Social content discovery app Stack has this week received a £1m investment from Blenheim Chalcot.
We’ve been asking Oliver Cooper, co-founder and CEO at Stack, to tell us more about the app and the problems it sets out to solve.
What is Stack? What problems does it solve?
Stack is a social network of reading – where it’s easy to discover what influential and inspiring people are reading, and read it for yourself
The problem it’s solving is that while there are lots of ways to discover what interesting and influential people’s opinions are, there are no easy ways to find out what those people are reading to help form those opinions.
It would be great to know what politicians are reading about Brexit, what entrepreneurs are reading about business, and what journalists, bloggers and influencers are reading that shapes their stories.
Stack makes it as easy and frictionless as possible to discover and read new articles, to curate the articles that you think are worth reading, and for people to follow you to read what you’re reading.
Do you face a lot of competition in this area?
Making news and content more personally relevant is a hot area, with Google, Yahoo and Facebook putting in lots of investment along with startups like Nuzzel and Lumi News. Flipboard are very well established, and Hyper are doing some amazing things with curated video.
Where Stack is trying to be different is the focus on making reading what other people are reading as simple and enjoyable a process as possible.
What are your immediate goals?
We’re spoiled for choice in terms of how we could build on the product, and have had some brilliant feedback from users so far, but our immediate goal is to enhance our content and user recommendation algorithms so users get the best possible recommendations for what to read and who to follow.
What are the biggest challenges you face?
Our biggest challenge is to stand out in a crowded space – there is a huge amount of competition for users’ attention, and for space on the home screen of their phone.
We’re encouraged by how the proportion of users who have made Stack part of their daily routine – we need to make sure that we are providing them with a great experience, and making sure the app stays in that position.
How will you monetise Stack?
We will introduce a premium offer into the app – where users can pay to maintain a discreet group of peers or colleagues to collect and share content.
We want to give businesses in particular a simple, intuitive tool to get more value out of the thousands of emailed articles that fly round an organization every week – a tool to manage the group, to push particularly relevant or important content at the right time, and to make it easier for people to read on the go.
Can you tell us about the team behind Stack?
Stack was born out of the team at Fuse, Blenheim Chalcot’s mobile incubator.
The Fuse team prototyped the app over two testing periods at the beginning of 2016, before the project was spun out as a separate business. Today there’s a small team of engineers, product managers and marketers working full time on the app in our office in Hammersmith.
Where would you like to be in one years’ time?
In a year’s time we’d love to have become the main way to discover and read great content for a good number of highly engaged and active users.
The key for us is to get to that first position in the queue for a group of users – so we are the portal through which they go to read great content.
Later we’d like to expand the types of content that people can recommend and discover – starting with video and audio – and expand the ways users can access their Stack – via chat clients and the web.
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From the most popular tactics during 2016, to the new strategies we need to apply in 2017.
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