An Interaction With Niyati Merchant, Co-Founder Arré

Arré has announced “Project Voice”, a women-first audio app aimed at building a new generation of creators. The app (beta version) is currently live on the Play Store and open on an invitation basis to women and anyone who identifies as a woman. Having started in Hindi, Tamil and English, the product will soon offer multiple Indian & global language options of creating audio content. It is the brain child of Ms Niyati Merchant who is co-founder of Arré.


  • What is the idea behind ‘Project Voice’?

Project Arré Voice was conceptualized and developed during the challenging times of Covid, with the objective of disrupting the ecosystem for women creators and potential women entrepreneurs. The pandemic provided us with the opportunity to create something earlier than we perhaps expected to. During the pandemic, we saw women taking charge of their personal and professional lives in various tiers and geographies of the world. This is what inspired us to build a platform to tap into this powerful narrative that women are spearheading towards redefining the social, cultural, and economic fabric of the world, with tools and products that enable women to express, entertain and earn from their skills, passions and interest areas. The online world mirrors the offline world in terms of safety and available opportunities for women. Through this product we aim to invert the rules of the offline world and hopefully create a safe space for women to thrive. 


  • What are some unique features of the app that makes it different from the other apps?

Project Arré Voice is India’s first voice app for women (and those who identify as woman), empowering anyone to be a creator in the easiest and quickest way possible, through the idiom of a simple 30 second Voicepod – raw or edited, as per how women would like to present themselves. All one needs is a smartphone and their own voice. We provide the tools to enable a seamless creation and listening experience – a creator studio with background music options, voice filters, editing options and more. These are in continuous evolution basis live feedback we are getting from the women creators on the app. There are thousands of voice creations from poetry and music to self-help, language lessons, storytelling and even the sharing of personal and intimate experiences in the realm of mental wellness, relationships, child-rearing and other topics that thrive in a supportive community. Users can explore various trending topics around the world in the “explore option”. What also makes it unique is its ability to offer creation possibilities in recorded and gamified live and live-group modes, jampods, where women can meet in private or public spaces to talk or listen in. This audio experience has been designed by Ankur Tewari and Ayesha Sood, along with Jam8.

  • How will the app empower women?

‘Project Arré Voice’ has been created with the objective of empowering women emotionally, creatively, financially. She is free to use the tools and product features offered by the app in a way that best meets her needs, since we offer interest-based communities and creation opportunities (across a variety of categories ranging from music to mainstream entertainment to mental wellness to nutrition to relationships and many more) For e.g. She may choose to come and listen to other voices that have similar experiences and interests or create content that she wishes to put out – it could be a fictional story, a personal experience, a tarot reading, a series on learning english through 30 second voice pods, to sing a cover version of a song. We will soon be following this up with the introduction of monetization tools to enable them to earn from their skill sets and passion projects that are showcased on the app. These will range from advertising and brand deals, to tipping to social commerce. 

  • The app is introduced as a women specific app, so why do you plan to include all the genders in future? 

It’s a women-first app, which means that the constitution of this world is written by women, but all genders are cordially invited. We don’t believe that men and other genders should be left out of the conversation. Women should be able to put their voice and talent out there for all genders to consume and experience in a truly equitable and democratic world. But this is an evolving process for us in terms of moderation and community guidelines and therefore, the app is currently inviting women only, with the idea of using their support in building this constitution through processes and technology that allows for all genders with equitable rights and privileges of expression. 

  • How will Project Voice benefit and empower the creator economy? 

Through Arré Reads and Arré Studio (our essays and studio verticals) we work with semi-pro and seasoned artists to create professional content. Arré Voice aims to start this process and journey right at the beginning of the creator value chain, by providing tools and technology to enable anyone with potential talent, intent, passion and skills to be a pro-creator, who can eventually find opportunities to monetise their talent on our outside the app.  

Our audio app is aimed at empowering an entire new generation of women content creators by providing them simple and effective tools to enable them to put their voice out and subsequently professional tools that enable them to create content of professional quality along with storefront options that will allow for monetisation. 

The audio medium, we believe, is not only a superset medium when it comes to talent discovery, but is also the medium for easiest creation, given that it takes very little (approx. 90-120 seconds to create a 30 second voicepod) to become a creator. 

Our audio app is inviting creators from a host of interest areas – not just music and mainstream entertainment, but also from cohorts of storytellers, language specialists, therapists, tarot card readers, doctors, women entrepreneurs from various backgrounds, etc. thereby opening up a whole new world of potential creators. 

  • As the app is currently available in English, Hindi, and Tamil, have you created content catering to audiences in specific geographic locations? 

We have started with these languages, but we will be rolling out the rest soon. We aim to reflect the diversity, not just India but the global village we have come to inhabit – whether at a language or dialect or interest level.  

Currently, women creators have started creating their own content in their regional languages available on the app, discoverable via hashtags and interest filters. From discussing South Indian movies to talking about mental health, taboo topics and storytelling, women creators are creating a varied mix of content in the language of their choice.  

We hope to bring women across geographies, social segments, and interests – whether it’s a group of women passionate about theater or K-Pop or learning a new language or a group of girl trekkers or women skaters or even young mothers. Our platform aspires to give a voice to everyone – whether they are well-read, minimally literate, or even those unable to read so they can share their thoughts and ideas to a community to listen and engage.

  • When will the app be available for non-android users?

Yes, the app will be available for IOS users in a month’s time. 

  • What are your future plans?

The app is currently inviting women and anyone who identifies as a woman. We are constantly updating product features and frameworks to strengthen safety and community rules, based on real time feedback from women on the app. We will soon be rolling out access to the platform, to other genders, with equal rights of consumption and creation, while striving for a safe online world for true expression. The app is currently available for Android users and is accessible by invitation only, but it will soon be available on iOS. We have started with women creators in Hindi, English and Tamil but more languages to come soon. We plan to add several new features to enhance the creation and listening experience, showcasing of talent and skill sets and moving towards monetization of content created by the women creators across brands, creator-led transactions and commerce.