TV等头部视频平台抛来的橄榄枝。

“Make Video Valuable”. With industry-changing technologies and sound business patterns, Video++ has obtained opportunities to collaborate with leading video platforms such as iQiyi, Tencent Video and Mango TV.

精彩对话:

Inspiring conversation:

艾诚:创业至今,你觉得哪些创业的常识帮到了你,走到了今天的状态?

Gloria Ai: Since the establishment of the business, what common sense of entrepreneurship do you think has helped you realize your achievements today?

金明:我觉得两层,第一层我觉得是自己的核心价值观,决定了你在什么事情上绝对坚持。我是学数学和计算机的,所以我一直认定技术的创新和推动,在未来无论是10年还是20年,是最核心能够改变现在这个世界的原驱动力。所以在第一件事情上,我们坚持永远以技术为先。第二,是永远保持对现金流的关注。今天你公司花出去的每一分钱,你都要确保这个钱是花在刀刃上的,而这个钱使得你离赚回来那一分钱更进了一步。

Ming Jin: There’re two aspects. Firstly, it’s your core value, which determines what you would absolutely insist on. I majored in Mathematics and Computer Science, so I have always believed that technology innovation and advancement is the core driving force that can change the world in the future, whether it’s in 10 or 20 years. Therefore, on the first aspect, we always persist in prioritizing technology. Secondly, you should always pay close attention to cash flow. Every penny spent on the company should be spent wisely and should take you one step closer to earning the penny back.

我们在创业的前三年其实没有赚过钱的,这是很惭愧的一件事情,但是没有赚钱的时候我们还把大量的钱投入到技术中去,所以就使它的风险更大了。是投资让我们撑过了前面几年,只能说我是幸运的,但可能没有那么多创业者是幸运的,三年不赚钱还可以把公司养到现在。

Since we didn’t actually make a profit in the first three years of business, which was very embarrassing, it was even riskier when we invested a large amount of capital in technology back then. We survived the first few years with the support of investments. I have to say that I am lucky, but there may not be many entrepreneurs who are so lucky that they can keep running their companies without making profits for three years.

年轻,是创业的资本还是屏障?

Is youth an advantage or obstacle for entrepreneurship?

六年的时间,金明庆幸自己很早就走上了创业这条路。“往回去看,虽然今天我们看到这个市场足够好,价值很大,但是我觉得如果再让我回到6年前,我可能不太愿意去开始,因为了解完之后才知道创业的坑其实是比想象中要多很多,所以我觉得在不懂的时候才应该开始。”

During the past six years, Ming Jin felt fortunate that he embarked on the journey of entrepreneurship very early on. “Looking back, even though nowadays we witness the market potential and value, if time went backwards to six years ago, I might not be willing to start the business, because only after experiencing did I realize that there’re so many more obstacles for entrepreneurship than I expected. Thus, I think people should start when they’re less experienced.”

尽管如此,金明从未想过放弃。像马云常说要把阿里做成一个102年的公司一样,Video++也有一个类似的愿景——年轻100年。金明对艾问(iask-media.com)表示,“今天我觉得有这么好的机会,也有这么多支持和相信我们的人,所以我觉得谈不到自己放弃与否,这件事情是我们非常专注,非常热爱,要把它做好的。”

Nevertheless, Ming Jin never thought about giving up. Just as Jack Ma talked about building Alibaba into a company with 102 years of history, Video++ upholds a similar vision – to thrive for 100 years. Ming Jin said to iAsk (iask-media.com), “There’re such good opportunities and countless people who support and trust us nowadays, thus I’m not planning to give up. This is something that we’re dedicated to, passionate about, and determined to do well.”

但即便热爱,年轻的创业者还是更容易受到质疑。心态成熟度低、复杂的商业环境、综合能力不足,都是摆在他们面前的一个个难题。金明坦言,在创业的过程中,“年轻”是一把双刃剑,它有好的有不好的。他说自己早期也曾犯过很多年轻创业者会犯的错误,为了让更多的人能使用产品而进行一些“包装”,但很快就意识到一家企业的立命之本是技术、产品和服务。无名之人才可以练剑,金明在过去两年很少接受媒体采访,也不希望引来太多的市场关注,尽可能将注意力全部放在公司内部。

Despite of passion, young entrepreneurs are more likely to be questioned. Being less matured, the complicated business environment and overall incompetency are all challenges to them. Ming Jin admitted that during the journey of entrepreneurship, “youth” is a double-edged sword that has its advantages and disadvantages. He mentioned that he also made some common mistakes like other young entrepreneurs in early stages by “packaging” their products so that more people would use them. However, soon he realized that the underlying foundation for a business is the technology, product and service. Only by getting rid of the fetters of fame can one concentrate on sharpening techniques. In the past two years, Ming Jin rarely accepted interview invites from media. He didn’t aspire to attract too much attention from the market. Instead, he did his utmost to focus solely on building the company.

韬光养晦,业精于勤。进入2018年,Video++开始跑步前进。

Keep a low profile. Excellence comes from diligence. Since 2018, Video++ has begun to soar.

2018年3月,Video++上线AI场景广告平台ASMP;7月,AI研究院成立;9月,完成C1轮融资,5个月内累积获得融资10.7亿元;10月,发布了全球第一个视频应用开源平台Video OS;12月,单月营收突破1亿元。

In March 2018, Video++ launched the AI scene advertising platform ASMP; in July, the AI ResearchInstitute was established; in September, they completed the Series C1 round of financing and obtained accumulated funding of RMB 1.07 billion yuan within five months; in October, the company released the world’s first video application open source platform Video OS; in December, the monthly revenue exceeded RMB 100 million yuan.

金明说,前面六年的创业踩了很多坑,失败了很多次,后面十年,是应该把这六年交的学费都赚回来的时候了。

Ming Jin said that he made lots of mistakes and failed many times during the first six years of entrepreneurship. In a decade, it is time to make up for the losses from the first six years.

精彩对话:

Inspiring conversation:

艾诚:创业是需要很多自我的想象,或者说相信一些不可能。那你怎么知道你相信的就是对的,你奔跑的方向就是正确的?

Gloria Ai: Entrepreneurship requires a lot of imagination or beliefs in something impossible. How were you certain that what you believed in was right and the direction you were marching toward was correct?

金明:这个我们在湖畔内部也讨论过很多次,在湖畔内部有很多非常优秀的创业者,他们都在各自领域可能都是第一名。但我们在沟通或者碰撞的过程中,发现其实每一个人的角度不同,每一个人认为什么是对,其实是不同的。但是最重要你如果今天你在做这个行业,你在做这件事情,你自己如果是个掌舵人,不管在任何情况下,他必须都是对的。

Ming Jin: This has been discussed internally at Hupan University. There are a good number of outstanding entrepreneurs at Hupan, who might be industry leaders in their respective fields. However, during our communications or exchanges, I noticed that each person had various perspectives. What each one thinks is right differs. Yet, most importantly, if you’re in this industry as an industry leader, under any circumstances, you must be right.

要记住这样一句话,悲观者往往正确,乐观者往往成功。有些时候你会发现有些悲观的人往往都是正确的,比如说今天我说另外一家企业,我说你这个问题那个问题,可以说很多出来,说完之后你发现都是对的,他也认可是对的。但是你会发现,如果你眼中都是问题,最后就会使得你看不到那个东西它真正能成功的地方在哪里,可能今天你就不会去做这件事情。你只有往前踏这一步,你跳下水里面你才可能会游泳,如果在岸上看别人游泳你永远游不会。

Remember, pessimists are often correct, but optimists tend to succeed. Sometimes you might find out that some pessimists are usually correct. For example, let’s say I’m talking about a company today, and I name plenty of issues about the company. Then you realize that you’re right, and he also acknowledges you. However, you would notice that if all you see are issues, you will find it difficult to see through what can make it succeed and you might not take actions on it. Only when you take a step forward and jump into the water can you learn to swim. If you watch someone else swim on the shore, you will never master swimming.

艾诚:所以不是找到一件正确的事,要赚钱的事,我相信它,而是你觉得你要相信一件事,你把它做正确,做到伟大?

Gloria Ai: So it’s not about finding the right thing. To make money, you need to believe in it and make it right and great?

金明:这两者之间我觉得是共通的,你肯定是认为这件事情它是有足够大的价值你才会去做的,但在做的过程中你会有很多的质疑,会发现它有很多问题,在这种时候,其实99%的人会退缩,会直接跳出来,只有那1%才有可能在你一开始相信的初心上继续坚持。

Ming Jin: I think there’s common ground between the two. You must believe in its tremendous value to work for it, but you will have innumerable doubts and find out plentiful issues during the process. At that point, 99% of the people will step back and quit. Only 1% of them will persist in their initial motivation.