Over the past few weeks, InSITE fellows Christina Yugai, David Benhamou, Tom Hsu, Eric Rinder, and Robert Sanchez had the privilege of working with ReadrBoard, a startup that aims to revolutionize online comments and interactions. The InSITE Fellows joined Porter Bayne and Eric Chaves of ReadrBoard to refine the company’s monetization strategy and to develop a pitch deck for its fundraising round. The last few weeks have been spent diving deep into the content publishing marketplace, looking for purchasing patterns, advertising prices, and competitiors.
The ReadrBoard team developed a tool that allows readers to use robust tags on published content, including in-line comments, articles, videos, and pictures. After looking at the commenting landscape – including Likes, Tweets, and Comments – they saw a huge hole. If you want to respond quickly to content, the Like button often conveys the wrong sentiment. Twitter interactions occur outside of the content owner’s site, so they don’t benefit as fully from the interactions. Comments are currently pushed to the bottom of an article and are often full of trolls (I have started to use the herp derp plugin for YouTube for this precise reason).
To fill this hole, ReadrBoard’s widget allows users to react to any statement at any place on the page. Tagged reactions run the gamut and, at the publisher’s discretion, can even include adding new tags for new thoughts. Comments can also be left throughout an article, allowing both the publisher and future readers to see how people have responded more than just the full article. Now readers can respond to individual phrases, thoughts, and ideas.
Working with ReadrBoard provided fruitful opportunities to work with a passionate founding team. Porter and Eric see ReadrBoard as more than just the next evolution in online commenting; the company provides publishers with a line-by-line understanding of the impact of the written word, allowing publishers to refine their content. A deeper understanding of an audience allows publishers to engage directly with their readers, improve their messages, and increase interactions on their site.
The InSITE fellows were also able to meet with Tribeca Venture Partners for a review of the initial pitch deck. Partner Somak Chattopadhyay provided invaluable insight into the deck. We are all looking forward to the pitch event on November 30th.
This post was written by Robert Sanchez, JD Fordham University 2014