Helena Ronis is no stranger to envisioning and building startups. So when she saw an opportunity to solve for a previously unaddressed hole in today’s digital content consumption, Ronis decided to take action.
Ronis wanted a solution that allowed her to consume blog posts and similar content while driving, working out or completing chores around the house. And so she worked with a small team to create VoxSnap, a solution that transforms the terrabytes of typed words on the Internet into convenient audio content that anyone can enjoy anywhere.
“VoxSnap makes it easy for companies to create audio and voice experiences like audio blogs, podcasts, and the interactive content in voice assistance,” Ronis said. “As a product creator, you want to focus on something that you will use and that other people will use. So the secret [of becoming a smart startup] is to know the right way to capitalize on value.”
She wanted audio content to become deeply integrated into our lives. And her work for this convenient solution has paid off – it’s already recognized by Hacker News as one of the innovative startups to watch.
Founder and Client
Ronis said she got the idea for VoxSnap while working at another startup; it grew out of her frustrations both as a blogger and as a consumer of digital, word-based content.
“I started the company because I personally wanted to have this product available,” she said. “I started thinking, how can I take all the content that I want to consume that’s basically trapped in text, how can I consume it through audio? So I started doing my research. And I learned it’s not straightforward. There are too many steps, and it’s too time-consuming.”
VoxSnap has found a way to simply those steps:
1. Securing a narrator: VoxSnap transforms text with high-quality audio produced with the client’s choice of professional narrators.
2. Providing file hosting and an embeddable player: VoxSnap hosts the audio and provides a player that easily embeds in text-based posts. The player can be customized to match a company’s existing branding.
3. Distribution: VoxSnap distributes content through an extensive online library on their website and makes it available via apps like iTunes and Amazon Alexa. Library content is aggregated by topics such as technology, business, finance, marketing, health and self-improvement – easily accessible via the Web, mobile and Alexa.
4. Subscription services: Clients can repurpose written content into podcasts available through iTunes.
Moving from product idea to startup coalesced in 2017. The following year focused on business execution, building the product, and onboarding customers. And VoxSnap has experienced strong organic growth almost since launch.
VoxSnap targets small to medium-sized businesses that are interested in taking their evergreen written content and connecting it to a larger audience. They also target SaaS marketing agency looking to spread further awareness of their marketing insight to those already accustomed to consuming audio content (e.g. podcast listeners).
Early adopters of VoxSnap include content creator and author Nir Eyal, who is well-known for his insights on the business of startups.
Another early user, BlazeMeter, spoke highly of a different feature – VoxSnap’s customization through playlists. In particular, VoxSnap bundles relevant articles into easy-to-absorb segments. Impressed with its value, BlazeMeter used the playlist functionality to educate its audience on concepts like API testing.
Other clients include Buffer and Silicon Valley Bank.
“Buffer found us through an article on the GDPR rules we did for another company,” Ronis said. “The person involved with that topic at Buffer found the article, listened to it, and realized that he wanted the same option for Buffer.
“People have been sending us reviews saying, ‘Hey, this is life changing.’ And because of the playlist, yeah – it actually is.”
However, the saas startup founder’s guide can attest, finding success is not as easy as just throwing a new product out there. Ronis learned the old-fashioned way through one startup of her own and working for others, as well.
“Although my initial startup ended up not going anywhere, taking the leap of faith and starting it was by far the biggest school and the biggest lesson I’ve had as an individual,” she said. “I learned by doing, and it opened my eyes to how things really work in the startup world.”
VoxSnap has already gone through a round of pre-seed fundraising with a seed round to follow later this year. Ronis said the company’s first goal for 2019 is to focus on product and sales.
“Fundraising is very distracting for me, the CEO,” she said. “It’s part of my job, but my priority right now is the product roadmap and sales.”
Want to experience VoxSnap for yourself while you’re on the go? To sample it, simply press play in the embeddable player shown above this article.