Vurb to compete against Kik?
Popularity of WeChat is seriously gnawing at the American messengers. Practically every distinguishable player on this market chooses the path of “all-in-one platform”. Kik openly announces its intend to follow this path, having attracted US $50 from Tencent. Snapchat is following suit with Discover as does Mark Zuckerberg integrating payment services into his Messenger. Even Russian Telegram is making its first steps in this direction by developing chatbots.
Every executive of a company that has been developing a popular messaging app understands that the such platforms are the future and the first one to create “WeChat-like app for Americans” will be the one to benefit most.
On the one hand, it is quite expected that Zuckerberg will come out the winner in this race of the American messaging platforms as he has got Facebook boasting over a billion users and the experience of implementing global projects. On the other hand, why do Americans prefer to use WhatsApp if Facebook Messenger is so good?
Kik founder Ted Livingston wrote this week in his company’s blog that he was happy, when other messengers chose the path of the all-in-one platform. However, come to think of it, how many all-in-one platforms does an ordinary user really need? Most likely, one would be just enough.
The other day, a search engine startup Vurb announced its platform ambitions. Same as Kik, the startup managed to strike a deal with Tencent and attract US $10 million in investments for these purposes.
We can already see the first results: Vurb added the chat function to its app. Now the users can not only search for interesting places, reviews and movies, but also communicate with each other.
What Vurb has and in which direction the app is moving
You can already find opinions, videos, locations of places and reviews, save cards, share plans with your friends and follow them in the app. Vurb is planning to introduce official accounts for small businesses, like those that have already been realized in WeChat. These accounts allow businesses interact with users directly, befriending them and offering e-commerce services. The app’s founder Bobby Lo also wants to add the features of booking and purchase of all kinds of tickets to Vurb.
Vurb’s excessive ambitions
Looking at all this, it seems that Vurb has decided to hurdle a barrier that is beyond its scope. The application was developed in 2011. In 2013 it was lucky to attract US $2 million in investments. Be that as it may, you can’t deny Vurb’s ambitiousness: the app decided to win over the users of the market’s giants: first Google, now WhatApp, Kik and Facebook Messenger.
The following investments of Tencent into Vurb amounted to US $8 million. After that the app was included into the list of the most expected products for iOS in the nomination “Best New Application”.
Vurb has not yet published the data on the real number of users, only claiming that it is continuously growing. Other sources, however, claim that the picture is not that rosy. Maybe the added chat function will help the app attract new users. Friends in Vurb can send texts and multimedia messages, for instance maps. If the recipient does not have Vurb, he/she will receive a link to the file as a text message.
Vurb’s success is hard to predict for the moment. We believe that the app’s team needs to put more efforts yet for their ambitions to come true. It is possible that it may have to “merge” with major messaging apps; naturally, if the latter will be interested in that.