Fri, Jun 20, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Investors pour US$1m into ‘Yo’ app

YO TALKING TO ME?The minimalist ‘context-based’ messaging service has attracted massive investment in the past two months, company cofounder Or Arbel said

AFP, LOS ANGELES

A new instant-messaging app that allows users only to send a single word to their friends is quickly becoming a hot commodity, raising US$1 million in two months, US media reported on Wednesday.

The Yo app lets users say “Yo,” by sending a text notification accompanied by a recorded voice shouting the greeting to users’ friends. However, cofounder Or Arbel insisted the deceptively simple app has a lot of potential.

“People think it is just an app that says ‘Yo.’ But it’s really not,” Arbel told reporters. “We like to call it context-based messaging. You understand by the context what is being said.”

Arbel said he raised the funding for Yo from a group of investors led by Moshe Hogeg, CEO of image-sharing app Mobli.

Convinced that his app has big prospects in line, Arbel left his job as chief technology officer of stock-trading platform Stox, which he helped launch last year, and moved from Tel Aviv, Israel, to San Francisco to focus on Yo.

Arbel said the app could allow newspapers and blogs to notify subscribers that a new article has been published or posted.

Yo is also taking advantage of FIFA World Cup frenzy. Any user sending a Yo to “WORLDCUP” will receive a Yo notification when a goal is scored.

Reviews on Apple’s App Store were positive, but some delved into sarcasm.

“Yo is a way of life. Since downloading Yo, all my relationships have improved and I’ve regrown most of my hair,” said a reviewer calling himself Nicholas Butler.

News Web site Think Progress says the app, which took just eight hours to build, now has 50,000 users who have sent about 4 million Yos.

The company has four part-time employees.

The app is available for free on the iOS and Android operating systems.

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