Interview with John Wander and Ameet Mehta, founders of CHNL

John Wander and Ameet Mehta

John Wander and Ameet Mehta

Testing new curating platforms is part of my job. Of the many that launch every month, only a few make the cut. CHNL is one of them.

After using the service for about a year, I figured it would be a good time to feature Founders John Wander and Ameet Mehta on the blog.

Q1: Hello John and Ameet. Thank you for answering my questions. First, tell us who you are. 

A1: I’m John, an entrepreneur, venture and angel investor. I started my career working at a venture capital firm by day, DJing by night and surfing. Investing the money I had earned and advising startups like Ingrooves and Filtrbox (acquired by Jive) and working in a business dev role at TrueChoice Solutions.

I’m Ameet and wear many hats. I am an entrepreneur who knows his way around UX Design; I created widgets for Topspin. I have also worked with world-renowned advertising agency Chait Day and Fluid for brands like NorthFace and Reebok.

Q2: What triggered your desire to create CHNL?

A2: There is too much content in too many places across the web. We were tired of sending and losing ugly links in email. We also noticed that the link posts on our social networks were buried and lost within minutes.

We decided to build CHNL to be the future of knowledge sharing and collaborative curation. It makes sharing simple and beautiful.

With CHNL, you can put all your content in one place and add collaborators to add and share information. Channels can be public or private.

Q3: What’s the story behind the name?

A3: We locked ourselves in a garage (our office at the time) for one and a half days and came up with a name that we felt would be easy to relate to globally.

“Everyone needs their own channel.”  When we say Channel we also mean your digital DNA. You can tell a lot about someone by the information they share or the content they are into. Your channel is the place where all this content lives and never gets lost.

Q4: What makes CHNL unique compared to similar curation services like Pinterest, Scoop.it, or Publicate?

A4: We’ve designed CHNL for both public and private use amongst colleagues and groups who want to share information and really build a knowledge base and archival solution of all their links, content related to a topic in a simple and beautiful interface.

It comes down to use cases. While CHNL does offer a discovery engine to find curated topics from its community, we have found a lot of traction in the education and small team spaces where collaboration and visual curation is needed to communicate more efficiently rather than using long email threads to share links and documents.

A5: Could you give us a quick tour of the site? 

Q5: CHNL’s main curation tool is based on a bookmarklet that can be installed on any modern browser.  It enables a user to easily add any website, YouTube, Vimeo, Soundcloud or article to their Channel with a simple press of the bookmarklet.  The title and description are customizable and users can #hashtag the content in order to filter and search content more easily in their channel.

Channels are meant to be collaborative, so you can create a Channel and invite friends directly from Facebook / Twitter / Email or you can copy and paste a special custom link in an email or forum to add new collaborators. CHNL screenshot

Once people are in, they can add content to the channel and every collaborator or follower is notified via email as it happens, daily or weekly digest of new content, comments, or likes.  The content is always archived in the channel so people can get back to it later on.

Users can upload files, photos, PDFs and documents into their channels. We’ve found that many people create promotional material with links to articles, videos, and PDFs, so there is just a single link to send out and all their information is in one place.  We will soon introduce additional permissions and roles per customer request.

Another heavy request was the customization of channels for either branding purposes or just to show a little personality.  We’ve added the ability to upload background header images, which really does set everyone’s channels apart.

Q6: Who are your main users? 

A6: We have talent agencies, digital agencies, classrooms, startups, and small business teams using CHNL to curate and share important information.

Q7: Anything else you would like to add? 

A7: We have quite a few new features coming shortly, including premium pricing and features, user roles and permissions,  as well as a public API for third-party integration. We will announce a new partnership with an very large agency very soon. Stay tuned!

To start using CHNL, visit https://chnl.it.

The basics on CHNL can be found at https://chnl.it/channels/491-chnl-101.

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