It’s the newest company from Babble co-founder Alisa Volkman
Volkman is the CEO of Knowsy, a “micro-learning” startup that makes short how-to videos, which you should be able to see on her own site and anywhere else you can watch video.
Volkman is best-known as the co-founder of Babble, the parenting site she started with her husband Rufus Griscom in 2006 and sold to Disney in 2011. She’s launching her new company with more than $2 million from investors including Greycroft, Betaworks and Elizabeth Cutler and Julie Rice, the SoulCycle founders.
She figures there’s a big market for people who want quick, free instructional videos, so her 10-person company began cranking them out this summer from their New York City headquarters. So far they’ve made a couple thousand.
They are going to find plenty of competition. YouTube’s teen stars and music videos generate lots of attention, but how-to clips have helped power the world’s biggest video site for years.
And now that Facebook is giving YouTube real competition, they’re a big part of Facebook video, too. Just ask BuzzFeed, which created Tasty, the how-to food format that has spawned an industry of me-too how-to food videos.
And yes, Knowsy does food video, too:
Volkman knows there are lots of how-to videos in the market. She argues that many of them outdated, poorly made, and too long.
Hers are supposed to be “short, simple and elegant” — there’s one about how to like something on Instagram which clocks in at eight seconds — and built for mobile and social.
Like most other how-to videos, Volkman’s are free. Unlike others, she’s not going to try to make money from advertising.
She thinks that at some point, she might be able to charge a recurring subscription fee for some of the videos, or sell bundles of them to corporate clients, who want to teach their employees how to use Excel or maybe even Snapchat.
It is not a total coincidence that this business plan sounds a bit like Heleo, Griscom’s company that’s trying to create subscription services based around high-profile authors and lecturers.
In addition to sharing a family, Volkman and Griscom also worked out of the same office for a while as they started up their companies; they also share some common investors. Volkman says the two companies may find a way to eventually work together as well.