On October 6th, 2010, a man named Kevin Systrom released an app. It allowed you to post pictures for everyone to see. He sent it to tech influencers to have them review it, and this resulted in 25,000 user downloads within 24 hours. By the third week, it had 300,000 users. Then, he sold the app to Facebook in 2012 for 1 billion dollars, when the app had grown to 30 million users.
The app I’m talking about is Instagram. It has had one of the most successful launch stories in the history of smartphone applications. It’s now become more than just a tool for sharing pictures. There are currently over 25 million businesses active on Instagram. People also make a living by advertising to their follower base.
Instagram is a perfect example of why your startup needs a mobile app. I’m not saying that your release will be as successful as that of Systrom’s baby, but apps have a very important role in the new age of technology.
My name is David N. Sharifi, Esq., and I’m a technology and trademark lawyer at L.A. Tech Media & Law. I deal with all kinds of aspects of the tech industry, and I see developments first hand due to the nature of my work. I handle clients with startups all the time, and every day I take more notice of the importance of having a mobile app for your business. Apps aren’t just for large companies anymore – startups and mid-size businesses are also developing them. Let’s take a look at 3 reasons why your startup should have an app:
Consumers tend to place more trust in a business that has its own app. It shows that you are up to date and innovative. Of course, the app doesn’t have to be directly related to marketing. If it adds a little more to the consumer’s life, you’re well on your way to building your brand.
As an example, Kraft has their own app which teaches people cooking recipes. They use the app as a tool that helps consumers on a daily basis. There’s no need to market anything because the clients are made aware of the brand every time they scroll through their phones to find new cooking tips.
Alright, so if you’re planning on using your app as a marketing tool, go for it. But, make sure not to overdo the push notifications, otherwise, you’ll alienate your customers. It’s nice to receive a sale notification on my phone every now and then. However, it can be a bother when I’m waiting for an important text, and I unlock my phone only to see an advertisement.
Smartphones are with us all the time. Not only that, but young adults spend about 5 hours per day on average using their smartphones. Billboards and subway ads are a thing of the past. It’s time to start using mobile devices as an effective marketing strategy. You can showcase your products, promote deals, and have polls to receive feedback.
People have short attention spans. Most of the complaints I hear about when dealing with customer support are the long wait times to reach a representative. We want ease of access and simplicity. What better way than to have an app that allows your client base to immediately get in touch with you?
Customers will be inclined to engage with your brand more if it’s as easy as tapping it from their home screen. Apps also have a tendency to be easier to navigate than websites. If you make your app user-friendly, more people will interact with it and prefer it over the website itself.
In my case, I prefer having all my bank transactions done from the bank app instead of going on a computer to navigate their web page. All the options are on my phone, easy to use, and my transactions are quickly completed from the palm of my hand.
Those are the top 3 reasons you need to have an app for your startup. We live in an age of technology. Younger generations are fully immersed in their devices and social media, so it’s important for you to tap into that market.
What other reasons can you think of for the importance of apps in startup businesses? Let me know in the comments!
Snapcart Offline Shopper funding of US10 Million Dollars
Snapcart, the real-time offline shopper and consumer insights startup, late last month closed a USD10 million series A funding from several investors, which include Kickstart Ventures, the wholly-owned venture capital company of Globe Telecom.
The amount, which is significant for a data B2B startup, would be used to advance further Snapcart’s AI-based OCR technology, as well as expand its operations and teams in the Philippines and Indonesia, where it currently operates. Snapcart is pushing to widen its market to include other Southeast Asian countries.
“A sizable amount of the fund will be used to further enhance our product’s proposition. Given our unique organization structure, where our Data Science team is based in Manila, we would ultimately ramp up the Philippines organization,” says Teresa Condicion, co-founder and chief data & operations officer of Snapcart.
Condicion added: “The participation of Kickstart in our Series A fund-raising will definitely boost our business development efforts in the country as well, given their vast network.”
Snapcart is the 34th firm to receive funding from Kickstart, which invests in digital startups globally. It is Kickstart’s second portfolio company from Indonesia.
“Kickstart supports entrepreneurs and accelerates the growth of new businesses in the digital technology space. It is co-creating a dynamic innovation ecosystem in the Southeast Asian region, and helping to promote partnerships between startups and large enterprises. Snapcart has an excellent founding team, possibly the most diverse we’ve seen at this stage. The product is innovative and robust, and the business model demonstrates good traction as can be seen from its A-list corporate clients. We believe in what Snapcart offers and we’re thrilled to support its growth,” said Minette Navarrete, Kickstart President.
The Series A round was led by Vickers Ventures Partners, with participation from Social Capital and Endeavor Catalyst. Existing investors also followed on like Wavemaker Partners and SPH Ventures.
Snapcart previously closed a USD3 million pre-series A round in early 2017.
Launched in September 2015, the app has over 700,000 users and is collaborating with more than 75 FMCG brands across the region such as Unilever, L’Oreal, Unilab, and Nestlé.
Singtel Group’s Go Ignite Opens Doors to Philippine Startups
The most promising local growth startups working on solutions in the Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, content delivery, cyber security, or customer experience enhancement space have a huge new opportunity to scale their business through Go Ignite, the recently-announced innovation alliance of the Singtel Group with its European counterparts.
The alliance, composed of the innovation arms of Deutsche Telekom (hub:raum), Orange (Orange Fab), Singtel (Singtel Innov8), and Telefónica (Telefónica Open Future), offers to help top startups in the Philippines and abroad find business development opportunities, accelerate the commercialization of their innovations and bring their business outside their home market. Up to five innovative startups will be selected for the program: the global call for startups to apply will be open until 11:59PM CET on April 30, 2016. Applications are submitted via the Telefonica Open Future platform. Shortlisted startups will be invited to pitch to the Go Ignite Alliance members.
“We are thrilled to see developments like Go Ignite giving Philippine startups a path to penetrating the global market. Through the collective resources of these four major global carriers, any startup shortlisted to the top five would have a wealth of opportunities and services to help them accelerate their global growth aspirations,” said Minette Navarrete, President of Kickstart Ventures, Inc., a wholly-owned venture capital firm of Globe Telecom which is also a part of the Singtel Group.
Kickstart is a founding member of Singtel Group’s Innov8 Sparks, a network of technology startup support and funding initiatives. Kickstart helps startups by breaking down barriers that prevent founders from accessing capital, mentors, and markets. The VC firm’s network of business connections build virtual bridges to enable close and relevant engagement between the business community and startup founders.
To translate their ideas into viable solutions quicker, selected startups will benefit from the alliance members’ insights into different markets, introductions to partners, use of co-working spaces, potential investment, coaching, mentoring, invitations to showcases and events, and access to the alliance members’ operating businesses. They will also have the opportunity to gain access to Go Ignite alliance members’ business units and their collective customer base, which includes enterprises and consumers, equating to over one billion mobile customers across five continents.
Edgar Hardless, Chief Executive Officer, Singtel Innov8, said: “The Go Ignite alliance helps startups succeed in multiple markets by providing them with the right resources that are critical for their commercialization. Selected startups can expect access to the alliance’s business units and refine their solutions within a sizeable customer base. Combining our resources together, the Go Ignite programme can give startups a better chance to scale across markets worldwide.”
Interested startups can apply via ; deadline for applications is . To be eligible for the Go Ignite Global Call, all members of the startup should be above the age of 18. The startups are expected to be in their growth stage with a ready product that can be taken to ecosystems across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. Interested parties may find out more about the Go Ignite global call by visiting http://go-ignite.com.
E-learning Startup Quipper launches in Cebu, eyes partnerships with schools transitioning to K-12
With the full implementation of the K-12 program this June with onset of the additional 2-year senior high school program, an education technology company out to improve the teaching and learning experience is now offering its services in Cebu.
Yuki Naotori, Country Manager of Quipper, said the launching at Tisa Elementary School, which is plagued by many of the same challenges besetting high schools nationwide, exemplifies the company’s vision for a world where everyone has easy access to quality education.
“This year is a pivotal one for Philippine education, with an estimated 1.2 to 1.6 million students beginning grade 11 in June. By providing excellent, K-12 aligned content on a platform that helps teachers streamline their teaching methods and class management while simultaneously providing students with an engaging yet effective learning experience, we hope to make this transition easier for both public and private schools in Cebu and the rest of the country,” said Naotori.
To access the platform and content, teachers need to sign up at school.quipper.com, register their school, then invite their students to create accounts and join their class. Once students have signed-in, teachers can send assignments or exams and communicate with students via the platform’s messaging system. Educators are also able to upload their own content and access analytics on their students’ performance. The platform is gamified, so students get instant feedback upon answering, and earn ‘coins’ for correct answers, which they can use to ‘buy’ desktop wallpaper for their Quipper account. The use of Quipper School and all its features is free of charge.
Founded by Masayuki Watanabe in London in 2010, Quipper is a member of the global conglomerate Recruit Holdings, which consists of 162 consolidated subsidiaries and generates $13 billion in annual sales. It opened its Makati office in the Philippines in 2014.
Today, Quipper is eyeing local partnerships with schools in Cebu City and Cebu Province.
“We are currently partnered with 33 DepEd divisions and 310 schools nationwide. Through these partnerships, we’ve provided much-needed assistance to schools aiming to create the most effective learning environment for 21st century learners,” said Quipper’s Country Manager.
Quipper’s efforts are bolstered by the preliminary research findings of a commissioned study suggesting that students with consistent or even intermittent exposure to Quipper School are more likely to gain better scores, higher passing rates, and higher attendance rates.
Dr. Ferdinand Pitagan of the University of the Philippines conducted the said research in a sample of 4 schools representing each DepEd district in the National Capital Region (NCR). Three Grade 7 Math classes for each school with different levels of exposure to Quipper School took part in the study.
To help schools implement Senior High School, Quipper will be offering the following content for Grade 11 starting June 2016: Oral Communication, Reading and Writing, 21st Century Literature from the Philippines and the World, Komunikasyon at Pananaliksik sa Wika at Kulturang Filipino, Pagbasa at Pagsusuri ng Iba’t Ibang Teksto Tungo sa Pananaliksik, General Mathematics, Statistics and Probability, Earth and Life Science, Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics.
As part of its preparations for senior high school, Quipper is also planning to launch a premium video service at the beginning of school year 2016-2017 to provide more comprehensive content and an improved learning experience for Grade 10 and 11 students.
As of September 2015, almost one million students in the Philippines, majority of which are from public high schools in the NCR, are registered with Quipper School.
Over 1,400 schools from 165 divisions nationwide are using Quipper, including Dagupan City, Legazpi City, Lucena City, Cavite, Mountain Province, and Nueva Vizcaya outside of the NCR as well as Bacolod, Dumaguete, and Silay City in the Visayas, and Tandag, Iligan and Zamboanga in Mindanao.
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