The state of television has changed dramatically over the last few years. It’s not that we’re watching less than before, but we’re watching differently. Between 2011 and 2016, millennial consumption of traditional TV programming dropped by a staggering 40%, and in 2015 alone, cable companies lost 1.1 million subscribers. People are ditching cable for cheaper, mobile, convenient services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. As the prevalence and quantity of subscription-based services rises rapidly, it can be difficult for the modern consumer to keep track of their programs. That’s why StreamSavvy in Columbus, Ohio, created a central hub—a TV Guide for streaming—made for streaming audiences.
“These streaming services are supposed to make things simpler for the consumer. They don’t lock you into restrictive contracts, and they offer a ton of great content you can view at your convenience,” said Chris Kessler, co-founder and CEO of StreamSavvy. “The problem is, there are a ton of them now, and finding what you want to watch can take more time than it’s worth. Our software pulls info from over 300 streaming apps like SlingTV, Hulu, Netflix and Playstation Vue to give users a comprehensive guide. This cuts out all the inconvenience and gets them to their programs a lot quicker.”
Kessler came up with the idea for StreamSavvy after dealing with disappointment from a cable contract he locked into while at The Ohio State University, where he studied business. He felt he was paying a lot and getting very little, so he considered whether he could go cable-free. That’s when he realized the issue wasn’t the lack of programming available, but rather the inability to search from one central location across several streaming platforms. He teamed up with co-founder and CTO Carl Lewis to form this streaming simplification startup.
The pair graduated from the Brandery in Cincinnati in July 2016, a southwest Ohio regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier and nationally-ranked accelerator program. There, they hashed out their concept with the Brandery’s network of entrepreneurs, met investors, further built their technology, and developed design and branding materials with the help of a top advertising agency. The four-month program inspired Kessler and Lewis to push harder to make StreamSavvy a success.
“Just being around so many driven entrepreneurs every day lit a fire under us. The network at the Brandery is huge, and there are so many successes that have come through the program,” said Kessler. “When you surround yourself with driven, like-minded people, it’s hard not to be inspired to hustle and make something of your idea. It keeps you focused on success.”
The co-founders are proud of what they’ve built and are hoping to sell their technology to expand its reach. Kessler’s entrepreneurial spirit is as strong as ever, and he’s already working to build his next startup, Vest.
“Big entrepreneurial wins are what fuel the startup ecosystem, and we want to be one of those wins,” said Kessler. “The community in Ohio has been so supportive in helping us get off the ground and succeed, and we want to give back indirectly by showing everyone it can be done here, and these resources really work.”