I’ve noticed that in the past year I’ve drastically changed my messaging behavior; with applications like Kik and GroupMe, the mobile messaging experience is finally becoming sophisticated. Personally, I use Kik to message my brother in Toronto, who - with the time difference and both of our mad schedules - can see my messages at his leisure, and I’ll know when he’s read it. How intuitive is that? And GroupMe so elegantly solves the “are we all on the same page?” conundrum in group planning. Aside from the addition of MMS, there have been no improvements in the traditional SMS experience for years; I wouldn’t be surprised if the carriers have something to do with this lack of innovation. Leave it to the little guys to stir the pot.
I’m delighted to announce that we have just invested in Kik along with Union Square Ventures and RRE. My colleague Andrew Parker led this investment for us and wrote down some thoughts behind this investment. Fred also has a post up as well.
I don’t think SMS is the answer. It’s not reliable and it’s missing things that I want to see like status of a message (with Kik you can easily see if when your message is sent, delivered and read. I love that).
There are apps that bring more sophisticated messaging to iPhone and Android, like Skype for example.
But Skype was created in the days of desktops and Skype was born as a P2P client. You can see desktop behavior even when you use their mobile app. Here’s a recent screen shot i took of my Skype buddy list from my iphone.
As you can see most of my Skype friends are “offline”. The most notable thing is from my friend Nabeel where he writes “out of office, send me an email” as his skype status update. Yikes.
Mobile experiences don’t resemble the desktop at all. The first day I met Kik’s founder, Ted Livingston, he emphasized how different mobile is and how there is no such thing as offline vs online. With mobile you are connected. Period.
With that instinct, Ted and his team have created a fast and beautiful messaging app. You can use Kik for private 1:1 messages. And a new version was updated today in the app store is now even faster and brings new capabilities like photo sharing and groups. All in a very simple and clean user experience.
I started out as a user and I’m now happy to also be an investor!