Tech Pitch: Clippet

A short-form audio news business co-founded by Rupert Murdoch’s grandson catering to millennials- could this tech start-up be the next big thing in publishing?

Company name: Clippet
Founders: James McLeod (24) and Grace Regan (24)
Background: McLeod (grandson of Rupert Murdoch): CASS Business school graduate. Regan: UCL graduate.
Based in: Kingsland Road, Hoxton

Very simply, what does your tech start-up do?

  • Short–form audio news
  • 10 60-second audio news stories (‘clippets’) published every weekday morning.
  • Providing a hands-free way for the smartphone generation to stay updated with the latest news.

Clippet is the UK’s first short-form audio news company trying to re-engage young people in the news. They’ve designed an audio app that makes news work for millennials; all stories are specifically curated for 18 to 28 year olds.

The company has been running for 18 months. There are now 13 Clippet employees, including six journalists who all research, write and present the news. All of them are under 30, offering a peer-to-peer news service.

Tell us why there’s a need – what do you disrupt?

Over half of smartphone users use their mobile as their main source of news consumption. However text and image based content isn’t optimise on a small screen. This is reflected in the fact that millenials’ engagement with the news is falling. 30% 16–24 year olds use social media as their main source of news and only 18% trust mainstream media to deliver what they need.

We’re disrupting the traditional format of news in order to make consuming it on a smartphone as effortless as possible; audio is hands–free and data–light.

We’re also shaking up the standard tone of news to make it as clear, conversational and engaging as possible for time–starved millenials.

Are you funded?

We raised an initial seed round in September and are currently preparing for another round of investment in February/March.

What were you doing before starting?

McLeod: I was studying for a business degree at CASS business school, juggling a bar job alongside. I came up with the idea because I was constantly travelling between the two, with my headphones in and realised I was progressively falling behind on what was going on in the world. Before going to university I spent a lot of time gaining experience within the media industry.

Regan: I had just finished my English degree at UCL when McLeod asked me to start Clippet with him. At university I was heavily involved with student radio – both on the presenting and production side of things. I also did quite a bit of journalism for various student publications. Like McLeod, I spent my summer holidays gaining experience within the industry.

What the best thing about where you’re based?

Being based in East London means that we’re surrounded by people and companies who understand the start–up world. There’s also a perfect mix of creative agencies and tech developers in close proximity so it’s really easy to meet people who can help you out with your business. We’re also on the edge of the City which gives us good access to lawyers, investors etc. Finally, having an office in Hoxton means we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to lunchtime!

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