This app encourages children to interact and learn by connecting them to their peers around the world

Bengaluru-based VoxTalk is a social community for children under the age of 13, where kids can interact and learn from their peers around the world on a variety of subjects.
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The need for social interaction is thrust on us right from birth. Yet, when it comes to the thriving world of social media, we believe it is best to keep children away for many reasons – their digital safety and excess screen time being two prominent ones.

What if there existed a safe environment for them to connect with other children from across the world to widen their knowledge horizons?

Bengaluru-based VoxTalk, launched in 2022, is an app that enables children around the world to connect with each other through conversations.

“We know that safety is a major concern when it comes to apps made for kids. The team at VoxTalk is parent-led and is therefore extra careful and mindful about child safety and privacy. We have strong and stringent protocols and are COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliant. Every answer sought by the children who use your app, is moderated in real-time by a skilled group of moderators. Kids can report any objectionable answer and even block users and content that is objectionable. Most importantly, parental consent is required to upload content on VoxTalk,” explain its founders Aditya Jaishankar and Sunder Raman as they join YSWeekender for a chat.

A platform for kids

Having pursued an MBA, Aditya worked in advertising for over 19 years. This is where he met Sunder, who had set up a user-generated content platform called MAAD (Make Awesome Ads). Working on this platform, the duo realised that kids expressed themselves beautifully, which sparked an idea that led to the creation of a storytelling app called MaPa.

“On MaPa, while kids could record stories in their voice and share it privately with anyone, anywhere in the world, we felt that we were not tapping into their amazing range of creativity. We wanted to create a platform where children felt comfortable expressing themselves fully, which is also a form of creative learning. Our conversations with kids also revealed that they were keen on a platform where they could interact with other kids and express their thoughts and ideas to other kids,” explains Aditya.

That led to the creation of Voxbox, which claimed to be India’s first social community for kids below the age of 13. Here kids could share their ideas, experiences, thoughts, and stories with one another.

However, Voxbox changed its name and brand identity to VoxTalk about a month ago in order to reflect the true nature of the new app, which allows kids across the world to connect with others through conversations. It’s a platform for kids to ask questions related to any subject under the sun, and share answers with them. 

Sunder shares, “We launched a few weeks ago and many kids across the country are already sharing their thoughts and experiences with other kids on the VoxTalk community. As a platform, we wish to set new benchmarks when it comes to safety in order to enable kids to express themselves in the best possible manner.”

How it came about?

Aditya explains how the model of VoxTalk was arrived at. The team conducted a simple experiment with a group of children of varying ages. The kids were asked to share questions they would like to ask other kids. These could include queries on trending topics, or things they were curious about or just digging for more information on any subject they found interesting.

“We were fascinated with the kind of questions we received, ranging from whether god exists and trending topics around the world, to various entertainment options, to understanding what other kids are passionate about, to mundane things like how kids across the country spend their day. It proved to be a great way to fuel kids’ curiosity every day and watch a wealth of spontaneous conversations unfold in a simple question-answer thread format,” says Aditya.

He goes on to describe VoxTalk as an ‘ultimate curiosity quencher for kids’, where kids ask questions and other kids answer them.

“Imagine a kids-only space where no grownups are allowed. It is a place where they can freely ask questions about things that matter to them across diverse topics and indulge in spontaneous light-hearted conversations,” smiles Sunder.

How it works?

Participation on the VoxTalk app is limited to kids between the ages of 7 to 12 years. The entire process has been designed to spark a child’s curiosity and democratise participation so that every kid can be a part of VoxTalk conversations.

On the app, children ask and answer questions. Other children from across the country respond to these in real-time. Users can view and listen to the questions and answers of other children. Those worried about excess screen time will be happy to know that kids can reply using multiple formats including audio, video and text.

 

A set of ten shortlisted questions is curated for children to answer daily. The questions are reviewed by an expert panel of psychologists, educators, and parents before they go live.

In order to encourage widespread participation, VoxTalk has enabled questions to be answered from anywhere in the world through their browser link, doing away with the need to download the app.

The founders highlight that since the best things in life are free, VoxTalk is also free to use. However, they are currently testing various monetisation opportunities.

Aditya says, “Through the Q&A feature, we hope to develop a deeper understanding of the values, attitudes and aspirations of children aged 7 to 12.”

The VoxTalk app can be downloaded on the Google PlayStore and is currently available only in India. Soon, it will be available in South East Asia and the Middle East, followed by the USA at a later stage.

Challenges and growth

The team behind VoxTalk faced multiple challenges in reaching this point. Sunder shares, “Since this is a unique product, we did not have a frame of reference for evaluation. We had to dive deep into the consumer’s psyche across the country to check if this product would be acceptable to parents. We had to keep rigorously testing the product to ensure that the experience was absolutely smooth.”

Fortunately they have found their rhythm and are happy with the direction VoxTalk has now taken. Having started with a pre-seed investment of Rs 40 lakh from a clutch of investors like Jitendra Chouskey, Founder of Fittr, and others from his Facebook group called The Syndicate, the app has seen good engagement. In the last month, since it officially changed its branding, it has been downloaded over 1,500 times.

“Rather than downloads, we believe engagement is the true barometer for success. This is also something that our brand partners truly value,” says Aditya.

Reiterating that they are the only social community of its kind for children below the age of 13 in India, they claim to have no direct competitors. Sunder shares that though there are other general knowledge apps like Quora, nothing comes close to what they are doing at VoxTalk, especially for children.

The founders sign off by highlighting that the specialty of VoxTalk is the constant innovation it stands for. They hope to keep creating newer and fresher content to pique the imagination of children and enhance creative learning further.

Edited by Megha Reddy