Cappuccino lets you share short, intimate audio stories with your friends – TechCrunch

You may name Cappuccino the anti-Clubhouse, however the firm has been iterating on its app idea for a few years — its CEO doesn’t have any sturdy opinions on Clubhouse. And it’s true that Cappuccino is an attention-grabbing social app by itself. It has been attracting a loyal consumer base, particularly after a TikTok video went viral.

The startup says it’s constructing an app that helps you document podcasts with friends. Many folks have found podcasts over the previous few years. Podcasts let you subscribe to audio exhibits and hearken to episodes on demand.

At first, folks subscribe to podcasts due to their pursuits. But if you speak about podcasts with your friends, they’ll inform you that they like a present particularly due to the personalities of the hosts.

Listening to a podcast is a content material consumption expertise that seems like nothing else on the market. You may watch all movies launched by a specific YouTuber and you may assume you know rather a lot about somebody’s private life by following them on Instagram.

But listening to somebody for hours at a time with earbuds in your ears is a really intimate expertise. When a podcast works, it seems like you’re sitting in a room with a couple of friends and simply listening to what they should say.

And but, likelihood is your favourite podcast hosts are usually not your friends.

This is the place Cappuccino matches. The app lets you create teams with your friends or your households. Members of the group can document a brief audio message — a bean, because the startup calls it. They speak about what’s on their thoughts for a few minutes. The subsequent morning, group members obtain a notification saying that your morning cappuccino has been brewed.

When you hit play, a chill intro music begins enjoying adopted by audio messages from your friends. It isn’t only a succession of voice memos — it seems like a calming mixture of comfortable, humorous, caring, considerate messages from your friends.

While Cappuccino is a social app, it’s centered on your shut friends and your household. You aren’t attempting to get extra followers and you are usually not sharing public posts. Everything is non-public by design and centered on teams of real-life friends.

In some ways, it jogs my memory of Snapchat’s group stories. But Snapchat wasn’t the primary inspiration for Cappuccino — it was podcasting.

Cappuccino screens

Image Credits: Cappuccino

Prototype early, iterate usually

I talked with the corporate’s co-founder and CEO Gilles Poupardin concerning the origin story of the app. Cappuccino isn’t Poupardin’s first startup. He had labored on Whyd for a number of years and lived the total startup expertise — he raised founding rounds, selected to pivot, attended Y Combinator within the Bay Area, parted methods with his firm’s CTO and selected to shutter the startup.

Among different issues, Whyd labored on a voice-controlled connected speaker earlier than Amazon’s Echo product lineup and Google’s Nest audio system actually took off. It’s onerous to compete with tech giants, even more durable when you’re competing on the {hardware} entrance.

After that, the Whyd group labored on a service that lets you create your own voice assistant. That didn’t actually take off as anticipated both.

During the summer season of 2019, Olivier Desmoulin reached out to Poupardin. Back then, Desmoulin was heading design for Jumbo, an app that helps you keep on high of your online privateness.

“At the time, I didn’t know if I wanted to start a company again — I pivoted 15 times [with Whyd],” Poupardin instructed me.

But they began discussing about podcasts and AirPods — and audio at massive — as the following frontier for social apps. The fundamental premise was easy. Lots of people have been listening to podcasts, however only a few folks have been creating their very own podcasts.

There are three the reason why your neighbor doesn’t have its personal podcast however generally posts stuff on Instagram and Snapchat:

  • Podcasts are long-form content material.
  • It’s technically difficult to document and launch a podcast.
  • You try to draw an viewers of people that don’t know you.

With Cappuccino, the concept is to take a reverse stance on these three factors: brief content material, simple to document and private. It’s purported to be a greater expertise for each folks recording audio and folks listening to audio.

The first model of Cappuccino isn’t an app, it’s a facet challenge. “We created a group on WhatsApp, we invited 10 to 15 people and we asked them to record voice memos and send them all to Olivier,” Poupardin instructed me.

Every evening, Olivier Desmoulin would hearth up GarageBand and create a mixture of all voice memos. In the morning, he would ship a message to the group dialog on WhatsApp and write: “Hey, your cappuccino is here.”

how it started.001

Image Credits: Cappuccino

After getting some constructive suggestions from group members, Pouparding and Desmoulin selected to maneuver ahead and create one thing that feels extra like an app. But they each knew that making a social app was extremely onerous with regards to attracting customers. They developed one thing shortly in order that they weren’t losing time creating one thing that no one would use.

“We built the first version of the app in four days by using a hack — we were using Airtable as the backend service,” Poupardin stated.

Once once more, suggestions from beta customers was fairly good. They confirmed the app to some buyers and ended up elevating $1.2 million from Alexia Bonatsos (Dream Machine, additionally a former TechCrunch editor), SV Angel, Kevin Carter (Night Capital), Niv Shrug Capital, Jean de La Rochebrochard (Kima Ventures), Kevin Kuipers, Willy Braun, Marie Ekeland, Solomon Hykes (founding father of Docker), Pierre Valade (founding father of Sunrise and Jumbo Privacy), Moshe Lifschitz (Basement Fund), Anthony Marnell, Bryan Kim and a bunch of others.

Gawen Arab who was the CTO at Whyd teamed up as soon as once more with Poupardin, proving that point is a flat circle. He’s now co-founder and CTO at Cappuccino.

Founding team 2

Image Credits: Cappuccino

Letting folks speak about you

The Cappuccino group hasn’t been lively with regards to press relations or adverts. It’s been a sluggish construct up with some attention-grabbing spikes.

Last summer season, Product Hunt tremendous consumer Chris Messina created a post about Cappuccino. It was a little bit of a shock because the startup wasn’t attempting to get featured on Product Hunt. Still, the co-founders diligently answered questions from the Product Hunt neighborhood.

The following day, Product Hunt’s newsletter featured Cappuccino. It was titled “The next big audio social network?” That introduced some new customers to the app.

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Image Credits: Cappuccino

But issues actually began to take off when Brittany Kay Collier shared a video on TikTok about Cappuccino a couple of weeks in the past. She despatched a direct message to Poupardin on Instagram, telling him that it was attracting numerous views. The video ended up attracting round 3.8 million views and 850,000 likes.

Two days later, Poupardin despatched her a job provide to hitch the group. He was secretly hoping she would say sure, and he or she was secretly dreaming about getting a job at an organization like Cappuccino.

Over the previous couple of weeks, Cappuccino attracted 225,000 new customers. They created 130,000 teams and despatched round a million audio stories.

When the group is studying public posts about Cappuccino on Twitter, it feels just like the app has discovered its core consumer base. The most loyal customers appear to be younger girls of their twenties. They wish to be in contact with long-distance finest friends.

They could be graduating from faculty and shifting to a special a part of the nation. They could be caught at dwelling due to the present pandemic.

And it looks as if new customers don’t have any problem hitting the document button and telling stories — all people is acquainted with voice messages on WhatsApp and iMessage in spite of everything.

“Something that is interesting with audio messages as a medium is that you tell different stories from what you would tell by taking a photo for Instagram, sending a Snap or creating a video on TikTok,” Poupardin stated.

But what concerning the elephant within the room then? Clubhouse has topped 8 million downloads already. Poupardin listed all of the variations in social graph, audio format and consumer base. According to him, there’s sufficient room for a number of audio apps.

“With video, you have YouTube, Twitch and TikTok — those are all different formats. Audio is potentially going to follow the same trend,” Poupardin stated. Social apps first took benefit of the digital camera in your smartphone, as a result of the digital camera was the killer {hardware} characteristic. And audio looks as if the pure subsequent step.

He seems like he isn’t competing with different audio startups for now. He desires folks to get up and hearken to Cappuccino as a substitute of random music on Spotify. “It’s going to help people who feel lonely,” he stated.

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