Meet The CEO Who Turned Vimeo Into A Billion-Dollar Company
Vimeo was always YouTube's weird, flailing, artsy cousin — until a thirty-something CEO stepped in and figured out how to make it a cash cow. CEO Anjali Sud has transformed the near-forgotten Vimeo into a $6 billion blockbuster business that lets both mom-and-pop shops and giant corporations shoot, edit and post millions of videos across the internet’s most influential sites.
Seven years ago, Vimeo had Hollywood dreams. The internet video outfit—owned by Barry Diller’s IAC—had found a niche hosting flicks for artsy filmmakers who didn’t want their works to be tossed into YouTube’s unruly, ad-driven stew. But it was a tiny, money-losing business with annual revenue under $40 million. Vimeo was pinning its hopes on the booming streaming business, betting it could leverage its relationship with creatives to build a subscription service to rival Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO. It hired studio execs from Paramount and Hulu and signed distribution deals with Lionsgate, CBS Interactive and Spike Lee for content to stock the new service.
But Anjali Sud, then Vimeo’s 31-year-old director of marketing, had a hunch the company’s future was not in Hollywood hits but Silicon Valley plumbing. Her plan: shift its focus from entertainment to entrepreneurs. “Vimeo had long been a software company for filmmakers, but the market was too small,” says Sud, now 37. “There was another, much bigger market—businesses. What Squarespace and GoDaddy did for websites, we could do with video.”
Sud was soon transforming Vimeo from a dusty web relic into the showstopper of IAC’s tech portfolio. A one-stop shop to shoot, edit, store and distribute video, Vimeo posted sales of $84 million during the fourth quarter of 2020, a 54% jump from the same period the previous year. Last quarter, net subscribers increased by 300,000, to a total of 1.5 million—a gain of nearly 25%. Annual revenue is on track to top $300 million. IAC shut down the streaming division in 2017 and made Sud the CEO.
Vimeo should be another star spin-off. In the current frothy cloud software market, Bank of America predicts Vimeo (which IAC tried to unload to Kodak for around $10 million more than a decade ago) could hit a valuation of $10 billion—about 50% of IAC’s current market cap.