You have 4 summaries left

In Growth We Trust: Marketing | Growth | Startups

🔮 AI-Curated News App, Indie Hackers and Cold Emailing Celebrities | Priyanka and Shannon, co-founders of Volv (the anti social media app)

Tue Jan 30 2024
AI news appmedia companyuser engagementgrowth strategiespartnershipsdata insightscold approaching


The episode features an interview with the co-founders of Vov, a media company and AI news app. They discuss the development of the app, user engagement strategies, partnerships, and growth hacking techniques. The app curates news in nine-second reads and aims to provide unbiased information for users to form their own opinions. The target audience includes non-social media users and high-performing individuals across different age groups. The app has seen success through collaborations with newsletters and podcasts. Data insights from user engagement inform product development and content marketing strategies. Cold approaching influential individuals through personalized emails and social media connections has been effective for networking.


User Engagement and Attention Spans

The app's focus on short-form content caters to declining attention spans, but there is still a niche market for longer-form content.

Curating Content from Various Sources

The app pulls in content from different platforms and aims to provide a neutral perspective without overwhelming users.

Targeting Non-Social Media Users

The app resonates with individuals who don't use traditional social media platforms, providing a competitive advantage.

Partnerships for Growth

Collaborations with newsletters and podcasts have been successful in reaching the target audience and generating long-term users.

Data-Driven Insights

Capturing user engagement data helps inform product development and content marketing strategies.

Resurgence of Cold Approaching

Cold approaching influential individuals through personalized emails and social media connections can be effective for networking.


  1. Vov: The AI News App
  2. Content Curation and User Engagement
  3. Long-Form Content and Personalization
  4. Growth Strategies and Experimentation
  5. Understanding the Target Audience
  6. Diverse User Base and Partnerships
  7. Collaboration Strategies and Brand Recognition
  8. Data Insights and Growth Strategies
  9. Effective Cold Approaching and Networking

Vov: The AI News App

00:00 - 08:01

  • Vov is a media company and AI news app that curates and summarizes news in nine-second reads.
  • The co-founders discuss their journey in developing the app and growing their user base through partnerships with newsletters and YouTubers.
  • They emphasize the importance of speaking to users and making effective pivots in branding based on user feedback.
  • The podcast mentions reaching out to celebrities prior to Vov and the fear of cold approaching potential partners.
  • The co-founders mention being part of the Snapshot Incubator Group and meeting with events PIGO.
  • They announce the creation of merchandise for their podcast and plan to give away one piece through Spotify communication.

Content Curation and User Engagement

07:33 - 14:47

  • Vov initially started as an unbiased news app but later transitioned into curating content from various platforms like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube videos, podcasts, and newsletters.
  • The app has seen 35 million stories swiped, indicating high user engagement.
  • Each article on the app takes around nine to ten seconds to consume due to declining attention spans.
  • Despite shorter attention spans, there is still a niche market for longer-form content like hour-long podcasts.

Long-Form Content and Personalization

14:43 - 21:40

  • There is a trend towards long-form content and printed magazines that focus on better curation and quality.
  • Technology enables the summarization of books and articles into key bullet points, making it easier to consume information during commutes.
  • The platform pulls in content from various sources, including different publications, social media, and trending topics.
  • The platform aims to be neutral in terms of political bias and focuses on providing information for users to form their own opinions.
  • AI plays a role in summarizing news quickly and personalizing the user experience based on engagement data collected from users.
  • Security measures are in place to monitor the AI's handling of information from multiple sources.

Growth Strategies and Experimentation

21:22 - 28:29

  • The launch process of the app initially failed due to lack of promotion and preparation.
  • Product Hunt, contacting YouTube tech bloggers, and beta list were effective strategies for gaining initial traction.
  • Creators and YouTubers were contacted on a non-contract basis to promote the app.
  • Social media ads did not generate significant growth as the target audience does not use social media extensively.
  • Implementing a referral program linked to merchandise did not work well for user growth.
  • The app is launching premium features such as ad-free reading and text-to-speech, which will be linked to referrals for one month of premium access.
  • Experimentation with different types of content is necessary for growth in media companies like podcasts or news apps.

Understanding the Target Audience

28:01 - 34:57

  • Through interviews, it was discovered that the power users of the app are people who don't use social media.
  • Targeting platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter has more value for reaching these users with ads.
  • User research played a significant role in shaping the brand and messaging of the app.
  • The app's positioning as an anti-social media platform resonated with users who also don't use social media.
  • The unique persona of non-social media users provides a competitive advantage for the app.
  • The user demographic skews towards younger generations who are moving away from traditional social media platforms.

Diverse User Base and Partnerships

34:29 - 41:18

  • The app has a diverse user base, including high school and college students, millennials, and even older individuals.
  • Gen Z users are more serious about using the app, especially those focused on academics and getting into college.
  • Some millennials use the app to stay updated but don't use TikTok or other social media platforms.
  • Older millennials tend to not be on social media at all and find value in using the app to stay informed about younger generations.
  • The app resonates with high-performing individuals across different age groups.
  • The partnership with an Indian news newsletter was one of the first and most successful partnerships for the app.
  • The synergy between the app and the newsletter benefits both parties by providing curated tech news content and exposure.

Collaboration Strategies and Brand Recognition

40:51 - 48:35

  • The speaker discusses the synergy between their app and other communities or newsletters, where they exchange content for visibility.
  • They have successfully partnered with other newsletters in different categories like productivity.
  • This collaboration strategy is low-cost and helps reach the target audience without spending money on advertising platforms like Google.
  • Some of their long-term users have come from newsletters and podcasts, which resonate with high-performing individuals.
  • The speaker mentions that they are working towards indexing their articles on Google for better SEO.
  • They talk about being part of the Snapchat incubator, which provided validation, funding, and valuable connections.
  • As part of the incubator program, they had a channel on Snapchat Discover for brand awareness among Gen Z users.
  • Being featured alongside big publications on Snapchat Discover is beneficial for brand recognition.

Data Insights and Growth Strategies

48:09 - 55:30

  • The podcast discusses the indirect impact of brand awareness and app users through Snap.
  • They capture a lot of data on user engagement and use it to inform product development.
  • Data shows interesting human behavior patterns, such as users wanting serious news but reading about celebrities instead.
  • They can generate interesting stories from their own data for content marketing purposes.
  • They are looking to hire a growth hacker who can come up with creative ideas to reach their target audience organically.
  • They want to figure out how to get current users to refer new users and make the app more shareable.
  • Cold emailing has been an effective strategy for reaching out to influential individuals.

Effective Cold Approaching and Networking

55:09 - 58:42

  • There is a resurgence of cold approaching people, not just through emails but also through direct messages on platforms like Instagram.
  • Cold approaching can be effective if it is genuine and offers something useful to the person, rather than trying to sell them something.
  • Writing an email that sounds genuine when sending it to multiple people can be challenging.
  • It is worth putting in the effort to personalize emails when reaching out to individuals.
  • The hosts of the podcast have done a good job of sharing answers without dividing responsibilities or using a specific system.
  • People can reach out to the guests by contacting their company email or connecting with them on social media platforms like TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram.