Tech experts and logical people alike balked at a $1 million investment in Yo last week. Yo is similar to Facebook Messenger or text-messaging, but allows users to send only the message “yo” to friends. Early pitches for the download seemed absurd– “text messaging takes nine taps to send a message, Yo takes two” read one line. Nevertheless, Yo grew. Along with the growth came a growth in possible use cases.
Possibilities from Yo’s blog:
“Yo me at JOEYSBLOG and I’ll Yo you when I publish a new post!”
“Yo me at JENNASHOPIFY and I’ll Yo you when there is a new product!”
“Yo us at THE49ERS and we’ll Yo we score a touchdown!”
It appears that Yo has got a very real chance of taking in some revenue through an integrated marketing platform. I can imagine using Yo to get UPS delivery notification or adding my favorite retailer to let me know when there’s a huge sale. Yo creates a platform through which marketers can unobtrusively ask for attention. Having said that, Yo knew that marketers wouldn’t get onboard without some traction. So what did they do? They got some traction.
Most articles about Yo have focused on the huge amount of viral attention the app has gotten within the past week in relation to its $1 million investment. What many don’t realize, however, is that Yo launched back in April, and already had 50,000 downloads *before* the media circus. Yo got their first 50,000 users in the same way they got their last 1.08 million: viral marketing.
Very shortly after launch, Vine star Shawn Mendes posted a short video, inviting viewers to download Yo to be the first to know when he launched a new video. This was clearly planned, and clearly successful.
Yo used that customer base as a proof of concept in order to raise a seed round. From there, they leveraged their uniqueness combined with the huge raise in order to get the media’s attention.
Today, Yo stands in a reasonable position to make a marketing play. Will they be alive in a year? Only time will tell.