707 Ventures is a small venture firm located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Jesse Levine, a firm partner, approached me with a compelling idea….
As a podcast listener and an entrepeneur, he felt he had discovered a great user experience (UX) challenge to solve; and wherever there is opportunity to remove friction from the UX, there is also huge potential for increased user adoption. Currently, the podcast market has quite of choice of players, but none seemed to solve the following issue:
Have you ever been listening to a podcast episode, and the host mentions either a product, or a sponso that peaks your curiosity, but you never follow up? In the curent podcast listening environment, you would need to remember a website, and a promotional code which you will have to lookup later. If you happen to be out driving, or out for a run, there is no simple way to take action in the moment that you are inspired to find out more. What if we could create a clickable notification, so that you could just click to link, click to buy, add to calendar, etc… wouldn’t this be so much easier? It was an idea that inspired a response like “Why hasn’t this been done before??”
After some intitial research, and feeling inspired by the potential we decided to take on the project. There were a few ups and downs, technical discoveries, and limitations imposed by Apple, but we ended up choosing a very flexible technology stack we felt could scale rapidly. We ended up going with an Express/Mongo backend to power the native app, using Elasticsearch for the indexing of the millions of podcasts and episodes, and a combination of both Stripe, and Apple Pay for the payment gateway.
The vision for the app is to empower podcasters to monetize thier audience – we settled on this being the mission. In other words, it wouldn’t be an advertising model, but instead, let the content creators and owners set thier own prices for content, and merchandise.
While the original discussions and concept focused on in-app purchase of audio and premium content subscriptions, we decided that for our MVP (minimum viable product) we would focus on real products. One of the primary drivers of this decision is the fact that Apple takes a 30% cut of any transaction for digital content to be consumed in the app. Because most digital content commands a very low price point, 707 Ventures decided to pivot to real, shippable products, at least for first launch.
The combination of two powerful platforms then allowed us to let podcasters create a store within thier podcast, so that listeners could literally “shop” a podcast. Useing Printful for merchandise production and fulfillment, along with Shopify for ecommerce, proved to be a powerful combination. Any podcaster can now, within about 15-20 minutes, turn thier logo into an entire product line immediatly available for purchase by thier entire audience in the PremoCast app.
Having just launced in May of 2018, the marketing efforts have just begun, but I’m sure that 707 Ventures is going to break new ground in the podcast space with thier dynamic new app. I am excited to be a part of the prooject and can’t wait see what happens next!