Ryan Duffy

Audio learning app 


Venture-backed by Andreessen Horowitz and acquired by Medium in 2021, Knowable was an audio-first learning platform for course creators and consumers. 

Founding team Head of Content and Partnerships Creator acquisition  Content strategy Content production Content licensing Marketing Brand strategy  Identity Design Community Newsletters Operations People Legal

Andreessen Horowitz  Upfront Ventures  Initialized Capital  First Round Capital  Mucker Capital 

Company highlights

  • Acquired by Medium in 2021 
  • 1000+ hours of content produced 
  • Hundreds of thousands of hours listened 
  • 500+ creators acquired 
  • Hundreds of thousands of dollars distributed to creators
  • Featured on ‘The Tim Ferris Show’ and ‘Armchair Expert’ podcasts

In 2019, as the e-learning and podcast industries boomed in parallel, we saw an opportunity at their intersection.
At the time, most online courses were consumed on screens. And while podcasts and audiobooks were great for casual learners, there were few options for people seeking a structured, course-like experience via audio — one that included exercises, assessments, collateral content, and other reinforcing elements common to learning environments.

We built Knowable to fill the void.

Pilot course

We started with what we know best: a startup business course led by Reddit co-founder (and Knowable investor) Alexis Ohanian. Besides audiobooks and apps like Calm and Headspace, non-ad-supported business models were relatively untested in the spoken-word audio category in 2019. To mitigate any potential consumer aversion toward paying for audio, we designed ‘Launch a Startup’ to be as comprehensive and valuable as possible — we wanted Knowable users to get more than their money’s worth: 

  • 16 lessons 
  • 6+ hours 
  • 10+ expert guest lecturers, including Everlane founder Michael Preysman, Upfront Ventures partner Greg Bettinelli, and Cooley LLP partner Peter Werner 
  • Dozens of collateral materials, including templates, guides, and glossaries 
  • 100-page companion workbook 

Evolution and expansion

Following the success of ‘Launch a Startup,’ we focused on accelerating content production and scaling the catalog with the goal of transitioning the business model from a la carte course sales to an all-in-one recurring subscription. 

As part of this growth phase, we opened up the Knowable platform to third-parties, building an application-only managed marketplace for vetted creators to publish courses, build an audience, and monetize their expertise. 

I led the creator acquisition team tasked with kickstarting the UGC marketplace. In short order, we onboarded hundreds of expert creators who went on to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars on Knowable. 

Content partnerships

Soon after opening the marketplace, creator-published courses accounted for the majority of Knowable’s supply side. As a result, we shifted our original content strategy to focus on partnerships with tentpole-level names and institutions, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), NBA superstar Chris Paul, and American astronaut Scott Kelly. 

In my role as Head of Content and Partnerships, I oversaw every step of the partnership process, including outreach, negotiation, onboarding, development, production, GTM, and beyond. 

Select Knowable projects

Daily audio lessons
Brand design    
LinkedIn Learning partnership


Knowable was acquired by Medium in 2021. In addition to my role role as Head of Growth Marketing at Medium, I oversaw day-to-day operations for Knowable, which continues on as a standalone app under the Medium umbrella.

Made in Los Angeles