The real story: Food journal app Burpple sees about 8x growth in monthly activity since launch
February 6, 2013 by Terence LEE
The food journaling startup — pretty much the media darling of Singapore’s tech scene — has received widespread news coverage ever since its unveiling.
But while the Android app launch was interesting from a consumer’s perspective, it wasn’t the only significant development. Of all the coverage so far, the article that was closest to getting the full picture was penned by Aulia Masna of Indonesia’s DailySocial, who emphasized the fact that Burpple has doubled its user growth in two months.
The startup did mention in its media announcement that it has accumulated 300k ‘food moments’ — or journal entries — and is seeing usage in 140 countries. These figures are up from November 2012, where the app received 150k food moments in 115 countries.
But cumulative food moments still doesn’t give an accurate picture of a startup’s traction. That’s because a useless app receiving a massive spike in usage after being TechCrunched might have the same cumulative activity as an app that’s under the radar but has a loyal user base.
So, to get a more accurate representation of Burpple’s growth trajectory, we need to figure out the app’s monthly usage based on available information. Fortunately, we have enough data points to make a reasonable estimate. Using a starting point of 10,000 food moments logged in the first month after the app’s public launch ( data supplied by Burpple), here’s what we have:
Based on the graph, we can reasonably say that Burpple has registered roughly 78,000 food moments in January, give or take a few thousand. That would mean about 8x growth in monthly user activity since June 2012.
There’s clearly more room for growth. In Asia, SnapDish seems to be ahead at the moment with 1.9M in total photo posts so far. Burpple can certainly catch up. It has over USD 500K in seed funding to work with, and I’m pretty sure the Android app will give the startup a much-needed boost in user activity.
As a niche social network, it definitely has a lower upper limit in terms of growth compared to catch-all websites like Facebook and Twitter. Foodspotting, an equivalent app , was sold to OpenTable for USD 10M, not outstanding by Silicon Valley standards. The app has a database of about 3 million food photos, giving Burpple and SnapDish an indication of where they stand by comparison.
The interesting part will come when Burpple tries to figure out monetization. At its current level, relying on advertising alone will not be enough to make a profit. The company will probably need to be more innovative than that.
Whether or not Burpple can successfully monetize or exit would be the most fascinating story of all.
Burpple offers a way for users to remember, organize and explore food moments with friends. Its mobile app enables people to remember special dinner dates, share home-cooked creations, explore what’s good in places and organize these finds.View profile: Burpple More articles: Burpple
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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