By LAURA LOREK
Reporter with Silicon Hills News
And now they’ve got a place to go to seek out answers.
Shawn Bose and Justin Halloran recently launched Deily.org, an online community focused on religion. It’s not aimed at a single religion but encompasses all of them. Its members include clergy and leaders of religious communities, scholars and academics in the field of religious studies, and lay people, both devout and curious.
The site’s content includes canonical texts, sermons, prayers, hymns, podcasts, videos, pictures and more.
The name is a mashup of the root Latin word “dei,” meaning related to God and the word daily.Halloran and Bose came up with the idea for the site when they were brainstorming ideas for their next venture. Bose previously co-founded UShip and grew it into a global corporation with three million members and 200 employees. Halloran contributed to the early success of eBay, HomeAway, RetailMeNot, and Portico, where he was CEO.
They wanted to build a large-scale platform online to serve an under-served community.
“We thought what hasn’t been done?” Bose said. “Most things have already been done.”
But what struck them was one site didn’t exist online as a single platform to find information on all of the world’s religions, Bose said. So they decided to create one.
The religious information online is highly fragmented into niche sites, Bose said. Some are quite good, he said. But there isn’t a one-stop site to find all the world’s religious content until Deily, he said.They created Deily to be an interactive experience for users to engage with one another to aggregate and share content and knowledge. It also allows organizations to extend their reach and receive donations from all over the world. Deily makes money by taking a percentage of each donation made through its site, Bose said.
“Really at its core we’ve identified a community of people that have trouble getting their content out there,” Bose said.
Bose and Halloran raised a seed-stage round of investment from “friends and family.” Those investors included Charles Attal, Charlie Jones and Charlie Walker, co-founders of C3 Presents, which produces Austin City Limits Music Festival. Other investors included Thomas Ball, general partner of Austin Ventures, Tom Borders, co-founder and former CEO of Borders Books Shop and current president of Midtown Group and Brian Sharples, co-founder and CEO of HomeAway, the world’s largest online marketplace of vacation rentals.
“Deily represents a bold and innovative effort to bring information about all major religions to a single platform,” Sharples said in a statement. “This is an ambitious project that requires a highly experienced team with a strong commitment to quality and authenticity of content. The Deily team has the vision and technology expertise to make this a de facto global platform for understanding and discussing the important topic of religion.”
“It’s kind of amazing this hasn’t been done before,” Bose said.
“Essentially it’s religion on demand, when you want it, personalized and asynchronous.”
Deily has eight employees in Austin and four outside developers in Ukraine. The site officially launched the first week in December.
“Everyday we’re getting new users,” Bose said.
Using this to answer the big questions in their lives. Why are we here? Why do bad things happen to good people?
Bose studied religion as an undergraduate. He also lived in India. And he volunteered for two of Mother Teresa’s missions.
“This project is one that is close to my heart,” he said.
Bose grew up practicing the Hindu religion. His wife is an Episcopalian.
“My own personal religiosity is one of faith,” Bose said. “It allows me to continue to learn and understand.”