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How This Startup Aims to Make Podcasting More Accessible

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Brad Anderson


Podcasting has been around for around two decades. It took a while to get off the runway. Now, though, podcasting has become a booming industry thanks in part to its growth during the pandemic.

According to a study released by PwC and the Interactive Advertising Bureau, podcasting’s worth should reach $4 billion by 2024. That’s just in the United States. Grand View Research predicts global podcasting-related revenues will skyrocket to $94.88 billion by 2028.

These are exciting figures for entrepreneurs looking to both share their knowledge and get paid for it, too. But, of course, they’re not the only ones enamored with the podcast. Many top advertisers see podcasting as a valuable marketing and branding avenue and a way to generate leads.

So why don’t more thought leaders, dreamers, and creators dive into the podcasting zone? As it turns out, the world of podcasting can be a bit daunting to pursue. SquadCast co-founder and CFO Rockwell Felder understands why. However, he also believes that his company, which just made significant updates to its features, helps lower those barriers.

Challenges Inherent in Launching a Podcast

It might seem like the easiest thing in the world to record yourself so the world can hear your viewpoints and insights. But unfortunately, podcasting is far more complicated than just taking a video on your laptop or smartphone. When you podcast, you have to think about what seems like a million factors.

For instance, how will you ensure that your audio and visuals match up? And what if your visuals look grainy or pixelated? What if you want to host guests? How will you ensure that they sound just as polished as you do? Oh—speaking of polish — what’s the protocol for buying microphones, headphones, and other equipment? These questions don’t even touch upon how to drive a loyal following.

With so many elements in the mix, many podcasters give up before they’ve given podcasting much of a chance. Felder refers to this phenomenon as “podfade.” It’s a term that’s gained momentum in the podcast industry to explain the dropoff of podcasters who stop creating content. Podfade isn’t inevitable, however.

“People give up [podcasting] because it’s a difficult and lonely game, especially in the beginning,” explains Felder. “The biggest challenge is that when you’re a creator, there are so many ‘jobs to be done.’ Creators don’t often realize that they are what we call a micro media organization.”

This reality is one of the reasons that Felder founded SquadCast with Zachariah Moreno, who serves as CEO and CTO. They wanted to make the journey to try podcasting more feasible—and, quite frankly, fun. Felder admits SquadCast doesn’t take away the need for scheduling, researching, editing, or marketing. Nevertheless, he notes that his company provides a setup where creators can more easily build supportive teams and nurture growing listenerships.

SquadCast’s Innovative Solutions to Podcasting Success

What exactly makes SquadCast a unique resource for individuals interested in bringing life to their podcasts? Felder points to several solutions that have made SquadCast a standout solution.

1. An engaging—and engaged—community.

Podcasting can feel very isolating from the “star’s” point of view. It can be hard to gauge whether to try something new or objectively consider the effectiveness of an episode. Those just exploring the field may have difficulty knowing where to begin — and what early stumbles to avoid.

Its founders modeled SquadCast to help all podcasters, including fresh faces, solve everyday problems. In addition to its popular blog, the SquadCast site includes opportunities for engagement. For example, SquadCasters can access the SquadCast team and fellow members when they need support. Felder sees this as an essential differentiator because it enables podcasters to see themselves as part of an encouraging community.

“SquadCast’s mission is to amplify collaboration. This [updated] release makes it easier for creators and their production teams to collaborate throughout the platform.” Felder adds, “We are creators too, and I can’t imagine doing it without a team. They help me look and sound much better and develop ideas I never would’ve thought of.”

2. Studio-quality recording.

When creators can bring their visions to life, they become more eager to keep podcasting. So it’s not unheard of for podcasters to offer two or more podcasts once they get the hang of the experience. But, first, they need to have the ability to produce quality podcasts that don’t sound homemade or “green.”

The SquadCast feature lineup includes the recording of all files both locally and in the cloud. This process preserves the integrity of the sound and video for all speakers. For example, remote guests sound like they’re live in the studio because they are recorded on their devices.

From a listener’s standpoint, everything flows. From a podcaster’s standpoint, issues like audio drift and similar headaches become non-concerns.

3. An updated Studio with enhanced Stage and Backstage roles.

Though SquadCast has always offered creators their own Studios, the next-gen SquadCast opens more doors. An excellent example of this is Backstage. The Backstage area is a place for producers, editors, and non-participating guests to “sit.” They can monitor live recording sessions and even chime in with comments through chat. Though the audience never sees or hears them, they can contribute.

Take legal professionals. Some guests might prefer to have their legal advisors available to answer questions. An attorney can sit Backstage and contribute silently to the conversation. Counsel is on tap but not a visible part of the episode.

Being able to customize their Studios by identifying different roles for different people empowers podcasters. For example, each invitee can be given a specific function and permissions like file management, show talent, or admin. This ability to have a master level of control over the process ensures a more satisfying, focused product.

What does the future of podcasting look like as far as trends? Felder expects media creation to grow. He concludes that marketers and advertisers will begin to explore using podcasters as influencers, too: “There is unrealized potential for the medium.” With so many barriers to entry removed by SquadCast, would-be podcasters have little reason not to test the podcasting waters.

Image Credit: Harry Cunningham @harry.digital; Pexels; Thanks!

Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.

Politics

Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending

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Google eyed for $2 billion Anthropic deal after major Amazon play


London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.

According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.

The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:

“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”

The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:

“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”

The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.

The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.

Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!

Radek Zielinski

Radek Zielinski is an experienced technology and financial journalist with a passion for cybersecurity and futurology.

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Politics

Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs

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Deanna Ritchie


As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.

Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI

In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.

According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.

One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.

To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.

Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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Politics

UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations

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Deanna Ritchie


As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.

Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation

To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.

The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.

Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.

The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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