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Featured on May 24, 2012

Sandeep Ayyappan

"I've never envied someone who led an easy life; I have envied many people who led difficult lives and led them well. - Teddy Roosevelt"


I'm the founder & CEO of Delve News, and we're building a tool to help organizations curate news internally. Previously, Delve was mycirQle, a news portal organized by key issues - energy, health, education. I started my career at RBC Capital Markets, where I spent a couple of years on the Energy Technology Equity Research team, covering solar, wind, and energy efficiency companies. After realizing I was really into energy but still didn't know what the industry actually looked like, I left RBC to spend five months on the road across North America researching a book. That idea ultimately became mycirQle and then Delve, and I instead created A Young Man Goes West, a coffee table book about my road trip.

  • Title: Founder & CEO, Delve News
  • Age: 26
  • Location: SoHo
  • Contact: @sayyappan

You recently changed mycirQle to Delve. What prompted that change and what are some of the key differences between mycirQle and Delve? What lessons have you learned from mycirQle that you are taking with you to Delve?

The core idea behind our pivot was the shift from doing curation around key verticals to enabling curation within organizations. We're passionate about the basic idea - that the conversations we have around quality news stories have incredible value when put in the right context, and we started by working more on the discovery problem - finding those great stories through editorial curation. As we launched mycirQle and collected feedback, we realized curation is contextual - it depends on who you're curating for, and we realized many of our users were organizations who'd asked for the ability to participate in the curation in some way. And our role was going to be in enabling that process - by helping teams build conversations and interaction and ultimately solve the problems they're working on by curating news.

What inspired you to leave RBC Capital to research your own book? What are some things you learned on your trip?

I worked in the Energy Tech Equity Research team at RBC, and I took that job because I wanted to better understand the energy industry. I think energy's a fascinating problem: it's something we all depend on and yet have little to no choice in our consumption of it. The industry itself is incredibly inefficient and resources are poorly distributed with no real concern for the long-term impact of our choices. I learned a ton about the space at RBC but realized that my learning curve was flattening out, and that I was also sick of a desk job at a big bank. I left to take a five-month road trip across North America, touring the energy industry - coal mines, dams, oil & gas fields, wind farms, the Canadian oil sands - and started working on a book, but realized it kept taking me back to news, and how we cover big problems and engage with them as individuals. That was my biggest takeaway from the trip - everyone I met was interested in what I was doing, and wanted an easier way to keep up with important issues like energy. In much of the country, news is limited to the local paper, and the web has really opened that up. Now we just need distribution tools that are capable of taking advantage of everything we can do with the internet and apply that to news, and that's what we're working on.

As a company that plans to be a tool to help better news curation within organizations, where do you see the future of the news industry?  How do you see the intersection of tech and news/media evolving in the future?

I think the news industry will generally split along two lines: content creation, and content distribution. There will be a great variety of content creators - bloggers, slimmed down news organizations less worried about distribution, nonprofits, freelancers - and a bunch of content distribution platforms utilizing different product experiences (Flipboard, Zite, etc) and those taking content to specific audiences (people like us). Technology around content is moving at a faster pace than the media organizations can keep up with, and some may try to be acquisitive but most will just start pushing their content to more places. Those products will be responsible for monetizing that content - whether through advertising or subscription, and compensate the publisher through a rev share. That starts to look like other content areas - film, music - and that's my guess on where news is headed as well.