Pionear wants to bring geotagged audio tours to your smartphone

“The goal of our work is to connect people with their environment, with each other and with themselves,” said Pionear's Samuel Baumel.
Twice a year, the Made in NY Media Center puts some of its incubator companies in front of a small group of venture investors. We're profiling three companies that stood out during last week's pitch event. This is the second of three stories.

Samuel Baumel presented on behalf of Pionear, a startup with the ambitious goal to give people digital experiences, using mobile technology, while encouraging them to look up again.
The idea is that businesses and institutions that have an incentive to deepen people’s sense for a given place would build curated, geotagged collections of sound that people would listen to for direction as they explored a neighborhood, a museum, maybe even a mall.
“Earbuds embedded with acceleromaters are changing the meaning of surround sound,” Baumel said. “The goal of our work is to connect people with their environment, with each other and with themselves.”

Made In NY Media Center by IFP, Spring Demo Day, 2015

Screenshots of the Pionear MVP. (Photo by Brady Dale)


The first question Baumel faced from a panel at the Made in NY Media Center event had to do with a potential shortcoming of having a geotagged platform: What if someone opened it up in a place and there was nothing there? Under Pionear’s business model, that wouldn’t happen, though. People would only open it if they knew there was going to be content there, Baumel said. In fact, one of the revenue streams envisioned for Pionear is in-app purchases: in other words, on-demand audio tours.
Technical.ly Brooklyn recently participated in an experiment by a local startup called The Two Percent, that could have represented a Pionear use case. The founder recorded a tour of Lower East Side art galleries that participants listened to and took directions from, via Soundcloud.
What it seemed like the panel heard, though, was an audio-based, geo-tagged Twitter, a social media platform. Operation CMYK actually built that app a few years ago. It was called Footnotes.
Pionear’s strongest need right now is for partners who will make content.

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