There’s no doubting it; mobile messaging apps are proliferating; however, because they’re all different and not everyone uses the same one, cross-communication is a big problem. Until Frankly 3.0, that is, which is the latest version of an app that conveys ephemeral text messages AND sends them to non-Frankly users.
OK, so Snapchat has got the photo-centric corner of the ephemeral messaging market tabbed. Frankly’s text-based messages that self-destruct Mission: Impossible-style after 10 seconds, are gaining traction though. Since it was founded in February last year, its user base has been steadily growing and now stands at 1.7 million. According to app ranking specialists App Annie, it now ranks at number 256 in the US iTunes Social Networking category. That places it well behind some if its competitors in the ephemeral world (Wickr for example, ranks at 178) but substantially ahead of others like Confide, which ranks at 773.
It has certainly been attracting the attention of investors, having just raised $12.8 million from JJR Private Capital, SK Planet and Stanford-StartX Fund. It’s total investment to date stands at $22 million. Investors, it seems, are impressed with Frankly’s technology rather than its existing consumer market (which isn’t doing at all badly).
Users receiving a Frankly message simply click on a link that then opens via a webpage, whether they’re using a smart mobile device or a desktop PC. The cross-communication problem is history.
The new funding will in part be channelled into turning its messaging service into a business with the launch of a new, customisable software development kit. And in keeping with its quest to message across different apps, it’s making that SDK available to other app developers who want a social component included.
JJR Private Capital’s Ron Schmeichel, who was involved in the latest funding round, said:
“[W]ith their new SDK initiative, we believe there are enormous market opportunities ahead to become a disruptive leader in their category.”
That’s quite an accolade: hard-nosed investors aren’t known for hyperbole or empty flattery.
Frankly’s CEO Steve Cheung confirmed that “global brands” were being approached for integrations with the SDK, and a leading brand partner would be announced within the next month.
Content, it seems, is literally becoming more ephemeral than ever.