Despite what people may say, we are a generation of listeners. We are consuming (listening) to so much content and information in this informational age, we are warranted to speak a little more. Pundit, the social voice app, is giving you the opportunity to deliver your messages to the world in nice compact soundbites. The social friendly app allows its users to record up to 30 seconds and have friends respond as they please. With customizable features, this is the app that can be used for serious discussion or mindless banter with your friends, all with the aim of self-expression.
AlleyWatch spoke with Chris Aston about the new app and the many ways it can and will be used in the coming months.
Tell us about the product or service.
Pundit is a social network for voice experiences. Users can start bite-sized talkshows on their favorite topics by recording themselves for up to 30 seconds, and invite friends to participate. They can even make their voice pop with playful tools like filters, background music, and sound effects. It’s an insanely fun way for people to forge relationships, show their clever side, and sound amazing while they’re at it.
How is it different?
Think of Pundit as bringing Snapchat-level fun to voice & talk. So unlike other social voice apps, Pundit focuses on conversations – eliminating the heaviness that comes with plain old audio broadcasting. In other words, we offer the most playful, lightweight way for people to not only listen, but also talk to each other in a public setting.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
Traditional media is turning to social to advertise. That shift has yet to happen in the audio market, where $21B+ is spent on audio ads worldwide. Combine that with the $24B in-app purchase market, and you have a total addressable market of $45B.
What is the business model?
As soon as Pundit hits critical mass, we will be able to monetize Pundit through 2 ways: 1) audio ads well place inside Pundit talks and 2) monetize voice filters and background music by allowing users to not only buy these filters, but also have brands create their own specific ones for promotional marketing opportunities like during movie launches.
What inspired the business?
We understand there is a wide gap in the way social media is consumed: music, photos, and videos have all been reinvented for the mobile and social age. But talk media – including podcasts and radio – still lag behind. “I call this the ADD generation,” says CEO Billy Shaw Susanto. “This generation doesn’t enjoy podcasts as much as…say, playing on Snapchat.” So the team set out on a mission to lead the way in making talk the next frontier in social media innovation. How? By making it truly fun and interactive, beyond plain old broadcasting we see in every other social app.
Why is voice an effective medium for a network over photos and text?
Both are great, but they each serve a very different purpose.
Video is best served for self-broadcasting, while voice/audio is best for conversations. More importantly, there’s always been a market for both. For example, talk radio isn’t going away just as Television is not. We’re bringing talk media to this age by making them mobile, social, and interactive.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
First we are looking forward to our Android version by early 2017. Next, we are hoping to connect iMessage + Pundit integration as well as execute deals Proprietary voice filters with large media brands to promote upcoming TV shows / movies, where users can sound like their favorite characters.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Startups don’t compete against each other. They compete against irrelevance.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
John Oliver! Pundit is a talkshow experience and we would love to meet an actual human being version of our product. I think he would really get a kick out of Pundit by spilling out witty soundbites to his fans randomly. We’re also huge fans of his, so there’s that.
Why did you launch in New York?
We went to NYU and fell in love with the tech community there.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
Piano’s in the Lower East Side