Young entrepreneurs are no longer a rare occurrence in our market. More people under the age of 30 are shunning a 9-5 job for a life of uncertainty and freedom.
With large companies constantly making slow and often stupid marketing decisions, their young consumers are now creating their own products/services.
These young entrepreneurs combine innovation and convenience to create a product that upsets the status quo, and their vibrancy can be felt across the market.
However, the life of a young entrepreneur is not always rosy. They often encounter more obstacles and challenges than their older counterparts, yet this does not stop them.
To gain a better understanding of young entrepreneurs, we will look at a promising start-up called Verbatm; a young enterprise that seeks to shake up the old ways of creating, sharing and consuming news.
The Verbatm Story
1. What is Verbatm?
Verbatm is a young enterprise created, developed, and designed by 4 Stanford students: Iain Usiri, Alex Rawitz, Aishwarya Vardhana, and Sierra Kaplan-Nelson.
I first came across Verbatm through a Matter article shared on Iain Usiri’s profile. Imagine my surprise when I found out that my high school friend had co-founded a social media start-up that wanted to take on inefficient, inadequate and biased news reporting outlets.
This social media platform targets millennial content creators and content consumers, who are looking to “express their experiences and address an audience in a manner that made them feel valued, heard, and empowered” (Alex Rawitz on Matter).
2. What sets Verbatm apart?
As we already know, there are several social media platforms out there. So why exactly should you pay attention to a new entry?
The simple answer is EXCITEMENT.
When you take a look at the most popular social media platforms out there, you will notice that each of these platforms presents a generic and unimaginative interface; it’s no longer fun to engage and interact on Facebook and Twitter.
As young entrepreneurs who heavily use social media platforms, the Verbatm team has identified this problem and responded with a solution.
This new platform combines videos, photos, and text, so that content creators can create engaging stories around ideas, topics, themes, and moments that matter to them.
As a content creator you can imagine the freedom and flexibility of such a platform, and as a content consumer you can imagine the pleasure derived from receiving content in multiple forms.
Verbatm has also designed the platform to be fully immersive, meaning that it will take over your mobile screen; never discount the role that aesthetics plays in consumer behavior!!
This is a move away from the walls of text that are synonymous with news content, and which we as a society have been rejecting for years.
The media that we rely on for news has failed us in presentation, and this has left room for enterprises such as Verbatm to create an experience that millennials are crying out for.
And as an entrepreneur, your job is to identify the problems that established businesses are refusing to address, and come up with a solution that speaks to a frustrated and neglected audience.
3. How does it work?
Have you ever wanted to follow a particular set of posts by an individual or page? Well, this is impossible with major social media platforms. Even if you are only interested in seeing Amy’s vacation photos, you are still forced to sift through her daily inspirational messages and coffee rants.
That’s another way in which Verbatm stands out from its competitors. This social media platform allows you as a content creator to craft threads, where you can post photos, videos, and text pertaining to a specific theme or idea.
Content consumers will now follow threads instead of individuals, giving them control over the types of content they want to see. This is extremely helpful when it comes to news and narratives, as you can explore your interests without wasting time on irrelevant information.
One gripe I have with Facebook is that it limits my organic reach for both my personal profile and my business page. More often than not, my posts do not reach their intended audience, which results in slow traffic on my end.
As a blogger or a business, the ability to craft threads for niche audiences is invaluable.
4. The Young Entrepreneurial Experience
The young entrepreneurial experience is everything that you imagine it to be; exhilarating, frustrating, illuminating, and overwhelming.
The most obvious benefit of being a young entrepreneur is a clear insight into the mind of a young consumer; “we found in our research that a lot of organizations simply don’t understand the wants of young people, even when the numbers are staring them right in the face” Iain Usiri said.
The ‘wants’ in this case is image and video optimized content, as opposed to the text-based content that saturates the media. This desire is what Verbatm taps into, hence the focus on multi-form content.
However, we cannot forget the flipside of being a young entrepreneur. Apart from the fear of failure and crisis of confidence that most young entrepreneurs experience, there is also a lack of experience as compared to older entrepreneurs.
The Verbatm team members are all undergraduate students, and this is the largest venture any of them has ever undertaken. Without a mentor to guide them on the ins and outs of creating a mobile platform, the burden is on them to learn everything there is to know about this niche. This often means making mistakes that could have otherwise been avoided, “we have had quite a few challenges in decision making that could have been mitigated with the voice of an experienced person” says Usiri.
However, this doesn’t seem to bother them at all “it’s what we signed up for”; perhaps another advantage of being young, eager, and undeterred.
5. What does the future look like for Verbatm?
Verbatm has just completed an informative beta testing round, which has allowed them to identify usability challenges to solve, and app benefits to amplify. The next step is launching their platform.
On December 9th, Verbatm will not only launch their venture, but they will also pitch it to Venture Capitalists, Media heads, and Angels alongside 5 other companies. This is their first opportunity to spread and scale their platform so that it can have a wide reach.
Their focus right now is on creating a platform that delivers amazing user experience; something that is sorely lacking in our mobile platforms.
Through an intuitive layout and engaging interface, Iain Usiri’s hope is that “Verbatm becomes people’s home for self-expression”, where “individuals feel like they are liberated to create and express themselves in a simple and easy way”.
We all have ideas, but what sets entrepreneurs apart is their ability to execute those ideas. As Gary Vaynerchuk artfully puts it “ideas are horse shit, execution is the game”. This is what makes Verbatm remarkable; not only have they come up with a great idea; they’ve also put in work to turn this idea into an actual social media platform.
All entrepreneurs can learn a lot from their journey: identify a problem, acknowledge it as an opportunity, find a solution, and then turn that solution into a product or service.
There’s no telling what the future holds for Verbatm, but it is definitely exciting to see how far these young entrepreneurs have come.
Before you leave, share Verbatm’s story with your friends, family and colleagues, and drop a comment on what you think about their venture. And don’t forget to sign up to the weekly newsletter for firsthand updates on all blog posts.
Have a great week, and I’ll see you back here next week.