Superstar Rajinikanth had a busy Monday picking up an award and voice launching his daughter’s new venture. The matinee idol, who was conferred with the 51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award, used his voice powerfully to broadcast the arrival of hoote, a social audio platform founded by his daughter Soundarya along with serial entrepreneur Sunny Pokala.

“I am very happy to launch this innovative, useful and the first of its kind ‘hoote app’ in my voice. Now, people who cannot read or write can also share their knowledge or express their views on social media in their own voice and language,” Rajinikanth said in his first post on the social audio platform.

He followed it with another voice post dedicating his Dadasaheb Phalke Award to his mentor and director K Balachander, elder brother Satyanarayana Gaikwad and his friend and bus driver, Raj Bahadur.

Multilingual app

Developed by New York and Chennai-based Amtex Systems Inc, hoote allows users to record an audio message for up to 60 seconds and share it. The voice-based social media app will be available in 15 native languages including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Sanskrit, besides 10 international languages.

Being multilingual, the platform is aiming to attract users from Tier-2 and -3 cities. Noting that the platform will ‘rehumanise’ the social media experience, Soundarya said while texts do not carry any emotions, spoken word does.

The launch of hoote comes at a time when global social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are increasing their investment in audio initiatives. The social audio network is already loud with competition among players like Clubhouse, Twitter’s ‘Spaces’, ‘Spotify’s Greenroom and Facebook’s ‘Live Audio rooms’, which is currently available only in the US.

However, Soundarya says hoote — available both on Android and iOS — is different from Clubhouse or Twitter Space where one needs an invite to join a chat group or room. She said just like how a user puts out a tweet on Twitter, here they can simply record an audio and post it.

Cinematic experience

She added that users will also have an option to add background music and images to their voice messages to give a new cinematic experience. “We are also working on launching audio teasers and trailers on this platform and some of the producers we spoke to are already excited about it,” she added.

The platform has roped in Freshworks founder and CEO Girish Mathrubootham as one of the advisors. Arvind Parthasarathi, a tech entrepreneur at Silicon Valley and the founder of Project Crosswords, is another advisor to the platform.