French startup ten ten finds viral success and controversy in reinventing walkie-talkies | TheTrendyType

by The Trendy Type

Lower than one 12 months after its iOS launch, French startup ten ten has gone viral with a walkie-talkie app that permits teenagers to ship voice messages to their shut associates — even when their cellphone is locked. 

Whether or not you suppose that’s a recipe for catastrophe or the best factor you’ve heard might rely in your age group, and youths clearly heard of that one lengthy earlier than we did; though walkie talkies are clearly not a brand new idea, even in app form. Ten ten is doing the identical, however in 2024.

“We’re ephemeral by design,” ten ten co-founder and CEO, Jule Comar stated in a written interview with TheTrendyType. He added that In CB codes, 1010 means “Transmission accomplished, standing by.” In accordance with Comar, this is only one of “a number of meanings that align with our values and the idea.” It appears to be resonating; the app is free and rapidly climbing rankings.

Ten ten’s sudden rise is especially noticeable in France, the place it has been downloaded 1 million instances. Together with on Android, the place it grew to become out there a number of weeks in the past, the app noticed 6 million downloads since its launch, in keeping with information shared by market intelligence agency Sensor Tower with TheTrendyType on Friday. 

The idea may additionally obtain tweaks alongside the way in which. The present UX suggests a 9-friend cap, however that’s not the case. “Ten ten is for shut associates however there’s no buddy restrict, we’re seeing individuals share their PINs on social media so we’re engaged on a greater buddy administration system,” Comar stated.

The PINs Comar is referring to are the IDs that customers can use to search out one another. The app additionally asks for entry to the consumer’s contacts (however no one will get added with out consumer motion.) There’s inherent virality on this mannequin, however that’s not the one progress driver; TikTok “performed an necessary position,” Comar stated.

Picture Credit: ten ten

Ten ten’s obtain numbers have undoubtedly saved on rising in the course of the weekend: ten ten has been all around the French media recently. Not all the time with a constructive spin; French newspaper Le Figaro, for example, known as it “worrying.” “I used to be very stunned,” Comar stated. “There’s nothing “harmful” about ten ten!”

It’s not simply articles wanting on the app in a unfavorable mild; there’s additionally faux information circulating, Comar stated. “There have been some rumors going round that we had been a Chinese language app due to the title “ten ten” and we obtained wrongly accused of “spying” and “stealing information”…”

Ten ten will not be Chinese language, although. The corporate has been duly registered in France, since 2021, which means additionally it is topic to GDPR. Its present terms and conditions are formulaic, however point out that the workforce is within the means of writing higher ones. Extra importantly, the startup’s privacy policy is adamant about two factors:

  • All of your conversations are ephemeral, we are able to’t take heed to your dialog as we don’t even retailer them!
  • We’ll by no means promote your information!!

Apart from that call to not promote information, it’s unclear how ten ten will earn money. “We’ve loads of cool concepts on how we may monetize at a later level,” Comar stated. There’s little doubt that their present success will purchase them time — and assist them safe enterprise capital to get to that later level.

Requested if his startup already had or was within the means of elevating funding, Comar replied affirmatively. However, he added with a smiley, “we are able to’t actually disclose how a lot and [from] whom but.”

In response to TheTrendyType, French VC Hugo Amsellem indicated that though his agency Instinct isn’t one in every of these backers, he sees ten ten as half of a bigger pattern amongst French startups. 

For Amsellem, the frequent thread is that “France is king at standing recreation performs.” People are searching for to extend their social standing, and French entrepreneurs are completely happy to assist, whether or not that’s on the software program aspect BeReal, Yubo or Zenly, or on the {hardware} aspect with luxurious gadgets. 

It stays to be seen how lengthy ten ten can retain its cool issue, however its CEO is conscious that its present place is each privileged and fragile. Comar stated:

It’s exhilarating, it’s a sense that’s arduous to explain however that a number of fortunate ones have felt, it seems like every thing goes so quick and so gradual on the similar time, adrenaline combined with satisfaction, gratitude and duties, you are feeling huge and small on the similar time — You’ll be able to solely really feel this in shopper social, as a result of it might probably hit you while you least count on it and there’s no ceiling. However we’ve to maintain our heads on our shoulders, it’s only the start, the toughest is but to come back.

Comar and ten ten co-founder and CTO Antoine Baché have been sleeping little or no recently. A smiley-ridden e mail auto-reply warns that they’re “having points with our servers on account of an enormous variety of customers on the similar time,”  and “engaged on it day and night time to repair it as soon as and for all.”

Server pains apart, a generational hole is one hurdle that ten ten must navigate neatly. Greater than privateness, it’s typically the truth that ten ten is utilized by teenagers and in school rooms that’s being mentioned. “Whenever you learn these articles it seems like they’re speaking about some sort of new drug going round at school!” Comar stated.  

It’s simple to see why lecturers had been the primary adults to note the app. Since ten ten can bypass a lock display screen to play a message out loud, it may be used for pranks and create small disruptions in school rooms. However having to show cellphone hygiene isn’t new, and youngsters are savvy sufficient to determine it out, too.

In a French subreddit for lecturers, a discussion happened as as to whether members had had any issues with ten ten in school rooms. One participant famous that there had been “no main incidents up to now” regardless of the app “getting loads of consideration” at their faculty. However, that particular person added, “I ask the scholars to place their telephones on airplane mode.” (We haven’t reached out to confirm that this particular person is a instructor, however their profile appears to verify it’s the case.)

As an alternative of beginning a brand new ethical panic, maybe ten ten might be a chance for folks to marvel at the truth that a few of our favourite cultural artifacts are making a comeback; whether or not that’s cassettes, Dungeons & Dragons, or now, walkie talkies.

There’s just one small step from out of date to classic, and the success of ‘Stranger Things‘ seemingly helped. However app-based walkie talkies would get no precise traction if there was no actual use case round them. Comar thinks there’s, and that’s what impressed him.

“I’ve all the time had a bunch of shut associates, we discuss on a regular basis on a number of mediums, however I felt like all of them had some sort of friction,” he stated. “I needed us to have the ability to talk like if we had been all the time below the identical roof, like roommates: you simply pop of their room while you need to say one thing, if their door is closed you knock, if it’s open you simply discuss!”

Hopefully for ten ten, dad and mom will see the worth in that as effectively. Who is aware of, perhaps they will use it to say out loud that dinner is prepared. That’s, if their teen accepts them as a contact.

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