Headquartered in Silicon Valley, CA, LoYakk was founded by Salim Ali and Jitu Telang. Mid last year (2011) they were trying to solve a (different) problem related to local commerce. In this context and with the objective of understanding consumer behavior, they played the role of social anthropologists trying to understand how our real-life social behavior is mapped to our online social behavior. As they went through the behavior analysis, they came away with an interesting finding: our real-life interactions with people around (who are not our "friends" or known to us) were way more prolific and frequent than with our friends. These interactions were driven by 2 attributes:
- The location where we were
- The context around the location i.e. shared experience.
With LoYakk, users can also “go” to any venue anywhere in the world and converse with people at a remote college, city, game or conference. It is now as easy talking to someone just a short distance away from you in a public location as it is to cruise the world and chat with someone across the planet.
This shared experience could be at a game, music festival, college, town, conference etc. Thus the idea for LoYakk was born to enable and scale this need for casual conversation with people sharing the same experience - without any requirement of prior friendships. i.e. if you are at a cricket game then don't just chat up with the fan next to you, converse with any fan anywhere in the stadium, or if you are at an airport, don't limit your "want to share a taxi?" question to the person right next to you in Terminal 1 but publish this to anyone at the airport.
Users do not have to check-in, announce where they are or even register. LoYakk will auto-detect the user’s nearest venue and they can immediately start Yakking. Users can also choose to register and customize their profile. The LoYakk App is currently available on iPhone, Blackberry, and Android phones. Users can also do all of this via the LoYakk web experience as well with the exception that posting via the web requires registration.
From demographic and psychographic perspectives, their users seem to be younger, very socially active, very smartphone and mobile app aware, and from all over the globe. Adoption in India, US, and UK seems to be most prolific.
Within 3 months of launch:
- Gold Medal Winner at the Race for Apps contest for London Olympic Games 2012
- Most Useable App at Race for Apps
- They have thousands of users and conversations
- They are getting requests from all over the world to add their town/college/complex to LoYakk's venue list.
LoYakk wants to re-imagine the way we converse with people locally - by going beyond known Friends and Followers. They will have to innovate better and execute faster than anyone else in the broader social space if they intend to disrupt quite a few markets. LoYakk aims to make the world a smaller place and has been called “a window to the world”.