Elevator Pitch: Chant

Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we're talking with co-founder Matt Garrett from Chant.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

Chant helps engage audiences and kick-start conversation. Chant allows publishers, bloggers and webmasters to create beautiful, responsive polls in just a few seconds. A free Chant account provides an unlimited number of polls using images, Tweets and YouTube videos, and receives unlimited votes. Chant's premium features allow publishers to customise the look of their polls and manage team accounts.

To build Chant, we've leveraged our industry experience and existing enterprise-grade social broadcasting product (currently used by Fox Sports and Telstra) to create a free application that anyone from your home blogger to your mainstream publisher can use.

We see Chant as a mobile first polling application to rival the recently Google-acquired Polar, and fill the void created for many publishers when Polar shuts down in mid-2015.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

Chant has been self-funded, and is currently available in public beta. Over the next few months we are focused on gathering as much feedback as possible about the product, this will help define the offer and drive new features. We will also be actively pursuing investment options to help our marketing efforts.

We will also be leveraging our existing relationships with some of Australia's bigger publishers to adopt Chant -- naturally this will provide us with great exposure.

What's the biggest challenge facing your business?

Obtaining enough exposure to drive adoption rates quickly before other competitors enter the market.

How do your differentiate your business from your competitors?

We feel we have taken the product category, which was created by Polar, to new levels by providing the ability to also use content such as tweets and YouTube videos to generate polls.

With Polar soon to exit the market we don't see too many rival products with the same offering at this stage. Of course there are several well-known polling and survey tools out there, but they are often bundled with other services or somewhat over-engineered.

With Chant there are no radio buttons or checkboxes to be seen - beautiful polls attract engagement.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

Cricinfo. I am a sports nut, when my team is playing I am one of those guys hitting the refresh button for updates even though I know they come through automatically every few minutes!

What's the best piece of business advice you've ever received?

Good question! I once heard a talk where Wayne Gretzky (arguably the greatest ice hockey player ever) was quoted as having said, "In hockey, as in life, I've always tried to focus on where the puck's gonna be, not where it is now." While very tricky to maintain in today's fast moving digital world this is the essence of good business strategy - trying to continuously plan backwards from the future rather than looking forward from the present.

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