Private chat apps for couples are an experiment. None of them have reach the stratospheric heights of Whatsapp, KakaoTalk, and WeChat, and they won’t: Simply because they’re a niche product. The top couple app around, Between from South Korea, has just over 1,000,000 monthly active users as of March 2013, a far cry from Kakao’s 27M daily unique visitors.
As such, revenue models that work stupendously on apps like Kakao — selling emoticons and creating mobile game platforms — may not work as well for Between, Couple, and LoveByte, simply because they won’t amass the volume to make micro-transactions worth the effort.
Which brings us to LoveByte, Singapore’s very own attempt at making a couple chat app. Relatively late to the game, team has managed to gain early traction despite being waved off by investors, and it recently surpassed 100,000 downloads, out of which 37 percent are active monthly and another 25 percent are using the app weekly. Read more
LoveByte is spurned no more. After receiving little love from investors, the startup, which has developed a private social network for lovers, received a 6-figure seed funding from Crystal Horse Investments and Ruvento Ventures.
The investment, announced by the startup today, was made as part of i.JAM Reload, a Singapore government co-investment scheme. Wish Ronquillo, creative director at mig33, has come on board as LoveByte’s advisor. The funds will be used to accelerate the startup’s operations and growth in the next six to nine months. With over 20,000 users already, the investment would go some way towards paying for server costs, and more besides.
Steve Sng, founder of LoveByte, noted the support of incubator space Plug-In@Blk71 while his team was bootstrapping. It provided hot desks, a supportive and helpful community, as well as open pitch sessions for startups.
As part of Google for Entrepreneurs Week, held on 23-29 September 2012, Google Singapore is holding a varsity challenge where students aim to solve real-life challenges based on those faced by Singapore startups GoMyWay and LoveByte.
The case competition, to be held on 29 September, will involve 20 teams from 3 local universities: SMU, NUS, and NTU. Participants will be judged on creativity, coherence, and presentation of their proposals. Read more
Update (23rd August, 1:53pm): Steve has told us that they have surpassed 20,000 downloads
As a startup that’s all about strengthening relationships, LoveByte certainly didn’t get much affection from investors. Few thought that there was a need for another private social network for lovers, and those few didn’t believe in it enough to put their money where their mouth is.
But the app went on to get 20,000 downloads in just under 3 weeks, an impressive figure by any standard. It topped the Lifestyle category in the Singapore App Store for days, breaking into the Top 25 overall to beat popular apps like WeChat and Instagram.
The journey for Steve Sng, who thought of the idea, had been rough.
As a Founder Institute (FI) Singapore student, he pitched LoveByte to FI founder Adeo Ressi, who was unimpressed by it. He said that the market is too small and challenged him with the question of how to get a million users. Read more