Messaging apps may be great for keeping in touch with people you know, but they’re not great for getting in touch with people you don’t, says Partrick Arlia.
He’s the founder of Twoople, a URL-based messaging program that he says could bring chat to business.
“Chat platforms are primarily used for communication with friends,” says Arlia. Twoople, on the other hand, “allows people to chat with each other when they’re not acquainted.”
While most messaging services require both parties to download the same app or be registered for the same social network. Twoople only gives users a unique URL, anyone who goes to the address can then start a chat with the user without having to register or download an app.
Arlia says he see an application for his product in a business environment. Professionals can give out their Twoople URL along with their phone numbers and email addresses. Business can also put a Twoople button on their websites allowing customers, or potential customers, to chat with a representative.
“Chat tools on the market seethe needs of peer-to-peer,” he says. Instead, Twoople is marketed “a a business looking to make it easy for consumers to chat with them.”
Arlia says he saw the need for business chat platform when he was running a e-commerce business and was having a frustrating time dealing with vendor.
One of the advantages for consumers is that they can chat with a business without having to give out their phone number or email addresses. Users can also refuse incoming chats and can set specific hours when they’re available.
Both the Twoople app, which is available for Android and iOS, and using it on the web are currently free. But Arlia says he’s already working on a monetization plan. He says the plan is to go with a freemium model.
“We’re going to offer some premium functionality,” he says. But the price will be low; right now, Arlia is thinking somewhere around $5 a month.
He says he also wants to include some advertising—though he doesn’t want Twoople to be cluttered with ads, instead he’s thinking “clever, clean branding like on Tumblr.”
In the long-term he’d also like to have a searchable database of professionals on Twoople, a sort of “yellow pages for chat.”
Right now, Arlia is bootstrapping the company and working with a small team. He’s the only full-timer while his four partners work on it part-time. There’s also another half-a-dozen freelancers who work on the product.
Arlia says it was important for him to develop the product and put it out before looking for investment.