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News  25, Feb 2013

AppVillage launches personalised message app Talking Bear Hugs

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talking bear hug

AppVillage, an Australian based app incubator, has recently launched its first app. Talking Bear Hugs; an app aimed at anyone with an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad who wants to share their personalised messages of love via SMS or Facebook, has been released on the app store.

AppVillage runs an interesting model. It helps market and build apps for founders who needs more resources to turn an idea to reality. To be part of the incubator, a developer can submit an app idea for vetting. After vetting and idea assessment, successful applicants will be selected to be part of the program. If AppVillage thinks that it might be the next big thing, they will build and market it at no cost to the original app idea owner. The app owner will be paid an ongoing royalty so long as the app keeps bringing in revenue.

Among the 200 app ideas submitted, Talking Bear Hugs was selected. The incubator, which opened its virtual doors in October last year with US$250,000 seed funding from leading digital executives, had its developer community and members of the 99designs designer community build the app from start to finish.

Read also: AppVillage is Australia’s new app incubator that can help build and market your app at no cost

The idea behind Talking Bear Hugs is simple: Give someone you love a talking bear hug. Record your personal message and hear it played back in the teddy bear voice. You can then share your personalised bear hug video with someone special.

The app is currently available free to download from the iTunes App Store.

“The app idea came from innovator Robyn Hucik who lives in the US, our development was done by Australian mobile agency Nomad, and the design coming from 99designs designer Zaavit from Argentina,” Steve Fanale, CEO and cofounder of AppVillage said.

When asked about the download numbers, Steve shared that they “are only in the early days of the campaign, but we are happy that thousands of apps have been downloaded and many thousands of bear hugs that have been sent and shared all around the world”

So how will the app generate revenue? AppVillage’s strategy for the initial phase of Talking Bear Hugs is to build an audience. Once they have bear hug lovers on board, the rollout of additional features such as the ability to purchase personalized teddy bears will be in place.

talking tom catWhile Talking Bear Hugs might sound like a very simple idea, there is definitely great potential behind it. Remember Talking Tom Cat? It has amassed more than 200 million total downloads as of 31st Dec 2011. Steve told us that Talking Tom Cat is rumoured to have more than 500 million downloads to date.

“After researching and finding that similar apps in the genre have had massive download and revenue success*, we believed that we could build on this by enhancing the experience further and reap the rewards.”

So will Talking Bear Hugs be the next big hit, following the foot steps of Talking Tom Cat? You can give the app a try and let us know what you think.

Jacky Yap

Jacky Yap

Having spent one year abroad in Shanghai under the NUS Overseas College Programme, Jacky has an avid interest in entrepreneurship and web based startups. Jacky used to run N-House, Singapore's first entrepreneurial themed residence in NUS, and was also part of the organizing team for Startup Weekend Singapore 2012. You can reach him at jacky [at] e27 [dot] co

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