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    • Please join me in welcoming Harleen Kaur from for this Cake Panel. Harleen is a former NASA engineer who worked primarily on satellites and on NASA’s New Horizons project. Her work also includes being the first female, and youngest ever Vice President, for Rolls-Royce. Harleen was previously COO of Series B funded company that she grew to 25 million users. She has an MBA from INSEAD and a Masters of Science in Space Engineering.

      Harleen combines her passion for technology and extensive experience in engineering and business with the Ground brand. Harleen is the cofounder and CEO of, a news app that helps you verify and find news that’s relevant, breaking, and near you. A bit more about Ground: Ground is the only news app you'll ever need. Ground combines breaking news from over 30,000 sources, both mainstream and independent, all in one place.

      Harleen - thank you for joining us today!

      If there's a question you'd like asked that Harleen didn't have the chance to answer today, please feel free to send it to and I'll be happy to see if Harleen can respond. Thank you!

    • So tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. What inspired you and Sukh, your cofounder and brother, to tackle the issues surrounding news? When did you start the project? 

    • Thanks for having me on the panel-
      really excited! Sukh and I grew up watching, hearing and reading news.  We keenly followed events like the Gulf War,
      Bosnian War, the Berlin Wall coming down, and many other major news events. We
      always admired how journalists and the news organizations kept us informed.
      However, sometime in the last 10 years it feels like it all changed. There are
      now issues such as misinformation, disinformation, biased news and even lack of
      information. I think we now know less about what’s happening in Syria or in
      Yemen than we knew about what was happening Iraq. As an engineer, this is
      baffling to me since we have more technology than ever before that helps us
      communicate and find out what’s happening around the world. Thus, we started
      Ground around two years ago as a technical and business solution to address
      problems faced by the everyday person who wants to be able to get reliable,
      unbiased news.

    • When Ground picks up signals of breaking news through MSM or social media, we’ll send our users, who are within the geofence of the news, a notification. We’ll
      ask Ground’s users to verify or debunk the breaking news. This helps to stop
      the spread of so-called ‘fake news’. Also, unlike other popular social media
      sites such as Twitter, only users that are physically within the geofence of
      that developing story can verify/debunk the developments and add photos/videos
      to that news event. They’re providing on the ground perspective on the
      situation. We believe this will become a powerful feature for citizen
      journalists as Ground’s userbase continues to grow around the world.

    • Ground is the ONLY news app featuring news on a map. Ground’s map shows all breaking news as it happens on a hyperlocal, easy-to-navigate, interactive map that our team created. Each zoom the user chooses to make will take them to yet another layer of local news. Also, Ground’s map removes the geographical bias so users can scroll to see news from every part of the world. For example, you can read stories from Icelandic news organizations  - and we’ll even translate it for you!

      Ground’s map is a wonderful way to ‘explore’ news happening around the globe news based on your geographical interests. We put the control in our users hands so that they can review the news they want to read instead of a one-dimensional algorithm making the
      decision for them and packaging it in a conventional feed.

    • One our investors and supporter made the intro to Melissa. She was a perfect addition to the team and brings in the much needed journalism and media expertise and experience. She has over 15 yrs of experience working for the top news organizations of the world. She has been instrumental in making the much needed connections to the news industry.

    • Speaking of team - the team that works on is a diverse international team and you’ve also had a diverse initial user base while being so reachable by users.  What kind of feedback do you get from your users? The larger news community?

    • Users love Ground. :) We have more than 2,000 4.5 star reviews from our growing user base. They love the fact that
      Ground acts as a one-stop-destination for all their news needs as we aggregate
      stories from over 30,000 news sources - both independent and mainstream. Every
      news story you can read on Ground, you can trust. And when multiple news
      organizations are covering a story, we’ll neatly provide side-by-side
      narratives of those reports so users can form their own opinions.

      Here’s a review from a Google Play
      Ground user this morning: “By far the best news app I've used. I've deleted all
      of my old ones. Slick and easy to use interface. My favourite feature is
      exploring global news on the map.”

      I believe the larger news community is cautiously observing Ground. One of the big things we’re doing is launching a paid subscription. Think of us as a “Classpass for news” where
      users will pay a flat monthly fee to receive all of the news ad-free and
      paywall free. To make sure that newsrooms benefit from our subscription
      service, we’re signing revenue share partnerships with them. We have signed partnerships
      with quite a few news organizations, including Reuters, ABC ( Australia),
      Axios, Penske Media (Variety, Rolling Stone and other properties) and have many
      more partners in the pipeline. We are trying to convert the publishers still on
      the fence by convincing them that ad-supported and single subscriptions are not



    • With all of the challenges around news now, how has Ground changed over time? For example, the side-by-side story narrative feature within allows for comparison of reports and gives an opportunity for smaller news organizations to have their work featured along with much larger publications - what other unique features does Ground have?

    • The biggest change has been the
      development of Ground’s paid subscription. Interestingly enough, the idea came
      about due to inbound interest from the news organizations. A couple of months
      after launching Ground we started receiving emails from news organizations like
      ABC saying we love what you’re doing and we would like you to feature more of
      our content on Ground. This led us to study the economics of the news industry
      and the financial picture is eye-popping. Most news organizations make a penny
      — or even less — for an article read by a news consumer. Thus, we came up with
      the subscription model where we will be able to provide news organizations with
      3-5 times the revenue they’re making today and without no brand dilution from
      advertising. So please watch out for our paid subscription launching this

    • One of my colleagues wanted me to ask you: What parallels do you see, if any, between the engineering world and the business world? Are there skills you developed as an engineer that you’ve found useful in business? Are there business lessons you think engineers could learn from?

    • Very interesting question!

      I think engineering is all about
      problem solving. An engineer breaks down a complex problem and tries to find
      the best solution.

      Business is more about solutions.
      But bigger picture, it’s about how solutions to different problems come
      together. I think engineers can learn from the business world to be more flexible
      while business people can learn from engineers to strive for the best solutions
      and not compromise.


    • We aim to be THE digital news
      product of choice. We want people to start paying for news again with a
      business model and price that works for them; and in turn help with the
      sustainability of the news industry by providing small and large newsrooms all
      around the world with a sustainable revenue source.

    • The best way to stay up to date
      with Ground is to download our app. And, make
      sure you update it regularly. Our team launches new features every two weeks.
      The latest is called ‘My News Bias’ and it’s an opportunity for Ground’s users
      to see their preferences, habits and reading tendencies, such as which news
      category frequently catches their attention or which news sources they most prefer.
      I was definitely surprised by my own results!

      Here is the link for Ground’ iPhone and Android app.