Wisdom nabs $2M to build out a social audio marketplace for mentorship

Wisdom, a social audio app that’s focused on surfacing “life advice” and broadening access to mentorship — and whose iOS app launch we covered back in October — has nabbed $2 million in seed funding off the back of early traction.

The seed is led by First Round Capital, with participation from a number of business angels.

The U.K.-based startup is not disclosing how many users its twist on social audio has attracted so far — but says mentors on its platform have shared some 600,000 minutes of “insights and guidance” to date; while this audio has generated 2.3 million minutes of listening (or, well, playback) in the eight weeks since the app’s official launch. Update: The startup subsequently disclosed that 15,000 people have joined the platform since launch, with “hundreds” signing up daily.

Its approach to social audio combines a one-to-one “conversational” structure, centered on advice and mentorship, with the reach of a broadcast platform. (For more details on the platform see our coverage of its launch.)

Per Wisdom, the platform’s approach is proving popular with podcasters.

Other popular topics at this early stage include mindfulness and social media.

While — on the influencer/mentor side — it names the likes of musician Kenny G, Buffy the Vampire Slayer actor “Spike” James Marsters and baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson as among its early contributors.

Commenting on the seed raise in a statement, First Round Capital said: “We believe social audio is in its infancy, and it has been great to join Dayo [Akinrinade, Wisdom’s founder and CEO] 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,” the VC firm added. “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.”

Akinrinade attributed “early success” to “our incredible, helpful community of mentors”, adding in a statement: “The funding and expertise of our new investors will enable us to nurture and grow this extraordinary community.”

The startup said the seed funding will be used to build out a roadmap of features — including features focused on boosting community engagement.

It also has an Android app in the works (slated for early 2022) and said its to-do list includes launching direct messages; enhancing its AI algorithms doing search and discovery; and building monetization for mentors.