With smartphones becoming ubiquitous, Yenwen Feng and Cjin Cheng wanted to create something that would use the full capabilities of these phones, from photos, touch screens, to voice and video. They thought text alone is boring, so by adding features such as drawing, sharing photos and video, chat can be a lot more fun and entertaining.
Cubie Messenger was born out of the quest for enhancing the chat experience. It is a free mobile messaging app, which lets users exchange text, stickers, videos, and their own drawings, is gaining plenty of traction. Since launching in March 2012, Cubie has been downloaded 5.5 million times. The app has got 1 million users in the Middle East.
Cubie was founded by Yenwen Feng and Cjin Cheng, a Taiwanese couple who have founded three companies. The first one was a Willmobile, a java-based mobile app that was sold in 2007. The second is a social gaming company called Gamelet, which is still running.
Saudi Arabia is the 3rd largest market for the app at the moment. The app has been number 1 in the app store in Kuwait, UAE as well as in social networking in some other regional countries. Going forward, the developers are looking to build on this early growth, by adding Arabic version - which people can help them by visiting this link. In the next few months, Cubie will be looking for ways to deliver an even better chat experience for its Middle East users. This may include working with local carriers, businesses and communities in the near future. Cubie users are predominantly female - roughly 70% are women, mostly aged between 18-30.
This is one of the few Taiwanese companies making waves in the Middle East region.
The app earns revenue by selling premium sticker packs on their sticker store. They are exploring other business models in the future. At present they are concentrating on reaching out to new users and retaining existing ones, so revenue is not a primary concern. The company closed $1.1mn last October, having enough funds to keep it going.
Users can now search YouTube from within the chat window, one feature that has been frequently requested. Cubie joined 500 Startups fifth accelerator batch, back in October 2012.