Aiiooo is a social network for pets with an Asian flavor
June 18, 2012 by Terence LEE
There is an abundance of startups that are taking a stab at creating a popular social network for pets. While some, like Petizens, have folded, many others, like Uniteddogs, Pawsley, YouPet, PetZume, and Doggyspace, have yet to break out.
Perhaps the biggest one is New York startup Dogbook, started in 2007, which has 40,000 monthly active users on its Facebook app. That’s not a lot, considering the fact that there are 46 million dog owners in the US alone.
Obviously, none of the Western startups have met the stratospheric expectations of becoming a Facebook for pets. So it’s interesting that Singapore-based Aiiooo has decided to take a stab at it in 2012, when the luster of social networks have faded somewhat with Facebook’s bungled IPO.
But Aiiooo could yet succeed.
“It is shocking that there is no one social network or website that has been able to capture these all these users or keep their attention for very long,” says Eldon Heng, COO of Aiiooo, which is derived from the Mandarin phrase for loving animals.
It claims to be the world’s first “full-featured” social network for pets and pet owners.
Launched about a month ago, on 18th May, Aiiooo contains all the features you would expect from a social network, such as the ability to create a profile, upload photos of your pets, make friends, and set up play dates. There’s an educational element as well: The site offers tips about pet food, pet care, and grooming.
The most interesting aspect about Aiiooo though are the game elements. The social network will introduce a Game arena where pets can engage in “exciting battles of cuteness for delightful rewards”. Kind of like an online pet show.
Filled with little pet creatures and avatars, the social network has an Asian appeal, although Eldon says they’re aiming for a global audience. However, they are hoping to launch a Mandarin version to target the China market in two months, and follow-up with Korean and Japanese versions.
It plans to earn revenue by selling targeted ads for advertisers, business and brand pages, affiliate marketing, and in-game purchases.
They have also been conducting on-the-ground activities in Singapore, such as connecting with pet lovers at Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan‘s events. They’ll be holding a toy auction with animal lovers to raise awareness on animal welfare, pet adoption and abandonment.
The team behind Aiiooo is creative industry oriented — quite uncommon in the tech scene in Asia. The other one I know of is Feecha, a location-based discovery app with a technical and creative co-founder.
Aiiooo’s CEO, Mikael Teo, is an advertising veteran who has worked at Bates, Batey and Saatchi and Saatchi. Eldon himself is an advertising copywriter who has picked up event organizing and social media marketing along the way.
Zeng Yi, who hails from China, leads the creative team, while Vincent Wong, the lead developer, has experience in creating iPhone and flash games. A marketing manager, graphic designer, and intern round up the group.
They have already secured funding from angel investors, and are looking to raise a Series A round of S$500k (US$394) with a valuation of S$2M (US$1.57M) in the next few months.
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About The Author
Terence LEE - Editor
Terence writes mainly about technology trends and startups in Asia. He believes in crafting smart content: Not just a regurgitation of text, but well thought-out pieces that serve the reader using a combination of data, design, narratives, analysis, and visual impact. His articles have been published on Venturebeat, Yahoo!, Straits Times, Today, and The Online Citizen. He also co-founded NewNation.sg, a satirical news site covering Singapore affairs. Engage him on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Terence LEE