"Voice slide" iPad app bContext picks up steam with teachers, marketers

By Erin Griffith , written on March 21, 2013

From The News Desk

Odds are, you use your tablet for media consumption much more than you use it for media creation. New iPad app bContext wants to change that, making it very simple and quick for users, particularly educators and marketers, to create visual and audio content.

The app adds a layer of audio to any series of flat files -- a powerpoint presentation, a PDF, a series of photos, or Dropbox files. You record yourself talking as you toggle through them. You can notate the files by drawing on the iPad with your finger. The result is a piece of content that's more interactive than a podcast but smaller, less cumbersome and easier to make than a video. There is no rendering or video conversion involved, so it's less taxing on servers and faster. Basically, bContext is lightweight voice slides.

The company, based out of WeWork Labs in New York, launched in August but has recently began picking up traction thanks to a series of promotional bContext lessons the site's founder Massimo Scapini has uploaded on how to improve your App Store SEO.

A hearty endorsement of the platform's effectiveness in cold emailing from Scott Britton of SinglePlatform helped too:

Over the past 3 weeks I’ve sent emails with BContext presentations embedded to 28 execs who previously did not respond to initial cold emails – 15 have responded. That’s a response rate of greater than 50% from people I don’t know that probably receive 100′s of cold emails and calls a day.
Educators, health care professionals, and sales prospectors have adopted the app for simple creation of presentations and lessons, but it's been most popular with teachers, Scapini says. Instructors on Skillshare and Meetup use as a refresher for students and attendees, and as a way to continue to engage students after the class. Voice slides include a chat function where teachers and students can ask and answer questions related to the content directly within the bContext app. Further, teachers have been converting their bContext content to video and selling it on platforms like Udemy.

The network of effect of "groups" has helped with bContext's early growth among educators. "Teachers add entire classes of students and then some students share voice-slides publicly with their networks too," Scapini says.

Once the files are created, the content lives on bContext. It can be shared socially or embedded onto a site. Uploading to YouTube costs a 99 cent conversion-to-video fee. bContext also charges for premium services like editing, privacy, storage and analytics. Pro accounts cost at $4.99 a month.

A graduate of the Startup Chile accelerator, bContext has raised $240,000 in seed funding and grants and is in the process of closing a round of funding worth $600,000.