A few weeks ago Tech in Asia covered the series A funding round of social app Yogrt. It raised US$3 million from Centurion Private Equity and Linear Venture. I got curious about this app. How did it successfully raise that amount with only 500,000 registered users and only a 10-month track record in Indonesia?
Yogrt is the first ever app made by Kongko Digital, a Singapore-based company co-founded by Jason Lim, Roby Muhamad, Kevin, and Albern Xu. Jason has an extensive background in the tech industry. For the past decade, he was CEO of Acer Indonesia. In 2014, he quit his job to pursue a dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Roby, on the other hand, has an academic background, and holds a doctorate in sociology from Columbia University, specializing in social network dynamics..
Together, Jason and Roby are somewhat of a powerful duo when it comes to sizing up the potential of mobile apps in Indonesia. After exploring what they could do to enter the market, they zeroed in on social apps that helped bring people together based on location and interests.
“Indonesian people are collectivist. They like to make friends […]. They also like to play games. So we found [our] segment in a social network [in which we] connect people through gamification,” Jason explains.
Yogrt has two parts. The first is a geosocial component that lets you find other users based on your location. You are also able to like profiles of interesting users, with the chance to chat with them after they like you back. Jason emphasizes Yogrt is a social, not a dating app. But in my opinion this Tinder-like mechanism is clearly intended to encourage flirtatious encounters.
The second part is where games and quizzes come in. You can challenge other users to increase the chances of them liking you back. Yogrt currently has more than 20 casual games and 40 quizzes. Each time you finish a game or quiz you will see the results of other users who also played. The app also recommends profiles to look at, based on data collected when users play games.
When I sat down with Jason to test the app, I was surprised to find the games can be played easily even with an unstable wifi connection. According to Jason, this is thanks to the use of HTML5 instead of Java to develop the app and all the games inside it. He believes HTML5 speeds up the development process, so Yogrt is able to introduce new games every week.
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Monetization, Jason says, is not the priority right now. The milestone for the next 12 months is to reach five million users, which is 10 times what Yogrt has now. “Our main target is Generation Y, because [it] has difficulty in making new friends online. We found [a way] through gamification […] to get people connected, so people can interact.”
According to market research firm MarkPlus Institute, 80 million people in Indonesia can be classified as Generation Y, based on 2010 estimates. This is expected to increase to 90 million by 2030, representing one third of the total population in the archipelago.
To attract more users, Jason plans to introduce campaigns suited for the Gen-Y audience. For example, last month Yogrt partnered with Indonesia’s biggest mobile carrier, Telkomsel, to provide free data packages after users complete certain games. It also offered a photo contest with a GoPro Hero 4 camera as the main prize. This could be a good move, as data packages are considered quite expensive in Indonesia and GoPro is one of the most sought after cameras for selfies.
With US$3 million at hand, Jason says his startup is currently looking to hire talent and beef up the product, sales staff, and marketing team. After hopefully dominating the Indonesian market, he also plans to localize the app in other Southeast Asian countries like Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore.
Mixing social and games as a means to “break the ice” is not entirely new. Popular chatting apps like Line, WeChat, and Viber also have games to help people interact with each other. But Jason believes Yogrt’s social profiling based games and HTML5 technology make it unique among other apps in the category.