9. July 2012–
New Berlin app development company Loui is off to a roaring start with Gabi, a personal analytics tool to help you pull out the Facebook content you care about. After its release in June for iOS, Gabi made several countries' number two spot in the App Store - at $0.99 a pop - and picked up hype from the likes of TechCrunch and the Wall Street Journal.
Gabi's main grid interface is split into three lines: brown for recent updates, red for your personal bests (most liked posts etc) and blue for your friends. Tap the plus sign next to each and you can use a question generator to start drilling down: "Which of my pictures are most liked?" "Who are my single girl friends?" "Which of my friends shares my musical tastes?" "Which are my friends' most liked book recommendations?" and so on, with nearly 100 question combinations available so far.
It's a fun, beautifully-designed way to browse the hot posts of the day, week or whenever, and find out more about the people in your network, though possibly only really useful to those with more friends than they know what to do with (which, let's face it, is quite a few of us).
The results can be tagged and posted into your Facebook timeline, and you can comment and like posts and browse comments without leaving the app.
The only real criticism so far seems to be that Gabi isn't available for desktop: we asked co-founder Stefanie Hoffmann why the team chose to go mobile first (hint: Facebook usage statistics) and what they'll be releasing next. First, though, how it all got started...
How did you and co-founder Gabriel Palomino meet?
We met at aki-aki, where I was CEO and Gabriel was CTO. We found ourselves working with each other in our spare time, dreaming up new products. It made sense that we'd become co-founders next.
When did idea for Gabi spark?
We wanted to reinvent Facebook. To make people fall back in love with it, by giving users a new way to visualize and interact with it. Technical development is done by Gabriel and two other developers on board the six-person team.
What's behind the name Gabi?
Originally the name of the app was loui, which stands for language oriented user interface, a technically descriptive way of naming our app. One of our team members came up with Gabi and it kind of stuck. Gabi is personal, cross-cultural, and ‘gab’ means, of course, a casual, endless way of talking. It makes perfect sense for the product.
Why did you decide to go mobile first?
Most of our friends are checking Facebook on the U-Bahn, at cafes, and at the gym. It's not a web-based experience anymore. We wanted Gabi to be the app you browse, checking back in frequently to access the best Facebook content quickly and immediately. Mobile made the most sense for this.
What's next for Gabi?
Beyond iOS the next step is an iPad version, so that our users will be able to interact with Gabi even more. Then we plan to develop Gabi for Android, but only afterwards. We are a small team and we have to focus.
"The more you use Gabi, the more questions you get. The app evolves with you and your social network. It gets to know what you like." Can you explain this a bit more?
Although we can easily implement nearly any question you have about your social network, on the first version, we decided to release just about 100 question combinations. Believe it or not, it was hard to narrow down to these. But we wanted the app to grow with user reactions.
The more you use Gabi, the more content it has from your Facebook to use in answering your questions and filtering content. When you sign on for the first time, it can tell you the best content from the past week. Once you use it for a few weeks, it has a lot more depth to go on.
Gabi seems to have big potential for business use as well as personal use. Can people use the app for their Facebook pages as well as for their personal logins?
Pages is something that seems interesting for some users, so we’re considering it! Among other features.
How are you guys funded so far?
So far, it's privately funded by the co-founders.
Does your business model include selling data to other companies as well as charging for the app?
We can not sell any data to other companies, because first of all we don't have anything to sell. Gabi is only running in your device so we don't have any data. Nothing is stored from our side. As a second point, our business model is and will be based in selling content, as a paid app or alternatively, by selling content inside the application (in App Purchase).
Where do you see Loui Apps at the end of this year?
Over the course of this year and next, Loui Apps will establish itself as an iOS developer that produces high quality apps. Most importantly, Loui Apps will be positioned as a company that innovates with each app it publishes.
Disclaimer: VentureVillage's Marguerite Imbert likes Gabi so much she's handling communications for them. The rest of us decided on how and whether to cover it.