Got 30 seconds to spare? This Chicago startup wants to teach you something new.

by Andreas Rekdal
May 4, 2016

Although most of us can remember not having smartphones, it’s near impossible to imagine what our lives would actually be like without them today. Indispensable lifelines to the world around us, our phones are pulled out constantly for directions, notes, emails and news.

But let’s be honest. What smartphones are truly great for is filling those moments when you're waiting for the bus, in line at the grocery store or waiting for your daily caffeine fix.

Chicago startup

wants to fill some of that time by creating “snackable” quality content that can be consumed in — you guessed it — 30 seconds. The idea is to provide readers with self-contained articles, reviews and recipes that can teach you something new while you're just standing around anyway.

A member of the second 1871 WiSTEM class, the company is led by serial entrepreneur Elisa All, whose previous venture, iParenting Media, was acquired by Walt Disney Interactive in 2007. After a stint as director of the Disney Interactive media group, All wanted to get back into the entrepreneurship game, and the idea for 30Second Mobile was born.

The company’s first vertical,

, serves up video and written content on everything from parenting and technology to travel, recipes and mindfulness. The site has 170 contracted contributors, whose posts are all vetted and fact-checked by the company’s full-time editorial staff.

Mothers were the ideal audience for her proof of concept, All said, because the constant logistical puzzle of running a household means downtime tends to come in small chunks spread throughout the day.

"Busy moms are on the go all the time and are using their mobile device as their utility tool," she said. "Online, everything is kind of screaming at you. So how do you break through the clutter and give people a piece of information that can truly make their lives better in the time that it takes to watch a TV ad?"

Moreover, research suggests that mothers make 85 percent of all household purchases, making them an attractive demographic for advertisers.

While many media companies find themselves struggling to find ways to monetize their content, All said 30Second’s format lends itself well to content partnerships. For instance, if Quaker Oats wants to reach 30Second’s audience, they can sponsor a breakfast recipe that features their products. In her experience, this type of sponsored content tends to resonate with the site’s audience.

During their time in the WiSTEM program, the 30Second team has been working on a complete redesign of the site. The redesign, which went live Wednesday morning, adds a number of social features, as well as a more modern, responsive design.

Once the dust settles after the launch, the company will dig into its analytics to settle on a second vertical to launch. With a current idea bank of over 250 domains, All said the second vertical will be chosen based on a combined analysis of the current site’s most trafficked categories and opportunities for bringing existing brand partnerships along for the ride.

Images via 30Second Mobile.

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