Sharmin Ali has worked in corporate sales for large companies such as Pfizer, Microsoft, Walmart and MuSigma. While working for MuSigma, Sharmin realized that while these large companies had plenty of room to communicate effectively, it was difficult to establish human connections and communicate with empathy.
“They would make marketing decisions based on their opinion that they should communicate rather than use data to ensure effective communication with the target audience. I love stories, both reading and writing, that are all about words. I used appropriate words to measure that need gap in creating great content and that’s how Instoried was born, ”says Sharmin.
Founded in Bengaluru in 2019, Instoried started operations in 2020. It helps companies and individuals create emotionally engaging content and thus improve the return on investment (ROI).
It is a deep tech platform that analyzes and optimizes the emotional quotient, tonality and relevance of written content in formats such as blogs, articles and social media posts.
Sharmin Ali and Sutanshu Raj
Sharmin isn’t new to content creation. Before that, she founded a content production company where she wrote 70 of her own original scripts.
“Maybe before my time with regards to content production and the popularity of OTT platforms, I sold the copyright of all my content to a production house in Mumbai and made an exit. After that, I published two books of my own and also worked with CXOs around the world to help them develop content strategies. My deep-rooted industry experience and understanding of how content works inspired me to start Instoried, ”she adds.
Once the idea was in place, Sharmin got involved Sutanshu Raj, Ex-Microsoft and ex-CTO of eagle.ai, as CTO. she had had known him for over a decade.
“My biggest challenge was putting together a good team and making sure there were enough funds to support them. After I used up my savings, I had to close my PPF account and mortgage my gold jewelry to pay the salaries, ”says Sharmin.
Instoried is now a team of 25 people.
What is it doing
The startup aims to help large companies use AI to make their marketing and communications content more human with a data-driven, scalable, and repeatable approach.
As you create content, the Instoried tool dynamically analyzes it and shows the tone and emotions of your text. When you click on a specific sound or emotion, the tool will highlight all the words in your content and emit that specific sound or emotion.
Hovering your mouse over a specific word will give you several recommendations that are both semantically and contextually relevant, which will improve the empathy of your content.
Sharmin adds that the startup used proprietary technology and didn’t use open source APIs. She says they used 7 million data points internally to create their proprietary dataset.
The instoried tool also enables real-time recommendations to improve the tone and emotional value of the content. The tool has other aspects as well. The headline analysis tool shows how engaging the headline is and also provides suggestions. It also has a plagiarism checker to make the piece of content SEO friendly.
Income model and market
The platform takes a SaaS-based approach for both SMEs and large companies. There are monthly, quarterly, and yearly pricing plans, although Instoried prefers annual pricing as it claims to deliver the best price point and maximum deals.
“Our customers are spread across the retail, FMCG, technology and insurance sectors worldwide,” added Sharmin.
According to MarketsandMarkets, the global content marketing tech market is projected to reach $ 9.59 billion by 2023, a GAGR of 18.4 percent over the forecast period 2018-2023. 2017 was the base year when the market size was $ 3.42 billion.
Competition and the future
In addition to Instoried, there is Pepper Content, which offers a similar service. There are others like Fiverr, Upwork, and content service providers like White Panda and WriterAccess. Instoried, however, focuses on engaging with emotional content.
The startup has so far raised $ 1.5 million from investors such as SOSV, Artesian Investments, Mumbai Angels, 9Unicorns, Venture Catalysts, Jain Angel Network, JPIN from London and a US-based VC in the pre-Series A round collected.
“We look forward to 2021 as we plan to launch a custom keyboard for Android and iOS devices that can be used by any platform. Imagine chatting with loved ones, being able to measure the temperature of your chat and receiving intelligent recommendations in real time. This is the future of chat with endless possibilities, ”says Sharmin.