9 Startups That Found Success with Epic Explainer Videos

As technology progresses at the speed of sound, it’s hard not to get whiplash from just trying to keep up.

Explainer videos help businesses convey complex concepts in an easy-to-understand and engaging way. It’s no wonder they’re effective. Here’s our pick of 10 startups and their explainer videos that were a success.


1. Dollar Shave Club

26 million views

The Dollar Shave Club’s explainer video stars company CEO, Michael Dubin, and is the sort of thing marketers, content creators, and advertisers dream of making.

The video’s got personality, humor, and a message that sticks. It is on the edgier side and may have been a bit of a risk, but people loved it.

The company was established in 2011 and this video was put up on YouTube in 2012. It went viral in 72 hours; becoming a smash hit. The company even strategized its launch around the explainer video.

Dubin has stated that they delayed their $1 million seed round of funding so it would coincide with the video launch.

The video was also put up just before SXSW. By the time it was out, everyone at the event was talking about the Dollar Shave Club and their epic video.


The result:

The company gained 12,000 new subscribers within a few days, reported record sales, and is still going strong.

So, in a competition for the best and most effective explainer, it’s safe to say that Dollar Shave Club’s video wins by a country mile.

Read more: Why Startups Should Invest in Explainer Videos

2. Airbnb

5.6 million views

Airbnb was established in 2008 and became a pioneering member of the “sharing economy”.

At the time, the concept of an online marketplace where people could rent out their homes to anyone looking for accommodation in the area was something that caused a ton of skepticism.

This was mainly because people didn’t quite understand how the whole thing worked.

The company continued to steadily grow and uploaded content, such as explainer videos and commercials, to acquaint people with this new form of lodging.

Their beautifully made explainer, uploaded in 2014, has over 5.6 million views. Here are some of the top comments:

startup explainer videos that succeeded


The result:

In the same year, Airbnb reported 10 million guests and 550,000 properties listed worldwide. They were also named Inc.’s 2014 Company of the Year.

3. Dropbox

*4.7 million views

Dropbox is a household name now, but when the file hosting service was just starting out in 2007, it hit a roadblock with its marketing strategy.

The company first tried to use Google  AdWords to reach its customers but realized this was proving to be a bit too expensive.

They were spending $300 per customer acquired. This was a lot, and wasn’t a sustainable strategy.

They then chose a different approach.

First, they went with a referral campaign to attract customers. Dropbox encouraged users to share their service via e-mail and social media. In return, the company offered people space for free. This created brand advocates and helped spread the word about their service.

Then, they designed a home page focused around an explainer video.

Watch our CEO break it down in this video:

*We can’t be sure of how many views it got, but it’s been uploaded on YouTube by multiple channels (except on Dropbox’s official channel). The combined views from two of the most popular uploads are around 4.7 million.


The result:

The minimalist home page with a 120-second explainer video allowed people to understand how Dropbox worked and helped viewers see the value of the service.

The revamped strategy worked wonders. In just two and a half years, Dropbox’s valuation rose to $4 billion.

4. Twitter (The first explainer video)

3 million views

I know what you’re thinking, Twitter is more of a corporate behemoth at this point… so why is it on this list?

Well, once upon a time, it was a humble little startup…The microblogging site was launched in 2006 and was the first of its kind.

To help people understand Twitter and what it’s all about, the company joined forces with Common Craft and created what is now know in the industry as the very first explainer video.


The result:

Once YouTube hit the scene, Twitter’s explainer video was published and the rest is history.

The explainer has about 3 million views on Common Craft’s YouTube channel.

5. Moov

2.1 million views

Moov is home to wearable technology and fitness apps that allow people to get the most out of their workout regimen.

Established in 2013, the company considers itself a champion of making exercising fun and engaging, while rejecting the notion that “pain is gain”.

This concept lies at the heart of the company’s “why” and is reflected in their video content as well.


The results:

Their explainer video was uploaded on YouTube in 2015 and has amassed around 2.1 million views. People in the comment section have shown interest in the product.

6. Square

1.5 million views

Square offers innovative online transaction/payment solutions for sellers and businesses. The company was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in San Francisco.

Because of the nature of the services they provide, explainer videos are ideal to help potential customers understand how they can use the product/service and how it can benefit them.


The results:

This video shows you the basics about their card reader in a quick and digestible way. It was uploaded to YouTube in 2014 and has 1.5 million views so far.


7. Ecosia


The search engine with a purpose was launched in 2009 and has steadily gained traction since then. It may not be able to compete with the likes of Google but, in 2014, it became the only search engine to gain a B Corporation status, which shows the company’s dedication to having strong social and environmental standards.

The company is for-profit, but the way it uses its profit is what sets it apart.

Ecosia uploaded an explainer video on YouTube in 2016 to describe its values and dedication to sustainable practices. It also helps users understand how the company manages to do everything it claims.


The result:

The video has 845k views so far and the search engine has over 5.5 million active users. It also receives on average 56 queries per second.

8. TripCase


TripCase was founded in 2007 and is an itinerary management app that allows travelers to stay connected on the go and stay updated on their trip.

The company uploaded an explainer video on YouTube in 2015 and has since gained popularity.


The result:

The video has received positive feedback from viewers and articles have mentioned the explainer; praising it for its creative video production. All of this positive press is ideal for a small startup.

9. Khan Academy Kids


Sal Khan started out tutoring his cousins online and then launched a YouTube channel in 2006 where he uploaded his lectures.

His video became increasingly popular. In 2009, he quit his job and directed his focus on building his YouTube channel, Khan Academy, with his close friend Josh Gefner.

Sal consequently became a champion of free quality education and his main channel is now at 5.46 million subscribers.

All of this leads up to the company’s latest offering: Khan Academy Kids. Launched in 2018, the new Khan Academy free mobile app targets children aged two to six. The company uploaded an explainer video about their new offering and saw plenty of interest.


The result:

In five months, the app received 1.4 million downloads and the company reported that 5 million books were read.


Explainer video culture took off in 2007 with the rise of video-sharing platforms like YouTube. Since then, explainers have become a genre of video and their effectiveness persists.

All of the businesses mentioned above decided to incorporate explainer videos into their marketing strategy and saw results. If you don’t know much about video production, check out our post on how to pick an explainer video agency.

Thinking about having an explainer video made for your business’ product or service? Feel free to reach out to us. We love making videos and we’d be happy to help!

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Posted by Maria Saif

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