The future of Indian social networking apps is audio video: Leher a serious contender to Clubhouse
‘This is the decade of transition to audio/video as the primary medium of socialising’
This made-in-India drop-in live audio-video discussion social networking app is a part of the new social media wave in India in direct competition with Clubhouse.
As the invite-only social audio platform Clubhouse launched its android app in India recently, the fame of audio-specific social media acceptance grew in India. Also, after the Indian government banned hundreds of Chinese apps in 2020, it put the spotlight on home-grown apps that served as an alternative to Chinese apps. However, this also shifted the focus to other made-in-India apps.
A drop-in live audio-video discussion social network app, Leher, is a platform where people with similar interests can come together to discuss ideas, learn, network, and build relationships.
Unlike Clubhouse, which is an audio-only chat app, Leher is an open audio-video discussion platform and within the platform, there are clubs that are invite-only. Some clubs are run by people with more exclusivity and some of these clubs let people join in via request.
The Tech Panda spoke to Vikas Malpani, Co-founder and CEO of Leher App, about Leher’s USP and the reason why tech savvy Indians are opting for audio video when it comes to social media.
The coming decade will be the era of mobile, with a new social network built around audio and video that will focus on conversations rather than broadcasting
“The last big social media wave happened a decade ago, coinciding with the arrival of Snapchat and Instagram during the 3G era. The whole interaction medium via text is painful and described social networks till then as broadcast networks,” he says.
“The coming decade will be the era of mobile, with a new social network built around audio and video that will focus on conversations rather than broadcasting. Many other apps are now exploring live audio-video arrangements, indicating that ‘social audio video’ could be the next big frontier. This is the decade of transition to audio/video as the primary medium of socialising,” he adds.
The startup firmly believes that as a social media app of today, Leher is better than Clubhouse.
“From the beginning, we have provided users with much more options. We were already on iOS and Android, and we had built-in audio and video features. We have user-moderated clubs and self-moderated rooms, so anyone can step in and start a conversation. One is only required invitation for private clubs,”
From the beginning, we have provided users with much more options. We were already on iOS and Android, and we had built-in audio and video features. We have user-moderated clubs and self-moderated rooms, so anyone can step in and start a conversation. One is only required invitation for private clubs
The app also lets you record the discussion live and lets one schedule a discussion and go live accordingly. The time limit for a live video is about 180 minutes, and there is no time limit for club sessions.
“There is no limit to people joining a club on the Lehar app,” he says proudly. Malpani is a second-time founder, having previously co-founded CommonFloor.com in 2007, which was acquired by Quikr.com in 2016.
Indian Youth & IT Crowd Go for Social Audio Video
A look at the demographics of the Leher app indicate that the youth of today as well as the IT crowd prefer social audio video. Malpani informs that they see young professionals, college graduates, project managers, and industry thought-leaders using their platform.
According to the startup, its current user base of 300,000 are spending between 15 minutes to two hours on the app, discussing and debating with like-minded people. The app has observed discussions on various topics, including mental health, startups, investing, and journalism.
While audio is good for conversation, video is great for connecting. Users like to see the people behind the voice, sometimes they like to show the surroundings, others they want to have a passionate discussion and seeing people helps you understand the other’s perspective much better
Geographically, while Leher is getting major traction from cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, Tier II cities are catching up with this new trend in cities including Agra, Ghaziabad, Ajmer, Bhopal, and Chandigarh.
Malpani says the reason for this rise is that video adds to the experience of Leher.
“While audio is good for conversation, video is great for connecting. Users like to see the people behind the voice, sometimes they like to show the surroundings, others they want to have a passionate discussion and seeing people helps you understand the other’s perspective much better. This way the community has one platform for both their regular catch-ups and events/meetups,” he says.
The Leher USP
Leher was built on the insight that there was a lack of options for socialising online and having a meaningful conversation around one’s interests. A platform where everyone has an opportunity to voice their views and experiences and to create a new social network.
The app is available on both Google Play and Apple’s App Store. On Google Play, the app has been downloaded more than 1,00,000+ times and has 4.0 stars rating out of 5.
Leher has also raised an undisclosed amount from a group of angels and seed investment from a seed fund.
The Leher Creator Program
Recently, Leher launched a creator program, empowering community moderators and creators to live their dream of becoming influencers. The platform focuses on adding to the traditional way of supporting creators with brand collaborations with direct support and appreciation through monetising their active participation on the app.
“We are empowering creators and communities to be able to find meaningful communities, monetise their content, and make a living out of that,” says Malpani.
Community moderators, content creators, and influencers signing up for the program will have the freedom to build communities from scratch that will not only enrich communication but also monetise their efforts in the form of milestones. These milestones set by the platform will empower the moderators to earn Leher money that can later be encashed to their accounts.
We are empowering creators and communities to be able to find meaningful communities, monetise their content, and make a living out of that
In addition to cash awards up to INR1,00,000 monthly, creators/community moderators also have the option of receiving community stock options (Grant-Community Stock Options-CSOP) for a more diversified financial portfolio as Leher grows along with them.
Members of the Creator Program will have access to its unique features like record audio/video rooms, advanced community analytics, engagement tools, and priority access that will further amplify their efforts to build shareable and relevant content. The select communities and moderators will also receive a special recommendation from Leher and a verified badge to ensure an expansive reach to the target audience.