15. May 2014–
Enter with us the world of Communikite. Instead of buildings, streets and cars, Communikite’s world is one giant park filled with kites that allow people to put their offers on display. This is only a simple explanation of the ambitious user experience Communikite hopes to deliver with its app.
From the outside, Communikite is a location-based classifieds app for mobile. Users can fly a kite to advertise an offering or explore already existing kites to find and discover what they are looking for.
We sat down with Co-founder of Communikite Asaf Siman-Tov to discover his vision for the app, and why he thinks Communikite will change the way we search for what we need.
Who are you and what are you doing?
My name is Asaf, and I was born in Israel. I am here in Berlin for almost two years and, since April last year, I have been working on Communikite. This is an app that is a location-based classifieds platform. We are adding an extra layer to our physical environment, where people can launch messages and interact with each other without having buildings to block the view.
How did you come across your idea?
It started when I was living in Tanzania. I realized that there is not really a way for the people to communicate with each other. There are many different platforms, but there was not really one platform that really opens everything for you and what is around you. So, for example, in Tanzania when there were elections, it was a big problem to announce to the people that live in the villages and even further away that there was an election coming. I initiated a project, where we used SMS, since smartphones are very rare there. You register to a group and, whenever the group sends out a message, everyone that is registered to this group is receiving it. This is, in a way, a location-based platform but very basic.
This was the main idea. That we could find a way to shout and people in area could hear us. This is how we can up with Communikite.
In Berlin, when my wife and I arrived, we were new to this city. We had our son and, in the winter, we didn’t have a network, and we didn’t meet other parents. This when Communikite really started to take shape. I could just fly a kite, and say, “Hi, I have a child who would like to meet other kids”. At that time I met Franck Gotthold, the other Co-founder of Communikite, and we started working on the app together.
Who are you targeting with your app?
We look at it as a platform for families and individuals to use. We look at it as a platform for service providers: I am a PC technician. I am cleaner. These types of things. We also don’t see why businesses wouldn’t use it. If they have a special offer, instead of putting flyers in everybody’s mailboxes, they could just fly a kite. This is a way to advertise local, special offers. If you are at a party, you can fly a kite above this party and people outside can comment on it, and ask if the party if worth €15.
Communikite was launched about one month ago and is available for download in Germany, Austria, Israel and Australia. What have been your results since the launch?
Releasing the app opened a lot of doors for us and also helped us to validate many things. Since the release we managed to get approximately 350 downloads, and we see the numbers of new users and activity growing every day. In parallel, we are working on new features that will help us reach a greater audience and improve our results.
How are most people using your app since the launch?
So far, we’ve seen some interesting usages of the app. Mostly for sell / give free stuff however, some exciting activity also took place. The app was used during a demonstration in Israel where some participants coordinated their moves through the app. Seeing it happening in real time was really nice!
There are plenty of classified platforms to choose from already. What makes Communikite unique?
We are dedicated to mobile. Most of the other services are focused on web. Web is good, but it is less spontaneous. And when the web services are squeezed into mobile, usually it is not very good. It is not functioning well even if they have a dedicated app. This is built for mobile. Wherever you are, you can see what is happening.
Point number two is the user interface. We are not using maps. We are not using lists. Our app looks totally different from other apps. It is fun to use, especially later when we will start using animations.
Third is the privacy. We are doing whatever we can to keep it private. It is a strong element for us, especially now when you see what is happening with Facebook and WhatsApp. Privacy is starting to become an issue worldwide, and we hope to offer something that is different. We care about the privacy, since the internet doesn’t forget anything.
What is your business model?
We hope that in the future when we have enough users we will be able to sell in-app purchases, for example, special kites. If I own a shop and there are five other shops that sell what I sell, we can provide animated kites. If I am a yoga teacher, my icon could be practicing yoga.
Who is financing you?
Since we released the app and people saw it live, we started receiving offers from investors. We are about to sign with an angel investor and hopefully by the end of next week we will receive our seed investment. With this investment, we will bring the app to the next level and start doing proper marketing.
What advice would you give to other startups?
There is a lot of talent out there, and there are people who say “yes” more often then you can imagine. People say “yes”, so be positive.