Imagine getting curated insights from Seth Godin on storytelling, venture capitalist and lecturer Heidi Roizen on the 20-40-60 rule, ex-Google and Apple alum Ellen Petry Leanse on leadership, tech evangelist and author Guy Kawasaki on marketing, and other world renowned experts, in short bursts of 30 seconds to three minutes on your smartphone. Audvisor co-founded by Rajesh Setty and Michael Martin aims to do just that.
What is it
Audvisor aims to bring together the world’s leading experts from different fields to share their insights through their iOS and Android streaming apps. They want to position themselves as ‘Pandora for Insights’, with insights from invited experts that can range from 30 seconds to three minutes in length. Ninety five percent of the content on Audvisor is exclusive and is not accessible anywhere else.They have over 2200 insights from 100+ experts.
Team behind it
Rajesh Setty and Michael Martin have known each other for 12 years. Rajesh realized that people buy books and audio books, but generally are not able to finish them and stop listening or reading them half way. “With the rise of push button apps such as Spotify and Pandora, we felt there was a need for a push button learning app such as Audvisor,” he says. To solve this pain point they decided to start Audvisor.
Rajesh had co-founded multiple technology and publishing companies in the US and India. He has written and published 12 books so far and is working on a few more. He is an award-winning teacher at The Founder Institute and a mentor at the Thiel Foundation's 20 Under 20 Program. He also teaches an online course called ‘The Art of Leverage’.
Michael Martin has a BS in Computer Science from Millersville University of Pennsylvania and certificates in Artificial Intelligence. He worked for about nine years at The Boeing Corporation on Artificial Intelligence Expert Systems and later on in Manufacturing, Quality, and Engineering. He went on to join Moss Software, a small CRM Software company specializing in Sales Force Automation and then joined TSC as the VP in 2000. Mike founded the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) practice there and formed alliances with 3 major PLMs software companies and built a team of 50+ employees. In 2003, Mike left TSC to start Valedge Solutions (Intelaphase later) before finally cofounding Audvisor with Rajesh. He is also an investor and advisor to several emerging software companies in Silicon Valley.
Audvisor consists of six employees who look after all aspects from technology to content to curation. They are now in the process of expanding their team.
Audvisor chose to adopt a freemium model and a paid model. The founders confirmed that the basic version of Audvisor will always be free but users will have access to limited content. As of now in the free version, 800 of the 2200+ insights are available with unlimited streaming. The premium version ‘Audvisor Plus’ will be a paid offering, featuring unlimited insights, 2200+ for now and offer unlimited streaming.
What’s in it for the experts?
The founders have built their current database of 100+ experts through their personal networks. Their focus will always be on quality of the content and not quantity. They plan to get more experts to their platform and offer them services, which will be mutually beneficial in the long run.
Audvisor aims to empower both the users and the experts who are providing the insights. While the listeners and users get access to curated content on their desired topics from the world’s leading experts, the experts will also have something to gain from the exercise.
Promotion: Audvisor will market their experts’ books, courses, videos etc. while the expert insight is being played. Their goal is to act as an affiliate but for the first few months they won’t charge for this service.
Amplification: They aim to reach a larger audience via in-built discovery. An expert's insights are distributed across multiple, relevant topics so that when someone is listening to a topic they will discover that expert.
Exposure: Audvisor aims to capitalize on collective reach that their experts bring to the table. Every new expert will benefit from the collective reach of other experts and every new expert will also add to the overall collective reach. They also have an invite-only and referral-based system which they follow while on-borading experts to ensure quality.
Also when they go live with their premium ‘Plus program’ they plan to share a part of their revenues with the experts.
The team behind Audvisor consider TEDTalks to be their competitor in a way but they feel that they have a different approach to the problem. Audvisor’s USP is that their service provides a simple and seamless push button learning experience with short insights and a recommendation engine that learns from the user’s listening habits.
Are people willing to pay for ‘value’ and ‘convenience’? Yes
While doing their market research and from their personal experience, the founders knew that people are generally willing to pay for ‘value’ and ‘convenience’. An example to support this would be the valet service at most restaurants. Why do people avail the valet service when they could simply park their vehicle in the adjacent lot? The answer would be- convenience.
Audvisor’s invited experts include ‘NYTimes’ best-selling authors, award winning speakers, and high level executives/executive coaches who generally charge upwards of $1000 to $2000 per hour to give structured advice to corporate executives and most of this content can be accessed online for free. But the fact is that most people are busy and do not have the time and patience to sift through volumes of content to find out what they need. Hence, Audvisor feels that there is a need for such a service. The feedback so far for has been positive and it supports their thinking process which is -- more value for less time spent and a small investment of money.
Funding and future plans
Audvisor recently announced that it had raised 1.4 million from angel investors, including Formation 8's Shirish Sathaye. They plan to use this funding by investing it in their technology, marketing efforts and expansion plans.
Pivots:While their current plans include a subscription based model, they said that they may pivot to an ad based model in the future once they have a few million users on their platform. As the platform grows and Audvisor gathers data based on their users listening habits and interests, they could opt for advertising or data analytics, where they could sell data from the metrics they gather to experts and organisations.
More categories: Audvisor currently has content from different experts across topics like health and wellness, social media, career growth, job hunting, business, management, sales and marketing etc. In the future, they plan to expand into more categories. They have both short-term and long-term content acquisition and curation plans.
Recording Studios: Audvisor takes care and bears all the expenses involved in recording, framing questions and getting the best content out of their experts in 60 to 90 minute sessions. To make the platform more scalable in the future, they will allow experts to record content from their own studios or available resources as long as certain guidelines are followed.
As Audvisor is building a global product, Michael confirmed that their future plans may include vernacular content. Some of their experts are bilingual with large fan followings across the world, so there is a market for it. They are also in the process of improving the UI and UX of the app with more features and a ‘trending section’.
Our product has raised a lot of interest among both experts and users, we have also been approached by Fortune 500 companies for possible partnerships. We are in talks and are planning to raise a Series A round of funding in the future. said Michael Martin.
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