Keeping up with the news is becoming increasingly difficult with the millions of pieces of information that are being thrown at us constantly combined with the demand for our time. Vizo, a newly launched app for the Android and iPhone, is curating content from leading publications like The New York Times and The Guardian and condensing it into digestible articles that are called “Glances” so that you are able to keep up with current events on the go. The company promises that with its personalization algorithm, in 5 minutes a day you will have all the news that fit for you to read based on your interests.
Today, Gillis Baxter, cofounder of Vizo joins us to tell us about the newly launched product and where the company is going in the future.
Tell us about the product or service.
Vizo makes sure no one’s too busy to see the news. Visually stunning and quick to read, Vizo is a news app that gives you just the facts from top sources like The New York Times andThe Wall Street Journal three times daily. On Vizo, stories are called Glances. Glances replace misleading headlines and lengthy anecdotes, by showing you the heart of the story. The app allows you to personalize your feed to see the news sections that most interest you. You can also click through to fuller versions of any story from multiple sources when you have the want to know more than just what’s at a Glance.
We take pride in recreating how the news is presented and believe the when the news is visually appealing it transcends the need for words.
How is it different?
In most forms – print, radio, television and now even mobile – your experience starts with a headline. A series of words that are meant to explain the circumstances of the news, to inform. Now, more often than not, these headlines are engineered to jar you enough to want to hear more. They’re misleading and really only created for the benefit of getting the reader to click through to the content for advertising dollars. Not to mention, once these readers do go onto the story over, at least 30% aren’t paying attention to the full text of the article.
We want to change that. Vizo is built to pull you in emotionally with a picture instead of feeding you misleading headlines. By showing you who or what the news is about, we want to spark genuine interest into the content. Giving the reader what they need to know. And only what they need to know, which is why you’ll never see a Vizo story bigger than the text that can fit on your screen.
78% of US smartphone owners receive news on a mobile device and 40% of these readers are visual learners. Vizo’s goal is to attract these ideal users at launch, primarily in the millennial market first.
These users are young and agile. They’ve got a lot going on between school or starting their professional careers. Vizo is a great solution for these time-strapped young adults, who need to have a better understanding of what’s happening now, and move away from relying on BuzzFeed articles for their news.
What is the business model?
Right now we are focused on one thing and one thing only: attracting and keeping users. We have some ideas about monetizing the users once we have a sizable user base; ranging from native advertising to data licensing and content partnerships. It’s an area that we are excited about, but is something that we will really focus on in 6-12 months.
What inspired the business?
At Georgetown, I was constantly shocked by how few of my friends read the news. During the summer internship recruiting process I had a number of friends come up to me asking where to begin, The Wall Street Journal or The New York Times? How do you know what articles are important? Another overarching theme, was the lack of time — not only of my friends but of everyone. We designed Vizo to solve these problems. We do the hard work for you and only present you with the top trending articles of any given news cycle. Instead of a clickbait headline and a lengthy article, we show you a beautiful picture and a 100 word summary.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
At launch we’re focused on getting Vizo in the hands of as many new users as possible!
Once our users understand the power of a Glance, we want to put the news in their hands with Vizo U. This brings the power of crowdsourcing together and lets our readers contribute to what’s going on in the world from their perspective.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
Never take anything for granted.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Is it cliche to say a VC? Since we’re early stage, we’ve kept an eye on who is spending their money wisely, and we really like New Atlantic Ventures. They’ve invested in tons of mobile products that help people get all kinds of information smartly. We like to think we’re doing that too.
Why did you launch in New York?
The entire Vizo team is NYC based and it’s the perfect cosmopolitan city to launch a global news platform. It doesn’t hurt that New York is the best city in the world, either.
Where is your favorite outdoor bar in the city for a drink when it is actually warm out?
Le Bain at The Standard — Great view, drinks and people. What’s not to like, especially when the weather is cooperating.