How social media startup Thinkly is creating an interest-driven content and community platform

Content and community go hand in hand.

And Mumbai-based content creation startup Think aims to ensure that its mini-blogging platform is doing its part by helping people discover, engage and learn from other users with common interests.

Founded in 2021 by Vivek Saxena, Navin Pai, and Deepak Choithramani, the AI-powered content creation platform aims to “ignite the thinker” in its users – people who want to express their thoughts to an intellectual audience.

Thinkly started as a blogging platform where one could share thoughts on topics that mattered to them. Later, to make it more conversation-oriented, the founders developed a social media app, allowing users to chat and express their thoughts.

“Even though we started as a blogging platform, we realized there was so much more value to add. As podcasting and videos became popular, we wanted to adopt them on a social platform,” says Varun.

Using social media is considered to be one of the most popular online activities. In 2020, around 3.6 billion people used social media globally, and that number is expected to grow to around 4.41 billion in 2025.

This gave Thinkly the mission to develop its interest-driven content and community-driven social media app with the larger vision of building a place “where the world comes to think”.

Many eminent personalities such as RN Bhaskar (Editor, Pedagogue, Researcher), Kaveree Bamzai (Senior Journalist and Renowned Author), Gaurav Kalra (Senior Sports Journalist), Avinash Ananda (Leadership Advisor, Happiness Strategist, Motivational Speaker ), Shital Mehra (Executive Presence Coach), Amit Chhangani (Founder. Motoroids), Ajit Ranade (Economist, Political Analyst) and others post content on Thinkly.

CEO Vivek and CTO Navin previously invested in other ideas, before focusing on Thinkly. Passionate about the AI ​​space, Deepak later joined the company as CPO. The founders declined to disclose details of the initial investment.

How it works?

A startup focused on the maker economy, Thinkly creates a space where one can start a dialogue and initiate meaningful conversations with like-minded people. It allows the public, or “thinkers”to choose the content they want to display using more than 50 different filters.

The platform allows freelance writers, thinkers, journalists and other content creators to filter their target audience and monetize content through subscriptions.

The application is available for free on Google Play Store and Apple Store. A user can log in via email, Twitter, Facebook or Google. After installation, the app prompts you to choose at least three areas of interest, after which the AI-based engine matches your interests with other users and content available on the platform.

A creator can publish multiple posts on Thinkly, which offers both free and premium subscription models. A single creator can have posts that cater to different target audiences focusing on business, travel, finance, parenting, and more.

Content can be published in three formats: blogs with unlimited words, podcasts with Spotify integration, and videos with YouTube integration.

Creators can restrict their content to premium users by charging accessibility fees. Thinkly charges these creators a fee for using their premium services.

The app claims to be an ad-free platform.

“We only charge money to creators who make money, so anyone can launch their post on the platform for free. Our revenue comes from subscription fees,” Vivek explains.

In August 2021, Thinkly raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round from Mumbai-based VC Equanimity Investments and other angel investors.

“As a startup, you are always on the treadmill. We plan to raise another round of funding in the coming months,” says Vivek.

The startup recently entered into a content sharing partnership with Free Press Journal (FPJ). Thinkly provides users with FPJ’s op-eds and other articles. The founders say they are in talks with other Indian and international media outlets.

The “privlic” function

Thinkly’s goal is to create a safe space for people to express their thoughts and eliminate hate and toxicity – a challenge that most social media platforms fail to meet today.

“Our initiative is not aligned with unnecessary user engagement. Our effort will always be to create a safe and troll-free platform for content creators,” he adds.

“We added a ‘privilc’ feature to prevent trolling. Whenever a user activates it, comments from other users are considered messages. This prevents others from seeing these comments.

“Privilic” is a portmanteau that combines parts of the words “private” and “pub-lic”.

The market and more

The global digital content creation market size was estimated at $11 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12% by 2030, according to a report.

More than 50 million people around the world consider themselves creators. Of these, more than two million consider themselves professional creators, earning enough from their passion to consider it their full-time income. Other players operating in the space include Zupyak, Medium, Dzone, Quora, Flipboard, Scoop.It, and Listly.

What makes Thinkly unique? The fact that it is a safe, troll-free space that is open to opinions or ideas from different perspectives, allowing its creators to earn through its built-in subscription model.

“We try to be the Netflix of quality content. While most other platforms are all about staying in touch with friends, families, brands and celebrities, Thinkly has great content that adds value,” says Vivek.

In January 2022, the startup obtained the rights to republish the content of 50 Nobel laureates and 120 heads of state, including names such as Joseph Eugene Stiglitz (American economist), Justin Yifu Lin (chief economist and vice -President of the World Bank), Michael Spence, George A. Akerlof, Joseph E. Stiglitz and others.

The content creation app currently has over 65,000 users and plans to add around 50,000 users every month (MoM). Only about 5% of users come from abroad.

The road ahead

Going forward, Thinkly plans to expand its global footprint, for which the founders are in talks with international media.

The content creation startup is also developing additional features to allow users to further protect themselves against abusive and toxic content.

“We want people to come to Thinkly to have informed and nuanced opinions on things. We want our users to engage in interesting debates and discussions on the platform,” says Vivek.

He adds that the platform aims to host global publications in the areas of business, wellness, science, technology, culture, geopolitics, health and entertainment.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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