Alec Andronikov, 29, has started and sold two companies, and he may have another hit on his hands.
That’s if Lindsay Lohan has it her way.In 2005, Alex Andronikov quit his job on Wall Street. He moved to San Francisco and crashed on a friend’s couch with little more than a startup idea.
Andronikov had worked in the telecommunications investment group at JPMorgan. He noticed voice search services, like 411, were a largely untapped market. In 2005, $6.5 billion worth of calls were made to 411. The average call cost $1.50, making it a $10 billion+ business. Andronikov created inFreeDA, an advertising-sponsored directory that served relevant search results when people called for assistance.
AT&T acquired inFreeDA in October 2006 and Andronikov began his next venture, MoVoxx. MoVoxx was a mobile advertising company backed by Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital, Greycroft and others. That company was also acquired, first by Adenyo and later Motricity for $100 million.
Since then, Andronikov has moved back to New York. While angel investing, a new opportunity caught his eye.
In China, YY Group recently went public and it has a popular song sharing application. Three of the most watched shows on TV are singing competitions (The Voice, American Idol and X Factor). Andronikov wondered why a popular song sharing app hadn’t taken off in the United States, despite obvious demand.
In early April, Andronikov and his co-founder Sergey Fedorov released an app called Just Sing It. The game resembles Draw Something, OMGPOP’s popular Pictionary-like app which was acquired by Zynga for $180 million. It’s also similar to Instagram in that users can add filters to voice recordings. They can make their voice sound high or low, or even squeaky like a hamster.
On Just Sing It, users can record songs or rap for friends and strangers. The singer can pick a music genre (R&B, Hip Hop, Dance, Country or Pop) and the lyrics show up, like a karaoke screen. The recipient then guesses which song is being sung. Andronikov thinks it will be a good way for friends to send funny-sounding messages to each other, for people to watch amusing displays of talent, and for serious singers to get found. Recordings can also be shared on social networks.
Since April 4, about 70,000 people have downloaded Just Sing It and 400,000 recordings have been made. The app owes much of its quick growth to actress Lindsay Lohan who came across the app and tweeted its praises:
— Lindsay Lohan (@lindsaylohan) April 4, 2013
Andronikov says his team didn’t pay for the endorsement, but now that they know she’s likes the app, they’re working with her team to “make the most of her being a fan.” Lohan has now tweeted seven times about Just Sing It, asking her 6 million followers to join in. The marketing move is working; on April 5 Just Sing It enjoyed Apple’s No. 1 Free App position.
Having downloaded the app, and I’m not as infatuated with it as Lohan is. It’s not easy to record anything other than suggested songs, and I’m not a big fan of singing in public.
The idea of filtering your voice is interesting, but other apps like Smule’s I Am T Pain also let you record and alter your voice. If Just Sing It was more of a Snapchat experience, where you could say something in a funny voice and know it’d be permanently deleted, that’d be more appealing for self-conscious people like me.
But for those who use are comfortable putting themselves out there, like Lohan, it seems addicting. Andronikov says his team is close to announcing a seed round in the next week or two.
Here are a few screenshots of the app: