First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Edward Sturm: We’re taking everything one step at a time! We’re in NYC, so things are very crazy, but we’re doing our best.
We’re fortunate to be able to help students and teachers with remote learning in these times.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Reverb.chat.
Edward Sturm: My cofounder, Ram Berrouet, and I had done a previously successful company together and wanted to start something new.
I had been traveling through Europe, and Ramand I were discussing problems with remote communication. We thought it crazy you couldn’t send a voice message through email or a voice tweet on Twitter (this was a year ago, and this tweet functionality was only implemented by Twitter recently) or a voice message on Slack.
Even now, schools and businesses are sending voice messages over Whatsapp and iMessage.
This is compounded in Europe, where the culture is much more expressive than the United States.
We sought to fix this by creating https://record.reverb.chat/, allowing people to create shareable cloud-based voice messages, which embed on websites, social media, CMSs, LMSs, and messengers.
We launched on Product Hunt, and BetaList over a year ago and haven’t looked back.
These two platforms gave us our first few a thousand users and word quickly spread.
When we created our Chrome Extension, word spread even faster, and we began getting covered in many tech blogs.
We created something people wanted and needed, and the market rewarded us. We received our first investor, Rohan Reddy, a few months after launch.
How does Reverb.chat innovate?
Edward Sturm: Reverb.chat, our full education platform, is a video and voice messenger for schools. It allows teachers and students to send voice and video notes back and forth. Everything is transcribed, searchable, and organizable.
The main focus of the platform is asynchronous mixed media messages, allowing teachers and students to stay connected outside the classroom and in a setting not super conducive to learning.
While Reverb has real-time calls as well for up to 250 students, the asynchronous feature allows students to learn on their own time- and same with teachers.
Students with poor WiFi or home conditions can learn in more suitable settings or at their own pace. The status quo now is real-time Zoom calls, which are proven to lack engagement for students and organization for teachers.
Reverb fixes this.
Additionally, every voice, video, or screen share message has its own link and can be shared on existing learning management systems such as Canvas and Google Classroom.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business, and how are you coping?
Edward Sturm: it’s crazy- we were getting covered in edtech blogs the moment we launched. We received press from some fairly large edtech blogs, especially in January.
We already had schools using our free tool https://record.reverb.chat/ for sharing voice pre-COVID, but post-COVID, our numbers increased dramatically. We were growing 200% MoM in the Spring and now are dwarfing these numbers, reaching new usage records literally every weekday. Our most recent MoM is 450%!
Here’s an awesome education TikTok we were just in with over 35,000 views and counting: https://www.tiktok.com/@teachingwithtech/video/6865796250608930054
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Edward Sturm: The most challenging choice we made was a pivot we did early this year.
The main Reverb platform was originally a voice and video messenger for remote teams.
One day my cofounder and I were analyzing the users of our free tool and realized there was a large gap not addressed in education (and we had the go-to-market to fix it).
What we were hearing from doing calls with our education users was that teachers and students don’t have a way to stay connected in remote learning. They don’t have a simple – key, simple – way of communicating with voice and video messages.
The current tools were all too clunky, made for business use cases, or lacked proper functionality. Many of our free tool users were in education.
We had created relationships with several of the biggest ones, so we turned the previous iteration of Reverb into an education platform.
This was months ago, and since we did this, we’ve had millions of users register to use our main platform beta.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Reverb.chat in the future?
Edward Sturm: We take the stress and anxiety and compartmentalize it in our shoulders and backs.
I’ve been practising meditation for the last 10-years and Ram is a naturally relaxed person.
We both maintain good diets and consistent sleep schedules. We read a lot and are constantly learning. We both exercise.
These five things reduce most of the stress-related problems we would have, despite working 24 hour days.
As we continue to grow rapidly, it’s these daily habits that allow us to stay on top of things with equanimity (love this word).
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Edward Sturm: Our competitors are Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams and similar team platforms.
The truth is these companies don’t really address the underlying need educators have.
They’re all lacking in simple mixed media communication, which is extremely important for SEL (social and emotional learning) in education and for creating teacher-student relationships.
In a physical setting, this is easy. Through computers, synchronous is not always the best option, and voice/video messages tend to be way more effective for getting through to students while also staying organized.
With links for every message, we also seamlessly integrate into all major platforms, and we’ll also soon be releasing an API to make this even more accessible.
Everything can still be managed from the same Reverb platform.
Your final thoughts?
Edward Sturm:The biggest problem in remote education, as we see it, is teachers around the world need a simple personal way to stay in touch with their learners.
Text is non-personal. Emails and message boards are non-personal.
Voice is personal.
Video is personal.
This is why we’re making Reverb. This and so teachers can also stay organized while integrating into existing education stacks.
You can share a voice with our free online voice recorder at https://record.reverb.chat/
You can also use our voice recorder extension at