Correction 12:25pm: Yo has over 790,000 users, not 50,000.
Moshe Hogeg is one of the two guys behind the strangely viral, stupidly simple app Yo.
Yo is as primitive of an app as you can imagine: All it does is let you send a single message — “Yo!” — to your friends. They can send a “Yo!” back to you, too. That’s it. (Although the company is developing an API.)
Despite that simplicity, Yo already has more than 790,000 users and is growing like a weed, which has garnered its creators $1.2 million in promised investments.
Yo has also been parodied on the Colbert Report, and even got hacked earlier this week.
BusinessInsider interviewed Hogeg, and aside from being incredibly quotable, he was also remarkably honest about the sudden and ridiculous success of his app.
Here are some of the highlights of the interview:
- In his regular job, Hogeg is the chief executive of Tel Aviv-based video- and photo-sharing company Mobli. Yo started as a side project. But first he had to convince Moble employee Or Arbel to make the thing. “I went to him and I said, ‘Develop this stupid app for me,'” Hogeg nudged. It took several weeks to convince Arbel, but once he did, Arbel made the app in about eight hours.
- At first, Hogeg was too embarrassed to publish it under his own name. “At Mobli, we make serious technology,” he says. “I didn’t let him publish it under our names.”
- Hogeg showed the app to Rackspace blogger Robert Scoble. “This is the stupidest, most addictive app I’ve ever seen in my life,” Scoble said.
- “We asked ourselves, ‘If we didn’t know what Yo was or what it did, and if we just examined the data and the usage numbers like it was any other startup, would we invest in it?‘” says Hogeg. “The answer was, ‘Hell yes.'”
- Hogeg could have raised more than $2.5 million, he said, but he preferred to keep the round to a more manageable $1.2 million (including $200,000 of Hogeg’s own money). The money’s not in the bank yet, though. “The amount of money that wants to go into this company is unbelievable,” says Hogeg.
- The whole thing seems crazy to Hogeg, too. “Sometimes you see a movie and you say, ‘This sh– is so crazy, it can’t really happen,'” says Hogeg. “But sometimes reality is so crazy, it suppresses every movie.“
Read the full interview over at Business Insider.
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