"There are many great apps for your eyes, but few for your ears."
Fred Scarf's eyes light up precisely when he's talking about something other than the visual - sound. A young, gregarious founder, he was inspired to create an application that explores the power of audio in exciting new ways: Earigami.
Earigami is an application that enables users to create and share their own highly creative sound bites, and to mix in unique personal sounds and creations to make each one of a kind. The company in its early stages and, as Fred tells it, the major goal for next year is to "get the word out," and but there is clearly a big vision in place to do something different.
The social app market can be a notoriously challenging one to stand out in, and Scarf believes that focusing in on sound can create that differentiation.
"What makes us different is that we present audio as the center of the fun," Scarf says. "Particularly, the introduction of earmojis - our term for the unique sounds our users can create and mix in - allows people to inject their personality through sound. With Earigami, audio is not just a feature within a video focused application, or a boring tool to improve professional communication, it is actually the central attraction."
It was the earmojis that first caught my attention. Although this is not one of the companies I advise, when Scarf showed them to me in action, including how users can create their own sounds and mix them in, it struck me as something that would be very fun to use when developed out.
Earigami is in its early days but Scarf works hard to make it interesting and compelling selling point for why there could be a serious future in what he is building. Particularly in social, where traction is king, it is a challenge for entrepreneurs to make the case for why their application has a powerful future. As Scarf explains it, while there are many applications that incorporate sound regularly, few emphasize its importance, or see it as anything more than an essential delivery medium. The focus of others is almost always on the video, with the idea that sound itself could be the fun excitingly almost retro-futurist.
Scarf knows he is in a filling market, an app marketplace filled both with established market leaders in social that incorporate sound capabilities, such as Snapchat, and new rising competitors fighting for market share.
The current funding climate is also daunting, with venture capitalists who eagerly poured into social projects in 2013, 2014, and 2015 becoming increasingly careful about where to place their capital. But he is undeterred and investors appear to have early interest.
"Fred's enthusiasm, knowledge of the market, and considerable research into how to make Earigami a success is impressive," said Mike Napoli from Tech Coast Angels.
"We know that sound itself has something special to offer. Earigami will unpack the world of audio and present it in a topical way for this generation," Scarf added.