Kieku makes some noise for thought

This independent media startup has launched a new kind of audio listening service: a YouTube for podcasts.

It seems fitting that Helsinki startup cluster Maria01 is located inside a former hospital. Here amidst the x-ray rooms, long corridors and operating theatres of yore, dozens of startups are undergoing treatment, soon to be discharged into a world of success.

Nonetheless, given that some of the walls inside the building as are still lined with tiles, surely negotiations don’t get that bloody these days, do they Sampsa Fabritius?

The CEO of media startup Kieku Labs bursts into laughter.

“It’s a cosy community,” Fabritius admits, nodding ‘hello’ to a passing trio of peers. “Companies here have been selected for the cluster because they are at the same stage of development. People are like-minded and everybody is sufficiently crazy…”

He stops mid-sentence. Time for a little backstory.

Fabritius’ tale is a familiar one for many former Nokia employees. Finding himself surplus to requirements after 17 years of service at the Finnish telecommunications giant, his engineering expertise is now being enthusiastically applied elsewhere.

“What I really liked about working for Nokia was the awareness that the future doesn’t happen, it is always being made by somebody,” Fabritius says. “That same ‘crazy’ mentality that you can forge the future is very active in the startup scheme of Helsinki.”

Stimulating content

For Kieku, the tool for sculpting the horizon comes in the shape of a podcast content provider, which is tailored to listeners’ interests at the push of a button.

“We are not focussed on ‘click this and laugh’ content, more so the stories that might stimulate thinking,” Fabritius explains. “Kieku makes it easier for people to find inspirational and brainy content. Better thinking leads to a better life and better ideas.”

Fabritius points out that Kieku’s ideal audience is “people who want to understand what is going on the world – whether they are entrepreneurs and have the need to understand where we are going, or people interested in wellness, society and humanity.”

“Somehow it feels that companies have forgotten their role as being transformative in society,” Fabritius (centre) outlines. “I like Henry Ford’s wisdom in that aspect that every employee of the car factory should be able to afford to by the car. If they don’t, then you run out of customers.”

In order to facilitate this, the company deploys an elaborate AI system that quickly learns user habits and creates a customised feed of relevant topics.

“We are not building an algorithm that maximises revenue from ad sales, like Facebook or YouTube,” Fabritius states. “The moment you turn to ads sales, the purpose becomes maximising ads revenue. This is not the goal of the company. We wish to genuinely help people, and make the AI useful.”

The service aims for both ends of the spectrum: the listener and content producer. Adding to the growing library of audio on offer, bloggers can also upload their own material at a price, made easily sharable at the push of a button. Further monetisation comes from a Patreon-style service, which sees listeners rewarding content creators and Kieku taking a slice of each transaction. The sense of community is cemented by the fact that users also police content, helping to weed out inappropriate subject matter.

No time for restrictions

Now, a month after launching, the company is already looking for growth abroad. One major hurdle to overcome on this quest is that “people have certain expectations of talk media”. According to Fabritius, this is set to change in the near future.

“If you look at the media industry, TV has gone social with Facebook and YouTube videos and newspapers have gone digital with blogs and Facebook being used for news distribution,” he states. “Also, music listening has gone social with Pandora and Spotify playlists.”

Podcasts are next in line, tipped to break free of the radio show format shackles.

“Just like blogs transformed long form journalism to five- to ten-minute reads, the audio format is likely to change news listening to short, tasty information bites,” Fabritius states. “We are riding the wave of making talk media social. There’s a joy in creating something new.”

Read other news on the city site of Helsinki.

goodnewsfinland
technology ict APPLICATIONS&SOFTWARE
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in december
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Incidents
Police suspect a fire that destroyed a flat in Helsinki Monday night was ignited by a Molotov cocktail thrown through a window. No one was hurt in the incident. Authorities are investigating a case of suspected arson and attempted murder in Helsinki related to a fire that broke out shortly before 8 pm Monday, ravaging an apartment in the city's Käpylä neighbourhood. Police suspect that a burning Molotov cocktail, also known as a petrol bomb, was thrown thr...
Society
The ministry also wants the national communications regulator to determine whether Trafi's other consumer services can be safely restored on Wednesday. The Ministry of Transport and Communications has asked the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority Ficora, to assess data privacy and security on the web services of the Finnish Transport Safety Agency, Trafi. The request follows a recent public backlash to Trafi's decision to open an online database wh...
Society
Taking a train between Finland and Estonia will be possible by Christmas 2024, says the entrepreneur behind one of two massive tunnel projects being planned. Last week the FinEst Bay Area Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel project received 100 million euros from a Dubai-based construction group ARJ Holding – the first external financing made towards the estimated 15-billion-euro effort. Peter Vesterbacka - a man who made a fortune as a marketing boss at mobile gaming...
Incidents
Several protest marches took place in Helsinki on Thursday evening. Police intervened to forcibly remove swastika flags from Neo-Nazi demonstrators. Police said on Thursday that they will open an investigation into neo-Nazis flying swastika flags in downtown Helsinki. Four protesters had reportedly been taken into police custody. Two processions made their way through Helsinki city centre Thursday evening. The neo-Nazi Kohti vapautta ('toward freedom') dem...
Society
Most of Friday’s papers focus on Thursday's gala at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki where Finland's movers, shakers and honourees were invited to celebrate the nation’s 101 years of independence. Traditionally, media attention has centered on the best-dressed guests and this year was no exception. According to tabloid Ilta-Sanomat, among the most elegant invitees this year was MP Jaana Pelkonen, who wore a bright yellow sleeveless dress by French desig...
Society
Helsinki handed over five decommissioned trams on Monday, two of which will make their way to the Mikkeli city centre for display. Helsinki City Transport (HKL) handed over five antique trams to new owners on Monday after a competition to see where the decommissioned vehicles would be best suited. The HKL competition prompted 94 applications from across the country to receive the trams free of charge. Three of the trams will remain in Helsinki, while two w...
Society
People in Finland are prescribed more antibiotics than the EU average, police warn of neo-Nazi marches and the Finland 100 satellite blasted off. Finnish medical patients use broad-spectrum antibiotics more commonly than the EU average, even though bacteria in Finland are not especially resistant to antibiotic treatments. Daily Helsingin Sanomat writes that attacking a large number of different bacteria at once is all too common, and may lead to resistance...
Society
This year's Finnish National Prize went to a rock star, a fashion designer, a film director and others for their contributions to cultural life in Finland. The Finnish National Prize, an annual cultural award from the Ministry of Education and Culture, went to Henry "Remu" Aaltonen, the drummer and vocalist of the 1970s band Hurriganes; the fashion designer behind Ivana Helsinki, Paola Suhonen; and Academy Award nominated director Selma Vilhunen. This year...
Artist's impression of the proposed Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel
Dubai engineering solutions giant ARJ Holding Ltd is investing €100 million in the Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel project, tunnel designer Peter Vesterbacka announced at a press conference on Monday. Mr Vesterbacka, chief of FinEst Bay Area, the group behind the tunnel project, pointed out the total cost of the tunnel stands at €15 billion, with an investment period of 30 years; the tunnel itself has a projected life span of 120 years, he said. Finest Bay Area Le...