Audiobooks and podcasts are increasing in popularity like never before, especially given the hectic, fast-paced lifestyles that many of us live. Over 50 percent of Americans ages 12 and older have listened to an audiobook in the past year, and 74 percent of them listen to a book while driving. Most podcast listeners have multitasked while listening to a podcast, often listening to their favorite shows while doing chores around the house (59 percent), driving (52 percent), cooking (51 percent), going on a walk (46 percent) and exercising (44 percent).
Audio learning platform Knowable has created an original, expert-led series of courses to appeal to the modern audio learner on the go. The company’s “immersive, screen-free” courses are developed for those who may not have the time to dedicate to a typical online class.
“Online courses today are almost entirely video-focused, and the scant audio options that do exist are outdated and lack the useful features that people have come to expect from online learning,” wrote Warren Shaeffer, Co-founder and CEO of Knowable, in a Medium post. “We asked ourselves: how can we make high-quality education more convenient and approachable, so that people can spend time learning when they can’t or don’t want to stare at a screen?”
Knowable’s audio learning courses also come with curated learning tools, such as a downloadable e-textbook, in-app lesson summaries, reading lists, topic-specific resources and other action items. The classes are also taught by multiple experts in the field, such as Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Reddit—who also happens to be one of the startup’s earliest investors.
Students also receive access to a private community, free access for a friend and a 100 percent money-back guarantee.
“Our mission is to make education more modern and accessible for people around the world—we want to help people accelerate their path to self-actualization, regardless of their background,” Shaeffer said in a statement. “With today’s launch of the Knowable platform and our pilot courses, we’re taking a big step towards achieving this goal by providing our members with a premium, audio-first educational experience that allows them to learn on the go.”
The platform currently offers six courses on topics like starting a business to learning how to get a better night’s sleep. Invested students need to join the waitlist for three of the courses—be a climate change hero, invest in real estate and speak with coinfidence—but the rest are available for $100 each.
Knowable raised $4 million in an oversubscribed seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz, with participation from Upfront Ventures, Initialized Capital and First Round Capital.
Connie Chan, partner at Andreessen Horowitz, also sees the value in a platform for those, like her, who may have “more listening time than ‘reading’ time.”
“I believe audio-first companies now have the opportunity to deliver — and invent — new user experiences, including those that help all of us continue our goals of lifelong learning and self improvement… no matter how busy life gets.”