Trying to organise friend meetups in WhatsApp groups is a major pain point for people with large social circles, especially university students. Having five, 10 or even more people sending back-and-forth chats about when they are free and where they suggest meeting can quickly spiral into a never-ending slice of chaos.
At least that’s the pain point that Singapore-based startup Leggo, co-founded by two Information Systems university students at the Singapore Management University (SMU) and the National University of Singapore (NUS), is convinced needs dealing with on a large scale.
“Leggo works with a few tabs to indicate when, where and who you want to meet. Your friends don’t need to have the app — they’ll receive a text with a link embedded. They click on it and vote on time and location. It consolidates the votes and informs you on what’s the best plan,” Edric Subur, Co-founder and CEO, Leggo told e27.
Feedback that Subur received from friends is that there’s still no single platform for them to indicate availability and preference on where they want to meet up with friends. So, in the entrepreneurial spirit, he decided to build it himself.
Currently Leggo has a beta app available in Google Play for Android, with an iOS version planned to follow in February. The Co-founders recently welcomed onboard a lead developer who is also studying at SMU, bringing the team size to three.
Leggo has just been incubated in the SMU incubation programme thanks to winning the university’s innovation award in November, where it will receive mentorship and S$10,000 (US$8,000). It was also placed fourth at the Southeast Asia Mobile App Competition (SEMAC) earlier this month, bagging a smaller S$1,000 (US$800) prize.
“We’re still in the process of testing and finding out what users want from our app… We are financially OK for now because all of us are developers, so we don’t need to spend any money on development. Once we know what the market really wants, we’ll raise a seed fund to help spend more on marketing,” Subur said.
The five-month-old startup, bootstrapped to date except for the modest prize money, will look to raise a US$25,000 to US$50,000 seed round in March. In the two weeks since officially launching the beta app on Google Play, Leggo has claimed around 200 users.
Feedback from early beta testers has been for more social and calendar integration. The team are now working on chat functionality.
“Our mission is to disrupt WhatsApp when it comes to planning and gathering. We’ve learned from our research that they [users] still want that social part to the planning, so in the future we’ll position ourselves as a group chat to plan meetups instead of just a scheduler application,” Subur said.
A launch is planned soon for Indonesia as Leggo’s first market outside its home turf of Singapore. The startup is currently in discussions with Indosat, one of the country’s largest telecommunications network and service providers, to bolster its launch there.
Subur reveals that inspiration came from the app Yo, which was created to simply send friends the word ‘Yo’ as a text and audio notification — nothing more. It has since evolved with more features.
“I got the inspiration from that. Why can’t planning and gathering be that simple?” Subur said.
Going forward, the team is looking to partner with restaurants, cinemas, and event organisers so that they can take a cut on any sales done via its platform and monetise early — also for the benefit of investors. At the same time, users will still be able to use the app freely without ever taking advantage of those partnerships.
One challenge has been in managing time between university and running a startup, but the nurturing environment of Singapore’s startup ecosystem has made it easier. Backing from friends and parents — social acceptance — is equally important, something that still lacks for many young entrepreneurs in markets like Japan and China, where more traditional corporate jobs are expected by parents.
“It’s really good to see a lot of people with the same mindset… But it’s a lot of pressure declaring to the world, to your family and friends, that you’re running a startup. What if you fail?” Subur said.
“People in our generation all want to do something different. Especially in Singapore, we’re torn between going to a corporate or starting our own business,” he added.
The goal once the seed round is raised in March is to get the first 5,000 users onboard, hopefully by the end of May at current projections. They also want to get the first ticketing partner by around that time.
A typical Leggo user will be aged between 15-25 years old and in most cases students, but to keep the Instagram and Snapchat generation engaged with their infamously low attention span will require a seriously sticky app.
“Now people when they’re bored, go to Instagram or Facebook to check their news feeds. Our goal is to create that kind of stickiness as well, so that whenever they have something fun to do with friends they will go to our app,” Subur concluded.
Here’s to hoping the Leggo team doesn’t get into too many sticky situations as they grow their startup.