Last year, a controversial Indonesian hook-up app called TristUp made quite a splash for all the wrong reasons, claiming over 80,000 users in less than a year before the developer decided to shut it down.
It was essentially a Bang With Friends equivalent for Southeast Asia, where users could anonymously choose to ‘Date of Shag’ among Facebook connections, and a match would – or in most cases would not – be made.
“With a successful story on TristUp, we are really confident that we can achieve the same impact with Wavoo, even though Wavoo is the polite kind of approach compared to TristUp, which was rather controversial,” Yudhi told e27, citing research from IBIS World showing that online dating in the US alone is now a US$2 billion industry.
“We decided that we needed to create another level of success, not just selling sex as the key [focus], but rather to have a venture that is more approachable… We couldn’t say this is a fresh start for us, as when we started TristUp, we knew less about the market. Now we consider ourselves mature enough to go forward with a slightly different approach, a subtle version of online dating,” he added.
Tinder, but something more
Although swiping left and right to accept or decline dates is taken straight from Tinder’s book, Wavoo also incorporates a WeChat-like ‘People Nearby’ feature.
“We have this feature called ‘Nearby’ as one of our key features, which adopts AR technology to locate the nearest users. So one can find out if there is someone really close, for instance in the same building or area,” he shared. Meanwhile, ‘Wink’ is a more direct way to let a user know you like them without having to wait for an anonymous match.
Competitors in the space currently include Setipe and Jomblo, according to Yudhi, but both platforms are web-only. While Wavoo’s app is available globally, the initial focus will remain in Indonesia. The iOS app went live last week, and an Android version is due in December.
“Our goal is to take over South Asia’s online dating market and set the milestone high for us to work even harder — [we want] one million users in less than a year. We are really confident that with the great team we have at the moment, we can achieve that,” he concluded.