What’s unique about this investment: Infonesia hadn’t even launched a product when it got a term sheet.
The app’s out now. It launched on the Play Store on May 16. It’s a social network doing Q&A with a twist, sampling from sites like Quora and live streaming apps.
Pay to eavesdrop
Infonesia lets users ask each other questions. You can direct them at celebrities, public figures, or friends. If you pick up a question, you answer it by posting a picture and attaching a voice message.
The kicker: you can make the recipient pay to unlock your answer, for a price you set yourself.
On top of that, others can also pay to unlock the answer – this is called “eavesdropping.” It costs only IDR1,000, less than US$0.10. Payments from eavesdroppers are split evenly between the person who asked and the person who answered.
Everyone loves gossip
Infonesia is the brainchild of a former intern at Uber Indonesia, Ihsan Fadhlur Rahman. In 2015, he was part of the team that helped Uber expand to new cities in the archipelago. Then he completed his MBA in Chicago and Barcelona.
Even though the startup was established last year, app development only began in March 2017.
“Between August 2016 and January 2017 I interviewed about 60 developers to find the right person to build this app,” Rahman tells Tech in Asia.
The idea formed when Rahman and a fellow MBA student were discussing the Instagram account Lambe Turah, an Indonesian gossip account with more than 2.6 million followers.
They thought it would be nice to have a platform that lets people ask those who are being gossiped about directly.
At launch, the app already has a handful of celebrities on board as “Hot Shot Respondents” – a concept similar to official accounts on Instagram and Twitter.
“The entertainment industry is always exciting to talk about,” says Rahman. “At the same time, we are also trying to validate if the Indonesian public is comfortable with the payment methods we offer.”
Some respondents post their answers for free. Others require eavesdroppers to pay “one diamond,” a form of in-app currency. Infonesia’s payment process resembles that of popular live streaming apps like Bigo.
500 Startup’s investment will be used to hire developers. The startup now only consists of three people. It will also be used to promote the app online and attract more users.
Globally, there are platforms like Ask.fm and Quora, but none of these are specifically adapted to Indonesia, Rahman says.
This article first appeared in Indonesian, written by Aditya Hadi Pratama. Information was translated and edited for this version.