New product feature launch: Catching up with Ground News
Founded by siblings Harleen Kaur and Sukh Singh, Ground News is the world’s first news comparison platform that enables readers to see how thousands of media organizations are reporting news across the political spectrum. The platform was built to allow for quick scanning, which makes auditing news easy.
We recently caught up with their team to learn more about their recent growth and new product feature launch.
The following has been edited for clarity.
Q: What led to the idea of creating a news app? Was this the first startup idea you had?
As is the case with many startups, our news app idea evolved from an adjacent problem that we were solving. We first built an app where average people could report and verify news. However, we found that the pain point of news consumers was not to get more news. They got value from all of the information available and filtering it down to the most accurate, meaningful, and well-labeled stories. With over 50,000 news sources on our roster, we are now one of the most diversely-sourced news companies in the world.
Q: You mentioned an upcoming product feature launch, could you tell us more about that?
With less than 100 days remaining until the U.S election, Ground News is launching its new Blindspot tool. Blindspot gives users insight into what news stories are being covered by the left or the right but not by the opposite side. If your politics bend to the left or right, you may be missing a large portion of true news stories. Ground News Blindspot looks for and brings you those stories, which may broaden your perspectives and your opinions.
Q. What are your major strategic goals in the next 12 to 18 months?
Growth! As a company with thousands of happy paying customers, our main objective is to reach more people. We plan to give people easier access to Ground News in their daily news reading by making our product available (newsletters, web app, browser extensions) on more platforms.
Q. What are some of the best opportunities on the horizon for your company?
I believe that the biggest opportunity for our company lies within our society’s potential big move away from social media as a news source. Over the last decade, many of us have become dependent on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels for our news. Over the last couple of years, we have learned the risks of using social media as our main source of news, especially the very real impact of misinformation, clickbait, and bots. As more people move away from social media, they need to find their way to a source of information that is just as comprehensive but without the noise – a spot that Ground News fills very well.
It took us 14 months of tweaking our free-to-use product before we could go out and confidently market to paying customers. A lot of companies struggle in this phase. It takes time and support to get over this hurdle. The Velocity community’s support was an instrumental part of overcoming this challenge. – Harleen Kaur, CEO
Q. What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced while building your startup at Velocity? How did you overcome this?
Our biggest challenge as a company has been gaining our first customers. It took us 14 months of tweaking our free-to-use product before we could go out and confidently market to paying customers. A lot of companies struggle in this phase. It takes time and support to get over this hurdle. The Velocity community’s support was an instrumental part of overcoming this challenge.
Q. How have you benefited from all of the startup programs that you’ve been involved with?
With Velocity, Communitech, and other startup programs we’ve been a part of, the most important benefit has been the network. As we scale, we’re hitting all the questions that a growing startup has and it’s great to know that someone in the community can help or connect us with someone who can. We also like to be on the other side and help a fellow startup founder with something we’ve already dealt with as often as we can.
Q. What do you enjoy most about building a startup?
The most enjoyable part of building a startup is adding value to people’s lives – our team, our community, and our customers. With our hands-on approach to customer support, we get a ton of kudos and compliments on our product and our mission. Sometimes customers can be downright emotional about how happy they are with Ground News!