When it comes to reading articles on politics, science, economics, and other “heavy” topics, understanding the facts is pretty important, but this information can be useless without commentary from experts in that field, who provide valuable context. It is likely not difficult for a modern journalist to track down an academic or researcher to provide this insight, but Finnish startup Kuka wants to streamline the process by creating a database of experts available for comment when news hits.
Kuka remains at the pilot stage, so it is a bit early to talk about exactly how the platform will work when it launches, as planned, in the spring. However, what we know is that it will essentially act as a database through which experts in various fields can offer their services to journalists. Experts will have profiles that will include tags, allowing journalists to search for names in a particular specialty. But the service will go both ways, as experts will also be offered a place through which they can reach out to journalists in order to promote a particular project. As they have not yet formally launched the service, it is a bit early to talk about monetization, but the startup tells me that they are currently working to figure an appropriate pricing structure.
Co-founder Mari Vaara tells me that they have attracted 1,300 experts and 40 journalists to the platform. Notable brands to try the platform include Helsingin Sanomat, which is described as the largest subscription-based newspaper in the Baltics, the Finnish national public-broadcaster Yle, and commerce-oriented publication Kauppalehti. Having received feedback from these users, they are currently in the process of building the next version of the platform before the official launch.
The startup currently claims 125,000 Euro in funding from the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation, which they are putting towards launching the service, both in Finland and, later, internationally.