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Yo Raises $1.5M In Funding At A $10M Valuation (techcrunch.com)
41 points by peterkchen 713 days ago | past | web | 48 comments



I've been using Yo since I first heard about it on Hacker News and it's actually really useful.

Get to someone's house and want them to let you in? Send a yo.

Getting to be lunchtime? Yo your coworkers (Yo widgets on Android mean you can just go across a row and yo each one super easily) and meet up at the usual spot.

Want to meet up with a mentor? Yo them when you get in; if they yo you back they're probably free, head over and talk to them.

Thinking about your girlfriend? Send her a yo to let her know you care.

I really like using Yo; the interface is really clean and it's really fast to get to my yoscreen on Android.

The people hating on Yo just don't understand the way that technology is moving towards ephemerality. There's an art to Yo. It's elegant and simple and beautiful and it's probably worth much more than $10M. Yo has the capacity to change the way humans interact with each other.


> Thinking about your girlfriend? Send her a yo to let her know you care.

> Yo has the capacity to change the way humans interact with each other.

You could easily put this into the script for a Silicon Valley episode to good effect.


The thing is - nothing you describe in regards to the 'art' in Yo has anything to do with Yo, or anything unique that Yo offers. You want to text 'yo' to somebody? Go right ahead. Nothing was stopping anyone before. Brevity has been the soul of wit for a long, long time, and not having to resort to small, limited texts is a relatively recent phenomenon (that's why acronyms like 'lol' and emoji exist, because characters used to be expensive.)

Will other startups follow and copy Yo? Of course - if this laptop I'm on wasn't such a piece of crap I would be working on my yo clone right now. Does this mean Yo represents something profound? No, just that people smell easy money, and can find utility in silly, banal apps.

[edited because ranting intensified]


Texing "yo" to someone sucks. Texting "yo" to my co-workers sucks. You really want me to go and make some group MMS crap so I can send yo? Yo is way faster and more streamlined than all of those things. That's like saying Facebook is stupid and banal because you could just set up a Geocities page to share your pictures.

Sounds like you've got a bad case of the sour grapes, friend. It's not too late though, the Yo API is really slick and there's a lot of potential for interop there. I'm working on a few Yo-related projects right now.


   > I really like using Yo; the interface is really clean    
   > and it's really fast to get to my yoscreen on Android.
And this is its value. You like using it so you do. And for everyone who doesn't get this, it is the difference between existing as a product and not existing. You can make a product that turns poo into gold and if nobody uses it, it has no value, it converts no poo.

But if you have something that people like, and it has the added benefit of shining a light on interrelationships between people (only useful if people like using it) then it can be really valuable "Gee Bob sends alice a Yo every day at lunch time, perhaps he is the guy that decides where they eat lunch, and if we get Bob to choose our client's restaurant we'll get Alice for 'free'." Why are companies that all they do is host a 1x1 transparent GIF image and collect sequences of web pages visited by an IP address valuable?

To collect data about people you have to tie into something they do, if they don't do what ever the 'carrier' activity is, you collect no data. Yo's value is that people like to use it.


No one is hating on YO, the interface or the desire to send a YO versus a text. They are hating on VC investment in a non-scalable business. Tell me how a 10MM valuation gets to a billion dollar business? Same old SV bullshit.


It gets to be a billion dollar business after it's burnt through enough cash on user acquisition and PR to convince the acquisitions teams at Facebook, Google or Yahoo that it's an unmissable opportunity worth wasting a billion dollars of shareholders' money on.

People experiencing difficulty raising funds whilst trying to solve actual problems and make a profit in doing so have my sympathy.


Once YO gets to a critical mass, there are a lot of valid and relevant business models.


From what I've seen and experienced as an end-user, it's just advertising. So no, I don't think there are a lot of business models. I'd love to be proven wrong someday.


Care to elaborate?


I won't deny that a lot of times you only need to convey a very short message, but what makes this better than just texting?


What makes Instagram better than emailing pictures to people?


Its a lot faster, as in less touches


More than just being faster, it establishes short, content-free messages as a socially valid communication method.

Snapchat wasn't a success because people had been yearning for self-deleting photo messaging or because people found it too complicated to send photo messages with other apps. It was a success because it gave people social permission to send low-pressure, low-expectation photo messages to their friends. Someone who sends a photo of their lunch via Facebook messenger or as an email attachment runs the risk of being seen as silly, superficial or self-involved. Doing the same thing via Snapchat is totally expected, socially-valid and safe behavior, because the medium of Snapchat provides implicit permission to send those types of messages: it's only around for a few seconds, so who cares if it's a bit trivial or silly?

The medium of Yo provides the same kind of implicit validation. You don't have to worry about seeming blunt or disturbing someone or failing to consider the other person's needs, because the format itself makes catering to those worries impossible. So the unique feature of the app isn't the functionality it provides but the narrow and unequivocal use of that functionality that it mandates.

The trend of communication is towards the shortest, least-demanding formats possible. The first big blogging sites were popular not just because they were easier to use than hand-written HTML or complex CMS's, but because they validated personal blogging as a format. Facebook made "blogging" even more personal, trivial and self-focused. Twitter then made communication even less demanding by establishing a format in which it is impossible to create serious and thoughtful content, thus removing the pressure to do so. Snapchat made messaging even more ephemeral and low-pressure. And now Yo removes even the expectation of taking a picture that's funny or interesting, even for just a few seconds.

It seems like what people want are formats that allow them to connect with others and express themselves while simultaneously removing as much pressure to perform or possibility of critique as possible.


I don't have much to say but I wanted to mention that I found your comment really insightful.

Applying that logic, what are some things a lot of people would like to do, but can't due to social stigma? And could also be remedied by an app that doesn't allow you to do anything but that thing. Such as send superficial pictures (snapchat) or contentless messages (Yo).


So much so that it justifies installing the app and then asking people you know to do so too? It takes no time to send a "yo" text with Siri, and if it's a person you have texted recently it's very fast and easy by hand texting too, so it must be really, really easy to make it worth it. I ask because I'm genuinely curious having not used the app before (for the reason that it takes too much effort to justify).


Hold home button down on iPhone, "Text Yo to John Doe", "Send". Done. No need to install an app, no need for the person I am sending it to to install said app, and no need to worry about yet another app being compromised and my data being out there.

Now I'm not knocking Yo, clearly they're doing something umm.. Right? I don't know. But this is getting ridiculous.


...but you do need to look like an idiot by talking to your phone. And then you're in an environment where there's, you know, any amount of ambient noise and Siri will helpfully say "Okay, texting Slow to John Doe" or something else ridiculous. Maybe just "Sorry, didn't catch that." And then you repeat yourself, to your phone, sounding more and more like an idiot, until finally you give up and you get your hands dirty by scrumming around on your phonescreen trying to type out a text. Good luck getting Yo past autocorrect.

Meanwhile, I've sent my Yo. I'm with my friends yoing it up. Maybe we're at a bar or maybe we're at a girl's place at a kick-ass party. But we're there because we yo'd at the door to get her to let us up. You're not even in yet. What even is your life?

I get that tech people are crotchety about new tech, but come on. Get with the program. Join the party. Just yo. http://justyo.co.


I said "Yo" the other day, shortly after signing up for the service. I was walking along the street (on the sidewalk) and a guy was backing out of his driveway in his car, and he wasn't paying attention to me, such that he might have backed into me. I said loudly "Yo" and the situation was resolved. Nothing else needed to be said.


That has nothing to do with this app, except the superficial name.


It does actually. the app influenced my offline behavior and it helped me realize that in many situations a "yo" will suffice


Isn't it pretty normal to say "yo!" in those situations anyway? I've never even heard about this app but I've done this for years.


This must be some sort of fiendishly clever scheme for laundering VC money. Unless they are planning to pivot it into the next WhatsApp.


>This must be some sort of fiendishly clever scheme for laundering VC money.

Aren't most startups?


This has to be some kind of joke. Unbelievable.


Not a joke. It has a fair bit of utility and 2 million installs.


Utility doesn't make money. I'm all for cool apps, what I'm not for is overvaluing and expecting returns on companies with no revenue streams and realistically no way to create revenue streams. Even advertising would be difficult with Yo. The best your band can use it for is to literally annoy users.


Bullshit. It is utility based on installs ? Are you insane or out of mind ? You do realize that number of installs mentioned always inflated , right ? If these scumbags are getting $1.5M what really appears to be a simple text app , I can't wait for next technology bubble burst. Seriously , US is terribly flawed country.


Yo feels like a sharp stick in the eye to every entrepreneur struggling to raise money who feels like they are working on a real product that solves real problems and has a real market for its services.


Does anyone else think this is the perfect example of why Texting apps just need like 3 macros when you have a blank message so you can just tap them?

Hi / Yes / No

That is really all the functionality this provides.


hi, yes and no convey very specific things though. "yo" means hundreds of things.


The problem is that for the small percentage of texts that you only need to write "yo", there is a incomparably larger percentage that may need more than that. The Yo app removes functionality that native texting (or any number of WhatsApps and Facebook Messengers) already provide. Realistically it's like any other contact application: if you know people who use it you might use it, but I don't know anyone who uses it and I don't use it.


I should make a LOL app. LOL is much better valued than YO.


I actually really enjoy using Yo. I think it's a great idea. But I don't know how the future of Yo might look like. I mean, implementing features would ruin the whole point of the app. I'm wondering how they are planning to spend the $1.5M. I don't think they need a big infrastructure, lots of engineering resources etc. Since running Yo is cheap and there might be actually useful use cases for it, I don't think investing in it is such a bad idea. I don't understand the people trolling here. Someone invested some time in an app that became successful. That's it.


unclear, what does this company do exactly?


It's Facebook's 'poke' feature, as nearly as I can tell, without the rest of Facebook.


"poke" had a more flirty vibe to it. this is more neutral, which is important.


They make an app that says "yo."

Which is a million dollar idea for reasons.


It's a $10 million dollar idea, they just sold 15% of it.


I don't want to live on this planet anymore.


I wouldn't be too shocked to see Yo pivot to suicide booths.


Yet another reason to pursue space exploration.


seriously, these assholes are the reason startup get repeatedly beaten


seriously, these assholes are the reason startup get repeatedly fked


Can you tell us this once more, I didn't quite understand the first 5 times. Thanks.


Maybe he's testing a new app for friction-free abusive social media posting. It'll revolutionize human interaction!


lol..seriously these type of assholes are reason true startups get fucked up


Yo




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