As Phil Libin speaks his Zoom background changes rapidly, cycling through images of his past trips to Japan before settling upon a looping animation of a wooded landscape crafted in paper. Moments later, a Weekend Update-style screen appears in the right side of Libin’s virtual room with presentation text – and Libin follows it, his body reappearing, smaller, next to the box so that he can point with his arm to specific sentences.
This is mmhmm, Libin’s virtual presentation startup, in action. Started in May as “a kind of joke” during shelter-in-place, mmhmm now has thousands of test users, a waitlist of 100,000 and, as of Wednesday, a fresh $31 million in funding to expand. The funding, which includes a $21 million Series A investment led by Sequoia, an additional $5 million raised for Libin’s startup studio All Turtles and $5 million in debt from Silicon Valley Bank, likely values mmhmm in the ballpark of $100 million, all before its general launch.
“We all have these micro performances we do every day, where you have to perform for your employees, or your boss, your investors or your social media followers, your kids. And doing it on video is tedious,” Libin explains. “We want to level up that performance however you’re doing it.”
Known for his years running Evernote, the note-taking app that preceded a new wave of startups like Notion and Roam Research, Libin argues that the post-Covid 19 world has shifted inexorably towards “DJ-ification,” or a hybridization of virtual and live experiences he calls “IRL-plus.” Libin doesn’t believe in-person interactions won’t return, to a degree. But interactions like doctor and bank visits, concerts and investor earnings calls can all be augmented, he says, by the