Mmhmm brings out the performer in video presenters

Pandemic-period startup mmhmm adds a dimension to Zoom and other video tools.


You pronounce mmhmm by making that noise that indicates listening, agreement or empathy. It’s probably not to be confused with that other sound that Americans make and which can sound passive-aggressive, ‘uh-HUH’. Anyhow, if you want to understand more about the moniker you can go here. More importantly, this is a case of ‘crazy name, not so crazy idea’ for an app.

Mmhmm is a tool for enhancing video applications: for “funner Zooming” as the company puts it, but also to add dynamism and pizazz to other programs, by adding video more creatively than is normal in presentations, recordings and collaboration spaces. That means that rather than being locked in a grid, presenters can, for example, put themselves front and centre (or to the side) of a slideshow, co-present with a partner, grow or shrink their images, point to screen objects or change backgrounds on the fly.

It’s basically adding an extra layer of engagement to the screen shares that have become so much a part of life and work during the Covid-19 age. Currently available for Mac, a version for Windows is in the works; the model is freemium for consumers and a business version will be available early next year. The company states that it will not engage in any data monetisation.

Performing arts

It’s no coincidence that mmhmm is an app born in the time of pandemic as it’s an obvious fit for a stay-at-home global society living in Zoom-land. It was created “kind of as a joke [because] everything was so boring”, says CEO Phil Libin, speaking over (what else?) a Zoom call. “The pandemic forced innovation that probably wouldn’t have happened.”

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