21 August 2019
Yo is upgrading itself into an app that allows more than just saying "Yo" to friends. Photo:
Yo is upgrading itself into an app that allows more than just saying "Yo" to friends. Photo:

What is stoking Pony Ma’s interest in ‘Yo’ app?

Well-known “gimmick app” Yo, which lets users do nothing more than send a “Yo” greeting to their friends, last week completed its latest round of fundraising, securing US$1.5 million and taking the valuation of the three-man startup to US$10 million.

While many are still scratching their heads as to why the app has gone so red-hot within a few months, Tencent founder Pony Ma has given a vote of confidence with a US$250,000 investment in the startup. So, what did Ma see in Yo that others don’t?

The answer is “notification”.

Notification layer is going to be the first thing you notice after you unlock your smartphone. It is still a virgin land right now, so it is important to get itself landed onto the layer as soon as possible. In fact, Yo is upgrading itself, and it is sure that the app will be a lot more than just allowing “Yo” between friends.

For example, the app took advantage of the World Cup frenzy by letting users sign up to get Yo notifications when goals were scored. The function was welcomed by football fans, as they could get real-time match information even when they were at office.

Yo’s founder and designer Or Abel said the app’s application could be broad in the future. People could receive Yo notifications for pizza and other shopping deliveries, or be alerted that their laundry is ready for pick-up. What’s more, newspapers and blogs can also notify their subscribers that a new article has been published or posted.

The app has now opened its application programming interface (API) for developers to integrate the notification into the app.

Since its launch in April, the startup has seen more than 2 million downloads. Yo said users are sending more than 2 million “Yo” per day. Calling a meeting would be one of the major functions of the app.

That said, people are still generally skeptical about the chances of Yo becoming a must-have like Whatspp or Facebook.

– Contact the writer at [email protected]


EJ Insight writer

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