Indonesian Q&A platform Infonesia announced that it has secured a seed funding investment from international venture capital major 500 Startups over its Instagram account last Friday.
The deal for this investment has already been completed even before Infonesia launched its product. Though the app is currently out now, made available on the Google Play Store as of 16 May.
The startup offers a social network product that models after question-asking websites like Ask.fm and Quora, which have not been introduced to the Indonesian market. The app focuses on delivering the best value of knowledge and entertainment as well as proving a strong economic incentive for users.
That is, the app allows users to pose questions that can be directed at celebrities, public figures, or friends. These can then be answered by people selecting a question and posting a picture with an attached voice message.
Some respondents choose to post their answers for free. However, Infonesia can also make recipients pay to unlock the answer for a set price. Users have to pay to unlock the answer via a feature known as eavesdropping, which costs 1000 rupiah (about US$0.08). Payments from eavesdroppers are split evenly between the person who asked and the person who answered.
Ihsan Fadhlur Rahman, a former intern of Uber Indonesia founded the startup in August 2016 as a knowledge sharing platform that partners with notable figures in the entertainment sector to offer content for Indonesian audience at an agreed value.
The inspiration for the concept has its roots in a conversation by Rahman with a fellow postgraduate student while doing their MBA.
The development of the app only began in March 2017, as the Rahman explained that “between August 2016 and January 2017, I interviewed about 60 developers to find the right person to build this app.”
At the start of its launch, the app already has a handful of celebrities on board as “Hot Shot Respondents” – a concept which is similar to the official accounts on Instagram and Twitter.
“The entertainment industry is always exciting to talk about,” said Rahman. “At the same time, we are also trying to validate if the Indonesian public is comfortable with the payment methods we offer.”
The investment capital from 500 Startups will be used to expand its current team of seven people, focusing on hiring more developers. Besides, it will also fund brand development and client acquisition efforts.