We are all witnessing the explosive growth of the Internet, and between smartphones, tablets, TVs, computers and magazines many of us are grappling with a certain amount of information overload. The overload also leads to analysis paralysis in some cases, as consumers are bombarded with too many ideas from a variety of sources. The Information Overload Research Group estimates, “Knowledge workers in the US waste 25 percent of their time dealing with their huge data streams, costing the economy $997 billion annually.”
Trying to research about a topic from scratch too is a difficult task. So to tackle these pain points, Knappily, a Bengaluru-based startup, wants to cater to the knowledge-hungry but time-starved people and take them from little or zero knowledge to a well-rounded view of a topic with their app.
What is it?
Through the 5W1H framework, Knappily anticipates the questions that could be asked about a topic, and answers them in a way that could easily be consumed. Knappily’s main focus areas are current affairs and features on mythology, philosophy, sports, movies, lifestyle, and other topics they think their readers would find interesting.
Story so far
Knappily was officially launched in January 2016, by a team of five founders- Gautham Sethuraman, Yashaswi Kumar (IIT KGP, XLRI Jamshedpur), Ranjith Kumar (Anna University), Tushar Sinha (IIT KGP) and Siddharth Mehta (XLRI Jamshedpur). Currently pursuing an MBA at Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), School of International Business, Gautham has four years of experience in media and journalism and mainly looks at marketing and content at Knappily. Gautham explains,
Each of us in the team takes ownership of different things. Ranjith is in charge of technology; Tushar is in charge of the analytics, Yashaswi is an expert on current affairs - politics, economy etc. Siddharth, Yashaswi and I manage different aspects of content. While our work overlaps sometimes, the ownership is well-defined.
While a lot of people just skip to the sports section on picking up a newspaper, Knappily wants to change this trend and believes in one of Steve Jobs’s quotes-“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
While they were bootstrapped for the initial few months, Gautham added that they recently closed a seed round of funding from undisclosed investors at a Rs 2.5-crore valuation. The app is free for end users and, going forward, Knappily aims to monetise through native ads and sponsored content between regular stories.
Knappily claims that their growth has been organic so far, through word-of-mouth and social media. Going forward, they aims to invest in offline promotions through newspapers and social media marketing to drive users to their platform. They were also recently shortlisted among NextBig100 and look forward to gain from the competition and exposure. Gautham believes that their app has mass-market appeal but also sees specific use cases for IAS and other entrance exam aspirants.
Going forward, Knappily aims to go for language localisation and offer content in languages such as Hindi, Telugu and Tamil. Gautham said,
We will also be customising our content according to our users' preferences and feedback. We are also looking to offer ‘video-knapps’.
Global media spending is expected to rise from US $1.6 trillion in 2014 to a projected US $2.1 trillion in 2019, a 5.1 percent compounded annual increase. But the spending on media continues to shift from traditional to digital products and services at a rapid pace. By 2019, McKinsey estimates that digital spending will account for more than 50 percent of overall media spend. The media market in Asia Pacific is expected to be the largest source of absolute growth for the global industry over the next five years.
So as more people come online, there is a large market for both content creators and aggregators. Globally, Flipboard is the biggest player in the aggregation space, while we have players like inShorts, Hike and Way2news going after content aggregation and short-form content in India.
Gautham believes that short-form content only gives an ‘illusion of knowledge’ and consumers need to access multiple sources and reports to get the complete picture. There are players like Google Scholar and Wikipedia that aim to provide in-depth stories but with their 5W1H framework Kanapilly believes they have a unique proposition.
What we liked
Covering multiple categories from business to politics, Knappily provides an interesting value proposition and reading experience for users. As a result of the 5W1H framework users can quickly swipe between cards to gain context and also skip portions they are already aware of.
The app also allows users to bookmark stories and each story also includes a reference section to help users access the source, in case they need further information.
What could be improved
While smartphones are convenient for short-form content and ‘casual content’, many users may prefer to conduct their research studies or read more complex stories on desktops and PCs. So providing a website extension and bookmark support across different platforms could further enhance the appeal of the app.
While the app is positioned as a ‘digital magazine’, some users may want to search for topics too. The current version of the app doesn’t support search but Gautham adds that it would be included in next version that will be out within a few days.
Knappily provides an interesting value proposition for readers who wish to get a better overview of different topics without having to sift through large volumes of information across different sources. But a large percentage of the population, who are hooked to short form content, may find it difficult to adjust to Knappily initially. So, it may take some time for the team to change reading habits, attain product-market fit on a large scale and achieve exponential growth.
What do you think about this app, do let us know in the comments below. Also do check out other apps under our App Fridays series.