Pioneering social audio app, Wisdom raises $2 million to continue building the world’s largest and most diverse mentorship platform.
Just over 8 weeks since the Wisdom app launched across the UK, US, Australia and Canada, the social audio platform has raised $2 million in Seed funding to bring its mission to democratise mentorship to even more people. The round included VC firm First Round Capital (Uber, Roblox, Telepath) with participation from a small number of angel investors and entrepreneurs, including Christian Wiklund and Niklas Lindstrom, the founders of Accel-backed product quality startup unitQ.
In an industry where black women still receive 0.002% of venture capital backing, Wisdom’s founder Dayo Akinrinade, a former Big 4 IT Management Consultant, has seen first-hand how the system disadvantages founders from minority groups. While leading a workstream on OneTech, London’s largest diversity in startups programme, she observed that underrepresented founders lacked access to mentoring and so founded Wisdom with a mission to democratise this access.
Wisdom replaces the inequity of closed networks and “warm intros” with an open, diverse audio community centred on knowledge-sharing where people gather to have conversations that matter.
Unlike other social audio applications, like Clubhouse, Wisdom is designed from the ground up to connect knowledge-seekers to mentors; to bring a level of intimacy and interaction not seen in this way before. Inspired by TikTok, Wisdom utilises an algorithm-friendly design powered by a deep-learning neural network where the algorithms continually gather data including how a user interacts and reacts to a talk. Audio and text transformer models then extract the topics being discussed and the sentiment.
Once they’ve discovered this relevant and meaningful content, members can chat live with experts in dozens of topics of importance from parenting, fitness, and dating to startups, mental health, and beauty. They can queue up to ask the mentor questions and the mentor can choose who they call up as guests, providing a high level of one-to-one connection.
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On the creator-side, Wisdom mentors monetise their expertise and build their personal brand, through incentives using Wisdom’s creator-only virtual currency Mentorcoin. Creators earn Mentorcoin in proportion to the amount of time people spend listening to them. It’s these technological innovations that have been a major driver of Wisdom’s engagement and early successes.
Dayo Akinrinade, founder and CEO of Wisdom, said: “I’ve observed first-hand how lack of access to mentoring contributes to systemic inequity,” said Dayo Akinrinade. “I created Wisdom to democratise access to mentorship. Unlike other apps within the burgeoning social audio scene, such as Clubhouse, Wisdom’s algorithm-friendly discovery mechanics alongside the guest timer feature facilitates intimate, one-to-one conversations but broadcast to an audience of thousands. Wisdom’s early success is due to our incredible, helpful community of mentors. The funding and expertise of our new investors will enable us to nurture and grow this extraordinary community.”
First Round Capital said: “We believe social audio is in its infancy, and it has been great to join Dayo and witness firsthand her vision for Wisdom. Wisdom taps into some important trends, from social audio to algorithm-friendly design — all while reflecting just how powerful and impactful communities that feature a range of voices can be – helping to give diverse and overlooked people access to high quality mentorship. So far, only the “cocktail-party format” of Clubhouse has gained widespread traction, but we think ultimately that format will be one of a number of interesting social audio formats. Wisdom’s format with intimate 1:1 conversations broadcast to many listeners and its timer to keep the conversation moving make it stand out within the social audio category. It’s great to be able to announce our investment in Social Audio Inc. and its Wisdom app, and we’re looking forward to seeing just how far this app with its unique format and its laudable mission will go.”
The app is also an increasingly popular platform for podcasters. With Wisdom, podcasters can bypass the expensive audio engineering equipment, studio fees and record using just their phones. All with the added bonus of live listeners who can drop in as guests to chat, and with the ability to download the audio file.
The most popular topics range from Podcasting to Mindfulness to Social Media. Wisdom is now home to talks from the likes of global stars, thought leaders and more. These include musician Kenny G, Buffy the Vampire Slayer actor “Spike”James Marsters and baseball Hall of Famer, Andre Dawson. Such notable events have also been among the first to be showcased on Apple’s new App Store in-app events feature, a feature released in iOS 15 in October to highlight discovery of notable events within apps.
Christian Wiklund, angel investor and founder of product quality startup unitQ said: “Dayo and her team are committed to redressing systemic inequity by using the power of social audio to connect experts with people seeking high quality advice. Wisdom deploys a cutting-edge platform for everyone, regardless of age, race, gender or background, where they can come together to share wisdom, swap knowledge, meet like-minded people and feel a part of what is set to be the next big social-audio community. We’re excited to be part of their journey as they continue to lead the way innovating new social audio formats and serving underserved communities with innovative products.”