New York-based startup Tawkers has launched a new iPhone app that lets users publish their texts to its platform and creates a public forum for text-based conversations from your cell phone.
Let’s say you and a friend were texting each other about this geopolitical train wreck, and that you happened to be a senior analyst of Russian foreign policy at a major university, you might think that your texts would be worth publishing — at least that’s the rationale put forward by Blake Ian, Tawkers’ multi-hyphenate musician-producer-marketing-and-tech-entrepreneur founder.
“There’s a market of content creators and a market of content consumers for Tawkers,” Ian said. “The content creators are Tumblrs and people who have Reddits and people who want to have a new form of communicating in a conversational way.”
The content consumers are… well… everybody who reads people’s Tumblrs and Reddits, and who want to read texts on a new publishing platform.
Some bold-faced celebrity names have been playing around with the service in its beta, according to Ian. Deepak Chopra, Hollywood’s high priest of holistic health, is one early adopter, as is former Saturday Night Live funnyman and current Twitter celebrity, Colin Quinn.
Ian said there’s already proof that Internet consumers want this kind of content, pointing to the viral tweet Macklemore sent to Kendrick Lamar after his Grammy win.
For celebrities, the Tawkers platform provides a way for them to engage with fans and curate the conversation, Ian said.
Tawkers began as an idea between Ian and a friend after a text messaging session, which Ian had thought would make a good blog post. Already employed by the marketing agency ShadowPR, Ian began building the Tawkers app in 2012. By the summer of 2013 the app was in beta, and it now has roughly 3,000 registered users, without any marketing, Ian said.
The company raised $1 million in seed financing from angel investors and from ShadowPR, according to Ian.
“The two biggest things in [business-to-consumer] are either messaging apps or new publishing apps and Tawkers is really a hybrid of both. It’s using messaging as a new form of self-expression,” Ian said.