Tech companies raise money in the millions relatively regularly, but when mobile app Yo raised $1 million (£587,000) it made headlines around the world, because the app can only do one thing – send and received “Yo”s.
Simplicity is at the heart of the service that was originally launched as a joke, but can now claim 50,000 users with people apparently interested in just being digitally prodded. Twitter brought communication down to 140 characters, but Yo brings that down even further to just two, and always the same two.
Apparently the app has become popular with employees at other technology companies based in San Francisco, with the context for the “Yo” coming from who the prompt is from and when it was sent. Sometimes it is a co-worker telling you to get on with finishing that report, but the same message could mean something very different from a prospective love interest.
Some commentators see the fundraising for such a simple app as a sign of a tech bubble growing out of control, but founder Arbel sees a future when companies can send branded “Yos” informing customers that something has changed and is worth checking out, but not trying to force the new product or service upon the customer with marketing speak.