How the founder of storytelling app HearHere landed Kevin Costner as a cofounder and $3.2 million in seed funding. Here’s an exclusive look at its pitch deck.
This story is available exclusively to Business Insider subscribers. Become an Insider and start reading now.
- HearHere is an audio app that lets road-trippers listen to short stories based on their location.
- Kevin Costner became a cofounder after he was asked to narrate some of the stories.
- The startup raised $3.2 million from Camping World and several angel investing groups.
HearHere, a new audio storytelling app founded by Santa Barbara entrepreneur Woody Sears, Hollywood icon Kevin Costner and former business executive Bill Werlin, has just raised $3.2 million in seed funding.
Sears came up with the idea for a location-based storytelling app after he sold his previous storytelling company Zuuka in 2014, an app of narrated children’s books. HearHere, founded in 2017, is aimed at American travelers while they are on road trips. It uses cell phone location data with user permission to play stories and historical facts about the areas they are driving through as they travel.
Sears met Costner because they live in the same neighborhood and their kids attend school together, he told TechCrunch. Costner’s wife first told him about Sears’ company. When Sears asked the actor to narrate some of the stories, he agreed and grew so involved in building out the project that he signed on as a cofounder.
Werlin, a former exec for North Face, Patagonia and other outdoors equipment companies, immediately signed on as a cofounder after an introductory lunch with Sears, according to his company bio.
HearHere currently hosts 8,800 stories spanning the US, some of which are narrated by celebrities like John Lithgow and Phil Jackson, the company says. The team plans to use the fresh infusion of capital to expand into more geographic areas, increase hiring, and record new stories.
The $3 million seed round was led by RV distributor Camping World along with prominent angel investing groups like Seraph Group and Pasadena Angels.