Vidya Narayanan, Co-Founder and CEO of Rizzle, shares her entrepreneurial journey.
With mixed feelings, as I collected my last paycheck at Google and left a job I absolutely loved, I had dreams but no real plans. I didn’t know where my dreams would lead me, but I knew I had to pursue them. Along with my long-time friend and colleague, Lakshminath, I set out on a journey to build things I had no idea I was capable of building.
I’ve always been a dreamer. I imagine outcomes before I know how to make them happen. Sometimes, a dream becomes an obsession and takes over until I make it happen. I’m currently making one such dream a reality with Rizzle – the dream of building the first woman-led, global-scale social platform with short videos.
The idea for Rizzle stemmed from discussions my co-founder and I were having about how video platforms have historically been a broadcast medium – you put out a video and the community watching it may send you comments, but there was no way to have a video discussion at scale. So, we set out to build it for hundreds of thousands of people. We had to really innovate on design to figure out a way to aggregate discussions by topic and still make it easy for people to follow threads and insert themselves into any part of it.
That was the fundamental premise. From there, we introduced channels and episodic content to allow creators to host multiple channels with connected themes. Instagram and TikTok force creators, especially the successful ones, to stick with monolithic content types. Rizzle channels help creators to build an audience once and expose them to their different content types – vlogs, comedy shows, movie reviews and so on.
Building a product in a space where we’re seemingly competing with big tech takes grit and a steady focus on vision. Today, nearly every major company and several new entrants with deep pockets are building a TikTok clone. In this market, Rizzle is the underdog that is changing the way we evolve short videos into connected storytelling. And I love the challenge of taking this from an underdog to a market leader!
Our approach is rooted in product, design thinking and reimagining the future of video, rather than one that’s heavily dependent on duplicating existing platforms. We’ve made a number of bold decisions that deviate from the norm: we don’t allow text comments, for example, and require responses to be in video only. This comes from the fact that female creators are more likely to face defaming comments about their appearances on other platforms. We also focused on original content first and made it Rizzle’s DNA. We’ve integrated monetization via sponsorships and democratized the way creators can monetize content.
Being bold in our vision helps us build features that are ahead of the industry. Last week, we launched Rimix, which is revolutionizing the way video mashups are created. We’re proud to be innovating ahead of the pack to shape the future of storytelling!
Today, after several challenges and multiple years in the entrepreneurial journey, I still dream. And that’s what makes this journey special and worth it!
Rizzle is the short-form vertical video platform that allows anybody to make their own original series – in minutes. Rizzle allows every creator to host multiple channels – vlogs, comedy shows, even scripted short series. It is the next evolution in short videos for the TikTok generation.