They are called Neeraj Arora and Michael Donohue. Two names that certainly don’t mean anything to you. Yet both were among the very first employees of WhatsApp, long before Facebook got its hands on messaging for a $ 22 billion check. These two former colleagues have just launched HalloApp, a new private “social network”.
Similarities with WhatsApp
For a few days now, whether you are an Android or iOS smartphone user, you can download HalloApp and register. By opening the application, we discover a social network focused on exchanges between relatives, without advertising. Said exchanges are encrypted there and the only way to add contacts is to know their phone number. In its operation, HalloApp therefore looks a lot like WhatsApp, focusing above all on conversations (individual or group).
There is nothing to predict whether this new foray into the saturated network and other messaging market will hit the mark. Nevertheless, the pedigree of its founders, the emphasis on “real” social relations, the absence of business and advertising, militate in favor of a pleasant experience with simple flows, without algorithmic sorting.
It must be said that the two partners have had time to mature their approach and have solid experience in the world of social networks. Neeraj Arora was in charge of developing the economic activity of WhatsApp and was at the forefront of the takeover of the company by Facebook, while Michael Donohue was the technical director of the company for almost nine years.
A good product and word of mouth
For the time being, they find it premature to respond to the media regarding their new project, believing that the main thing is to work on the qualities of the service offered and to rely on good word of mouth from its users to make know HalloApp.
In a post on the company’s blog, Neeraj Arora calls traditional social networks “21st century cigarette” and positions HalloApp as an antidote. “Imagine your online friends being your real friends. Imagine that your feed is not polluted by content or people that you are laughing at. Imagine scrolling through the things that matter and seeing what you wanted, not what an algorithm decided to show you. Imagine not being treated like a simple product ”, he adds.
So how do you turn HalloApp into a profitable service with such commitments? By charging users for additional functions, imagine the co-founders. The advertising model involving too many dangers for the very interest of the product according to them.
A paid business model that was initially considered for WhatsApp, before Facebook bought it and confirms its desire to perpetuate free messaging. Currently, HalloApp has about ten employees and lives thanks to the funds raised by its co-founders from a handful of investors.