Eariously, a software startup based in Waterville, has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Maine Technology Institute to continue working with software design and development specialists to bring its product to market.

Eariously’s software turns digital text from websites, email, articles, PDFs and images into audio that can be listened to on a phone or laptop, according to a press release. With the MTI funding, the company will continue to work with its software design and development specialists in Houston, Madrid, Missouri, and San Francisco and test its software with hundreds of listeners. The company aims to begin selling the software publicly later this year.

A Waterville startup has created software that will enable a phone or computer user to listen to digital text. 

Founders Nick Rimsa and Brendan Barr were sharing so many articles with each other online that they didn’t have time to read them all, but they had plenty of time to listen during commutes.

Interacting with listeners as designers and instructors, they created the software in 2018, working closely with — and listening continuously to — students at colleges around the country, most notably Colby College, Thomas College and Northwest Missouri State University, to design their listening software.

“We believe the most important part of making anything is doing it with the right people,” CEO and Eariously co-creator Rimsa said in the release. “We’ve found some exceptionally talented folks from around the world who we’re humbled to have the privilege of working together with.”

After teaching a product design course in January at Colby College, Rimsa, a 2013 Colby grad, and his teammates were drawn to central Maine because of the strong relationships they had begun to forge. In addition to working closely with MTI, Eariously has relied upon SCORE for their free mentorship and workshops, the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce and the Central Maine Growth Council for their networking assistance and business development, and students and faculty from Colby College and Thomas College.

The startup is located in downtown Waterville at Bricks Coworking & Innovation Space.

RJ Anzelc, owner of Bricks, said, “This grant is a testament to their hard work thus far, while also the tip of the iceberg for what we hope the region will bring in the coming years.”

Garvan Donegan, director of planning and economic development for Central Maine Growth Council, said, “We are excited about the strength of the founders and the inventive software that is being developed by Eariously in our region.”

As the Eariously team begins to sell subscriptions, it plans to continue growing in Waterville and formalizing partnerships with institutions in the city and throughout Maine that will help distribute its software to more listeners. Readers interested in listening to Eariously can sign up for the waiting list on Eariously.com.


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