Briefly introduce yourself?
Dylan Verhave, Director at PeppaComm.
What is the name of your app and the story behind it?
PeppaComm – Comm is short for communication which is what we’re all about – The App was originally developed for sectional title complexes to eliminate WhatsApp groups and late-night pings over arbitrary items that form part of a day to day “issues” at complexes – e.g. Poor parking, leaking water pipes, electrical issues, general queries. Today the app has evolved into a complete information hub for any type of community, from churches to schools and corporates to event
What problem is your mobile application solving?
PeppaComm creates a single communication hub for a community and eliminates the need for email, text, print, telephone all this on a SaaS basis which is incredibly budget friendly. We’re basically saying, get your message/info out there and engage with people using the one thing we know they can’t put down – their smart phones.
What is the app’s Unique Selling Proposition?
Using a SaaS model, PeppaComm is a white labelled, mobile first communication tool and has made developing an app accessible to communities and groups that would not normally have the resources to build their own personalised app. To develop an app that has similar functions could costs hundreds of thousands, if not millions of rands. PeppaComm gives the client this same level of app for a monthly rental.
How is the app monetised?
The PeppaComm solution is generally sold either on a monthly license fee to smaller clients. Revenue share basis to larger communities with the potential for advertising and selling products through the platform.
Name the development team behind the app and their roles?
Our development is mostly done in-house with on occasion larger scale work being subcontracted out but all managed and overseen by our Development Director – Eugene.
Talk to us about the Minimum Viable Product phase, what features did you launch the app with?
We realised early on that we had a basic working product that could solve some problems for potential clients immediately. We then created a road map / wish list to add new features, the app gets updated and benefits all clients new and old.
Our initial version had: Media Repository, Messages and Notifications sent through Push Notifications and backed up via email, Polls and Surveys, Basic Service desk, Booking engine, Service listings with Ratings
Currently PeppaComm offers the above as well as: Ad Engine, Loyalty programs, Geo Location, Advanced Service desk with ticketing engine, Ability to Order food/beverages/products, Integration with Access control Systems, Parking Service integration, RSVP for Events with special orders, Calendar Sync with notifications and RSVPs done in the app, Social Feed similar to FB and Instagram with ability to follow, ability to push rich media such as video, images and documents to specific users, Booking engine for facilities, boardrooms and meetings
Walk us through your beta testing phase…how did you recruit users?
Initial clients were all through available networks, two of the first were from sectional complexes that we lived in for example. We then built on from there and used our user’s feedback to get to where we are currently.
What was the app’s breakthrough?
Once we started getting rapid uptake from some of our client’s user bases. Saw that app was becoming one of the main ways that these clients were communicating to their “people” we realised that we were on the right track. Just needed to keep building from our base that we had created.
What challenges have you faced in the life of app and how were they solved?
Challenges are constant, but some of the main ones would be user engagement. How do you keep your client’s users interested and engaged on the app without spamming them with info they don’t necessarily want.
Solved: each client is unique and their user base is unique so you need to dial into what their people want. At least, what we think they want – e.g. loyalty programs, offers unique to the app. Is it a directive from their boss to download the app, will they miss important news without the app. What do they (the user) need that can only be done if you have the app – e.g. booking boardrooms, ordering food from internal canteens, critical group documentations etc.
Other challenges include development challenges i.e. which way do you go first from a dev perspective without upsetting certain clients and trying to please others. Also when do you decide to develop your own stuff or just integrate and JV with other providers. These things are all time and money items. You need to be smart on where you invest both.
Also, what do you spend your budget on – Development work, Marketing, Resources, Support? These are daily challenges.
How many downloads has the app recorded to date?
Combined we have had over 100,000 users on our existing framework, but individually we have clients with as little as a few hundred, to larger groups with 4/5k per app. We’re currently involved in a JV with a large community which is expecting upwards of 500 000 users for one app.
What are the future plans for the app?
We’ve identified a few key markets that seem ready for us, so the immediate future will be pursuing these and starting to eliminate the segments that are tougher to sell into.
If you were to sell app today, what is the market value?
Right now our focus is purely on building on from our existing base, having fun doing it and focusing on delivering a world class product. Sale of the app and decent market values will take care of itself eventually.
How do potential users access the app?
Any community or group interested in engaging with their People/Clients/Staff/Students in a more meaningful and simpler way can contact me on Dylan@peppacomm.com for more info or they can check out our website www.peppacomm.com.