#Asia Wander pivots from travel app for singles to a social platform but will this strategy work?

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Instead of being simply a travel-buddy app the company aims to serve a wider audience with the pivot

Wander

When Krystal Choo, CEO and Founder of Wander, launched the first iteration of the platform last year, it was meant to help single holidaymakers find like-minded individuals to travel with, using a Tinder-style matching system. On its first month, the app garnered 25,000 matches, it also received a seed funding of US$500,000 last year.

Now, after rounds of user testing and feedback, it has pivoted to become a social app for singles, with the goal of serving a wider audience.

What makes the app stand apart from the likes of Tinder or Paktor is the ‘Group Chat’ function — which allows people to talk in broader interest categories and avoid (or at least put-off) the awkwardness of going from strangers to one-on-one chatting.

“We are a social app for singles because I personally think people are lonely; Wander helps people make friends easily over common interests, events and places. Unlike one-to-one conversations, group chat helps users ease into conversations because they can connect over a range of topics without any initial awkwardness,” Choo told e27.

A quick scan through Wander’s list of categories shows that it is quite eclectic. Not only does it feature the more common interest groups such as Pets, Cyclists or Foodies, but it also caters to niche interests such as Wes Anderson (the film director) fans, Retro Games and Banksy (the graffiti artist).

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Choo says the list came about through research on topics that were current, popular and trending.

Besides interest groups, there are also groups for events such as music festivals, as well as popular destinations.

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It’s been a month since it launched; so this writer created an account to see whether the app is as exciting as it sounds.

Similar to other matchmaking apps like the aforementioned Tinder and Paktor, it requires users to sign in using your Facebook account, write a short description of yourself, then select relevant interests.

In terms of users, it doesn’t seem to be lacking in the numbers department. The top ranking category – Foodies, has 3,376 members.

The main chatroom, which had 71 participants at the time of this writing (each category also allows the creation of sub-chatrooms in the addition to the main one) definitely had some chatter going on. But it wasn’t not exactly bustling either. Many of the user-generated sub-chatrooms also seem to suffer the same dearth of activity.

However, given that it has been only a month, it is too premature to gauge the success.

Choo says the team is still organically building its database of active users.

Future plans

In the immediate future, the team is focussed on ramping up product development.

“In our next update, we will be looking at visually stronger profile customisation, and more interactive and engaging chat,” says Choo.

Monetisation features are also in the works, in the form of premium accounts and even e-commerce.

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“We plan to monetise through premium accounts that give the premium user more visibility to, and of, other users, and if the community allows for it, conversational commerce where brands can provide value to communities right in the thick of a conversation with smart bots,” she says.

In the coming weeks, Wander will also start planning its Series A round.

“The A round will help us replicate successful groups across more lifestyle verticals, and in other major cities, and help develop Wander as a platform to be more meaningful and useful to our community,” says Choo.

The post Wander pivots from travel app for singles to a social platform, but will this strategy work? appeared first on e27.

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