By 2018, nearly 200 million internet users will find it difficult to connect with the content available online due to lack of local language content. Audio is one of the easiest medium to create content in local languages, eliminating the need to type in Indic languages or removing complex video production steps. Keeping this in mind, Chaitanya Naik, Vikram B.N., and Shyam Sekar founded Febler, an audio platform catering to not just urban agglomerations, but also to the demographic with varying linguistic preferences.
What is Febler and what kind of problem/challenge is it trying to solve?
Febler is an audio platform for news and entertainment. It brings live news, political discussions, comedy shows, religious shows and much more in 20+ languages. Moreover, it enables anybody to record or stream live shows from their mobile or browser.
Audio offers eyes free entertainment, allowing you to remain informed and entertained while commuting, at gym or doing something else. By 2018, nearly 200 million internet users will find it difficult to connect with the content available online due to lack of local language content. Audio is one of the easiest medium to create content in local languages, eliminating the need to type in Indic languages or removing complex video production steps. Febler is an audio platform catering to not just urban agglomerations but also to the demographic with varying linguistic preferences.
Tell us about the team/founders behind Febler?
Febler has 3 members as part of the founding team. Vikram, brings his experience in building audio platforms from his previous startup Kollabia, an online music collaboration platform and comes with strong technical background.
Chaitanya, is a growth hacker and marketing expert, with 5+ years experience of experience in management consulting and brings his learning from Talent neuron, an analytics startup acquired by CEB.
Shyam, has 20+ years of experience in the IT industry and was the founder of startup Xperts, mentoring startups. He brings his vast sales experience and spearheads business development and marketing at Febler.
We also have a three member distributed content team focused on creating and managing content on Febler.
In which year Febler was launched? What is the current team size? What is the current revenue size? Where are your offices located? Who are your target audience/clients?
Febler is a Bengaluru based startup launched during mid 2015. We are currently 6 member team including the ‘three member’ distributed content team.
Your website says Febler is an audio infotainment platform. What is its USP?
Audio shows and podcasts have remained dormant in India. With Febler, we are extremely excited to bring audio shows into the mainstream.
The existing audio platforms broadly fall into four categories such as
● Podcast Aggregators (iTunes)
● Music Sharing (Sound Cloud)
● Radio Listing platforms (Slacker, TuneIn)
● Music Streaming (Saavn, Gaana)
Through Febler we are bringing news and entertainment in audio with a special focus on regional languages through live and recorded audio shows. We believe that next generation radio to be a democratised platform; Febler is a platform for everybody to create shows about things they love or stream events live, which they are hosting (closed Beta)
How is Febler different from other tech startups in India?
Within the consumer internet space, if we look at startups in the media and entertainment domain, most of them are focused on video content and video technologies. We truly believe in the power of audio and its ease of content creation, hence we have build India’s first audio infotainment platform. We are also working on a feature which we call ‘Discussion Room’. It will offer live streaming along with interactivity. For instance, you can host a show on a particular topic, take questions, add participants, moderate and stream it live at the same time. This is a technological challenge; however, if we can achieve it at scale, then it could be a game changer.
How difficult was it for you to hire quality, skilled and talented people?
Being an audio entertainment platform, when we thought of building an in-house content team, we found it was hard to find voice artists in Bangalore who were interested in joining a startup, that’s when we decided to have a distributed content creation team.
How has been the journey so far? How tough has been the competition?
The journey has certainly been exciting. More than the competition, for us, the challenge has been getting in quality audio content on the platform. Though podcasts are popular outside India, audio shows have failed to pick up in India mainly because of lack of India centric content apart from few audio series such as Entrepreneur Talk Show and AIB Podcast. So the challenge for us has been bridging the gap better listener acquisition and content acquisition.
Did you receive any seed funding or raise money? Are you considering any such things?
We have remained bootstrapped this far. However, we are now looking to raise investments for scaling up technology infrastructure and content creation and licensing.
What is your plan or strategy to sustain in the long run amid tough competition?
Offering high quality content and more importantly, in major regional languages is the key for Febler. Another key area that we have been remained focused right from the start is discoverability. Our current recommender system is in its early stages; however, we are continuously fine tuning the algorithm, so that it can exactly predict what a listener would want to engage with at a particular time.
For a creator, the platform has to be extremely seamless for streaming shows and at the same time offer channels to monetize. We are exploring certain options which we believe will be the key in the long run.
What are your marketing strategies to promote your company? What kind of branding activities you are doing?
So far, the growth at Febler has been organic with a very minimal marketing effort. We have been trying to bridge content acquisition and listener acquisition so that there is no major fall-out on either ends and this has helped us well. We are almost on the verge of closing a content partnership with a leading digital media company, post which we would be scaling our marketing efforts.
Are you using any niche technology to solve technical problems, increase overall efficiency, customer engagement, boost sales etc.?
Our algorithm works to optimize the audio bit rate at the same time maintaining content quality without trading off on any of the two aspects so as to make it work on slower internet connections.
In addition, as mentioned earlier, we are working on enabling live streaming along with interactivity. This is a technological challenge, however, if we can achieve it on a scale, then it could be a game changer.
What are your immediate plans to expand and grow? Are you looking for partners, investors to promote your startup?
On the content front, we are looking to explore content collaboration partnerships with MCNs; we are also talking to startup comedians, independent journalists, RJs and others to onboard them on Febler platform.
We are also looking for investors for scaling up our technology infrastructure and for licensing content.
Where do you want to see Febler 2 years from now?
We would want to make Febler a go to platform for audio entertainment and more importantly have shows in all the local languages. We are trying to make the platform extremely seamless for on boarding professional media companies and at the same time making it seamless for anybody to create content, stream live shows etc. We are also in talks with some of the leading regional News channels, in getting their audio stream on Febler. In addition, we will also explore opportunities in in-car entertainment systems with Febler as a content distribution platform.
What do you have to say about Startup Simba, being the first of its kind video blogging platform for startups?
Video blogging is good, but you guys should certainly try audio, audio shows are so easy to create and are equally engaging at the same time.
Startup Information Sheet
|Name of Founders/Designations||Vikram BN, Chaitanya Naik, Shyam Sekar S|
|Type of Business||Consumer Internet|
|Year of Launch||2015|
|Industry||Media and Entertainment|
|Current Team Size||6|
|Current Revenue Size||NA|
|Unique Product/Service (If any)||
|Niche Technology in Use (If any)||Audio Bit Rate and Quality Optimization
Live streaming along powered with interaction
|Partner/Business Collaboration (If any)||Confidential|
|Seed Funding (If any)||Not yet|