So the world’s dumbest app gets a million-dollar funding. Indian startup comes out with a spoof app – aiYO, to draw attention to the absurdity of the situation
The Yo app lets you do nothing but say “Yo” to a friend! US TV host Stephen Colbert summed it up perfectly when he said, “There’s a new app that has expanded the possibilities for communication by drastically reducing them.”
For reasons beyond logic, Yo has become quite a sensation, even topping the charts in the App Store. What more? It has attracted a million dollars in funding!
Wow Labz, a startup in Bangalore, India, could not get its head around the absurdity of such an app getting all the attention, customers and investors. In response to Yo, it has come out with a spoof app aiYO.
So what does aiYO do? Exactly the same thing as Yo! The startup describes Android app aiYO as ‘The lamest most annoying communication tool in the world’.
Wanna irritate someone, first thing in the morning? – Just aiYO.
Wanna say “Baby I want a breakup”? – aiYO.
“You are in a board meeting?” – Let me aiYO you.
“Are you sleepy?” – aiYO.
The possibilities are endless.
On the Google Play Store it says the app has been ‘built by a bunch of jobless folks at a nondescript startup in Bangalore!”
Not nondescript any more. Pretty smart move, we must say.
Drawing Valley attention
“There is some brilliant work taking place in the startup community in Bangalore. But in India, it is extremely difficult to even get a face-to-face meeting with an investor. And here, something as absurd as Yo gets a million dollars. We created this app to create awareness of the ecosystem in Bangalore and the dire need for funding here. We are hoping this message reaches the Valley,” Rohith Veerajappa, Co-founder, Wow Labz, tells e27.
He goes on to add that investors in India are not as forthcoming as in Silicon Valley. However, the last five years have seen a huge improvement and it would be unfair to compare. This app was created to pass on a message to investors across the world that they should explore innovative working being done in places such as Bangalore.
“aiYO has been created with the intention of creating humour, killing time and taking a dig at investors who invest in ideas with no barrier to entry,” say the people behind the spoof app.
aiYO was built last Saturday afternoon (June 21, 2014). The Wow Labz team was in office and decided to do something fun. The programmers and designers got together (there was booze too to help them out) and set about to build the app.
The app allows users to send an aiYO to one another. That’s all.
aiYO basically means bummer in South India. It also means ‘pain’ in Mandarin – which is what Wow Labz felt on seeing such an app get funding.
According to Forbes: “After an under-the-radar launch on the iOS store, 50,000 users have signed up (on Yo) and four million messages have been sent, 2 million of which were in the last month. That’s four million messages, 1 million in funding, 50,000 users and $0 revenue.”
The Wow Labz’ guys wanted to call their version ‘Kya Be?’ (similar to ‘What Lah?’ in Singlish). Another name that came up for discussion was, ‘Abey Oye!’ (Oye Lah!).
When the names were being thrown around, one of the designers said in exasperation, “Aiyo! We will never be able to decide the name.” And that’s where aiYO came from, giving rise to ‘aiYO, we need a million dollars too’!
Well, there is just a something little extra and absolutely funny that aiYO does. If a user sends multiple aiYOs, the app scolds back saying, “Kaam dhanda nahi hai kya?” (Don’t you have any work to do?).
Where’s AiYO at?
The Android app has got 4.7 rating (51 reviews) on Play Store and has seen about 500 installs so far.
“aiYO is better than YO,” claims Veerajappa. “Even though we wanted to send across a message and have a little fun along the way, we are very serious about the quality of the app. Our reputation is at stake.”
The team is working at ironing out the bugs raised and is responsive to the comments on the Play Store.
In fact, one user shared that the app crashed on his phone and gave two stars to it. The team immediately got into action replying, “Ouch! If I were in your shoes I would have given 1 star.”
They figured it was a device specific issue and bought the device to understand the challenge. They are currently working to resolve it.
The team is really not “jobless” as it puts in its description on Play Store. Wow Labz has worked with some well-known clients like Frrole, Indiverve, Great Deals, V&A Commodity Traders, and iBay; and does business consulting for mobile solutions, web development and mobile development.
The team certainly did not expect to get so much of attention. “Hopefully, our purpose will be met. Overall, this has been a good exercise for the team in understanding the product roadmap,” Veerajappa signs off.
We wish the team “Good Luck” and that they get funding soon to create great cool mobile solutions. Aiyo!