Lorna Borenstein was on a multi-year sabbatical, traveling the world with her husband and three children and hoped to utilize the internet to do her yoga and fitness while on vacation.
However it was not so. Borenstein became frustrated when she realized there were no high-quality instructional videos, it was even difficult to aggregate the few videos in one place. So step by step, she began the works on what is now Grokker.com, the expert video network, to address this need.
That was 2012. Today, Grokker.com, the community driven content network offering has 3500 plus high quality, expert-led videos for yoga, fitness and cooking too make it easy and enjoyable for enthusiasts to discover valuable content and seamlessly organize and share choice topics, experts and opinions with a larger like-minded community.
The network produces its own videos in-house, featuring a notable network of expert yogis, chefs, trainers and fitness instructors, and also curates a selection of the best videos from around the Web. Searchable by sub-topics,the videos allow users to quickly and easily find exactly what they’re passionate about, practice personal wellness and gain a mastery of new skills, right from your computer, tablet or phone.
TechZulu met Lorna Borenstein and she let’s us into what the network is up to this summer.
Why is it called Grokker?
Grokker (grokker.com) is the “be a better you” expert video network for high quality, expert-led instructional videos in three key wellness areas: yoga, fitness and cooking. With 3,500+ videos all produced in-house, Grokker provides a full wellness experience that can be completely tailored to your personal preferences.
In Robert A. Heinlein’s iconic novel Stranger in a Strange Land, to Grok “means to understand so thoroughly that the observer becomes a part of the observed,” And that’s what we’re all about at Grokker; transformation through connection. We connect YOU (the passionate enthusiast) with expert video and our active community to help you embrace and practice your wellness passions.
What can people do on Grokker?
Grokker was founded to address the 3 biggest problems experienced by busy people frustrated with a lack of time to devote to wellness pursuits:
1) easy to discover video classes taught by experts in their domain with a unique point of view;
2) beautiful high quality, tv-like, video that is the opposite of the spotty UGC commonly found online; and
3) opportunity to authentic connection to Expert instructors and other Enthusiasts who share their passions and interests.
Grokker produces its own top-quality videos in-house, featuring expert yogis, chefs and trainers/fitness instructors hand-selected by Grokker’s editorial team, and those are labeled with a Grokker Premium badge. There are 1000+ premium videos available on Grokker today with new premium videos released daily.
Grokker category managers also actively curate a selection of the best videos on each topic available from other Web sources. Grokker only offers videos that pass the strictest editorial, quality, and taste standards. Any video available there has been viewed and vetted, as well as accurately categorized and tagged by Grokker’s editors.
Currently, Grokker features ~3500+ videos (~1,000 of which are Premium).
Grokker enthusiasts are able to easily interact with expert yogis, trainers and chefs as well as like-minded enthusiasts. Users add comments and questions to videos, interact on forums and post about their accomplishments. Grokker experts regularly offer advice and encouragement. What’s more, is the advice and encouragement the community offers one another, in a supportive and savvy environment where enthusiasts can be their best selves.
One great example of this is the Yoga Forum where Grokker members shared their intentions for the month and supported each other along the way.
Members tailor the Grokker experience to their own interests and preferences by “loving” specific videos, following experts they like, topics of interest and by following other users. Users save videos of interest to ‘watch later’ and can create and share personalized collections of their favorite videos. And based on user actions and preferences, Grokker “learns” what enthusiasts like and recommends new content of interest. Think of Grokker as a way to organize your personal health.
Tell us more about yourself?
I founded Grokker in 2012. I am a retired Internet executive. Prior to founding Grokker, I was President of publicly traded Move Inc and also held a number of executive positions at Yahoo! including Chief of their global personals online dating service and Head of Marketing for their multi-billion dollar worldwide Search & Marketplace businesses (Shopping, Travel, Autos, etc.). I entered the Internet world back in 2000, when I launched eBay Canada out of my guest room in Toronto, Canada and went on to serve as eBay Inc.’s Vice President & General Manager.
Before discovering my passion for consumer technology, I served as Assistant Legal Counsel at Hewlett Packard and practiced law in both the U.S. and Canada.
What inspired you to launch it?
The idea for Grokker came to me while on a multi-year sabbatical, traveling the world with my family. I was hoping to utilize the internet in order to practice yoga and fitness and cook healthy meals while on vacation, but to my surprise (and frustration!), I noticed a serious lack of high-quality instructional videos available, as well as extreme difficulty in finding these kinds of videos aggregated in one place online.
How many users/inquiries so far?
The site went into public Beta in October 2013 and the Grokker community is growing rapidly. Monthly new members are increasing 800% increase since Dec 2013. Premium video views continue to grow 70%+ month over month. And, video engagement (loves and comments) has increased 4x.
How does it work?
Sign up for Grokker and search the highest-quality cooking, yoga and fitness videos available on the web. Follow your favorite fitness trainers, yogis and chefs who star in the videos plus follow other active Grokker members to discover new content that is constantly being updated on the network.
You can completely customize your Grokker experience into collections to create your own series of exercise and/or recipe how-to videos for easy access. Tap into the community of seasoned fitness, yoga and food experts as well as fellow wellness enthusiasts by posing questions on the unique Q&A Café feature.
What is your business model?
Grokker.com is currently in beta. We expect to exit beta later this year and will offer both a free and premium experience.
What have been the challenges building it?
Critical to making this business work was the innovation of new methods and approaches to video production. Grokker’s patent-pending approach allows us to cost effectively shoot and produce beautiful, compelling video classes of all kinds at scale. This content, plus the unique online experience that supports a connected, authentic community is what meets the key need of our market.
What makes you unique from the competition?
Despite a seemingly endless set of options to find fitness, yoga or cooking demonstration videos online, enthusiasts feels frustrated by:
Low quality of online videos. Lack of variety/breadth of video choices available within any one experience. Always having to search – no ability to effectively save or organize videos for regular workouts and for inspiration. Lack of ability to interact and engage with instructors. Lack of community with like-minded category enthusiasts.
Grokker addresses all of these these pain points within a welcoming, supportive online experience.
There are any number of places to find video content online, however Grokker understands that for many enthusiasts, interests overlap across multiple, related wellness categories. And variety is necessary to stay inspired, motivated and challenged. So we both produce and curate top-notch video content in the wellness areas of fitness, yoga AND cooking.
Grokker also boasts an extremely active social community at the core of the experience. We provide Members exclusive access to expert teachers and relevant opportunities to connect with like-minded enthusiasts who share their passions, interests and challenges.
And for our time-constrained target, quickly accessing favorite “go to” workout or cooking video content is key and Grokker provides an experience where Enthusiasts are able to customize and organize videos into Collections so it meets their unique needs. Plus, smart Grokker recommendation and search functionality offer inspiration and the opportunity to try something new.
Who are your investors or are you bootstrapping?
Grokker received an initial investment of $5.35 million, largely from Khosla Ventures, as well as First Round Capital’s Josh Kopelman and renowned angel investor Ron Conway’s SV Angel.