TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon winner Hiboo steps up

Hackathon winners sometimes flatter to deceive, but Hiboo, the messaging company that won the 2014 TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon in London, has launched its first completed product in the App Store.

disruptAvailable since the end of January, its messaging app lets users see what their friends are typing while they’re typing, which the company says means they can communicate at the ‘speed of thought’. It also means that friends can’t edit their thoughts; you can see every word. It’s the end of ellipsis as we knew it.

In 2014, Hiboo won out of a field of more than 750 developers who took part in the TechCrunch hackathon. The beta version was launched at the Dublin Websummit in Nov 2015 and is now available for download. Its launch comes at a time when the messaging industry is becoming more niche and private (if reading through your friends’ thoughts can be described as private).

Other companies such as Palringo concentrate on games as a way of engaging their customer base while WeChat, Line, Kik, KakaoTalk, Reel Messenger and Wire are all interesting chat networks that are at various stages of development.

Hiboo is the newcomer on the block that will attempt to build user acquisition as quickly as possible and, like the companies mentioned above, will then leverage that user base to offer other integrated services. It will be interesting to see if they can do it; but the opposition is large and smart, it won’t be easy.

Palringo’s Balloony Land slashes cost of mobile user acquisition

balloony landBalloony Land, the latest published game from Palringo, the social platform to find games and fellow gamers, has reached the top 10 in the App Store across nine countries by using its 45 million-strong community to drive the launch.

The UK-based company said that its community gaming business model meant the global CPI (cost per install) for Balloony Land was $0.72 compared to the industry average of mobile games of $1.67 in the month following its release, and fell to a further $0.44 by leveraging the Palringo community of 45 million users.

Palringo’s model allows it to be less dependent on traditional ad networks and to beat current average CPIs by marketing to its existing community and carefully managing external spend.

The company incentivises the community to engage with new games using tools within the Palringo app. These initial downloads cause a surge in app store rankings helping chart discovery and ultimate downloads. This is carried out in a controlled manner to ensure a sustainable number of downloads over a period of time, based on download estimates for each country’s app store.

The integration of native games into the Palringo social platform shows how a casual single player game, such as Balloony Land, can be given a multiplayer dimension, while increasing engagement. Global day one retention rates for gamers coming from Palringo were twice as high than players acquired from other sources and 30-day retention rates were three times higher.

“We decided some time ago to move away from being a messaging business and focus instead on offering a messaging-based service where the core messaging and community element would be used to strengthen the gaming experience.

“By developing and publishing our own games we’ve been able to build a better understanding of how messaging, communities and games can converge to offer a sustainable business proposition,” said Tim Rea, Palringo CEO.

Communities are the next games play for Palringo

IMG_20140919_143357A sunny day in Sweden is the type of experience that makes the visitor feel cleansed, vibrant and healthy… even after a pint of Guinness and a pie at a tourist pub in Gothenburg.

People-spotting here is so modern that it wouldn’t be that weird to see a couple of pregnant men walking around talking to mothers, driverless cars parking themselves or air-bicycles being softly pedalled by children on the way back from school.

What would be weird, however, is a man without a checked shirt or beard. If London’s Shoreditch has beards, then Sweden’s Gothenburg owns beards. Bearded Londoners look like Beau Brummell, bearded Swedes look like Grizzly Adams. Continue reading

Mobile games: Playing with the group dynamic

It was the 16th Century English poet John Donne who said that ‘no man is an island entire of itself’ and this maxim has endured for almost 500 years. Effectively Donne was saying that humans need to be in groups, not in isolation.

The need to participate in actions is crucial to humanity. When we do this with things we love, our levels of engagement and happiness soar. Watching football is better in the pub or with friends around, playing sport is better in a team and going to a gig with mates is more enjoyable than going alone. Continue reading