Indonesia is a fast growing market for the technology scene, boasting a rich and diverse culture with a variety of innovative ideas. With conferences and startups rapidly sprouting up, the island nation is prepping itself to become one of Asia’s largest hubs for innovation (read Daily Social or Tech in Asia). Especially when it comes to social interaction, Indonesians are particularly keen to share their thoughts and ideas with each other, and though many speak English, they much prefer the local Bahasa when interacting online. Enter Mindtalk, a new social platform that focuses on bringing people together to share their interests in a variety of creative new ways. The team has already managed to get its network pre-installed on phones such as Nokia’s Lumia 610, and Mindtalk will soon be moving out of beta and expanding abroad.
We asked Danny Wirianto, Founder and CEO of Mindtalk, what he had in mind for the startup and the philosophy behind its features. Danny will be speaking at GMIC SV this October.
The following is an edited version of the interview.
What is Mindtalk? How did you decide on the name?
Mindtalk is a social platform based on interests where you can share and meet with similar minded people.
It provides a free tool for users to share their “minds” in a variety of formats, including text, photos, videos, slides, questions and deals using a gamification system to engage users.
Users have the ability to create channels based on their interests and engage with people with similar interests in a fluid, real-time manner. Later on, there will be a very unique monetization model where the users can also receive income from their channels.
Additionally, Mindtalk provides a platform for applications (working with 3rd party developers) such as games, utilities, rich media players and others.
The name is derived from our observation about what happens to us every day. When we are thinking, actually we talk to ourselves in our mind. Most of the time, what we see, hear and experience in everyday life will influence us to think and talk about it to others. Mindtalk basically represents what we want to talk about in our mind.
As a social application, what makes you different from say Facebook or Twitter?
What we do is a very different from Facebook. Facebook focuses on the social graph, or on people that we know. Mindtalk is focused on interest graph, or on what we like. In Mindtalk, we put a heavy emphasis on topics of interest which cater to the channel. Some say Mindtalk is a forum 3.0, blog 3.0 or group 3.0 that enables people to express what interests them.
What are your favorite features of Mindtalk?
In Mindtalk you are able to create a channel in an instant and have the power to customize and moderate it. Channels are similar to Rooms in IRC, sub-forums in a Forum, Groups in a Mailing list, or Blogs. Channels allow people to broadcast their mind in variety of formats and gather their own crowds to share their thoughts on a particular subject.
We also like the gamification level score. It helps us to see how out thoughts fit in with or can gain the approval of others.
How does Mindtalk integrate with Twitter and improve on its functions?
Mindtalk uses Twitter’s single sign-on and also allows Mindtalkers to share to their Twitter account in an instant.
Being located in Indonesia, what is the largest distinguishing characteristic about the market that you have to take into account?
Indonesia and the Southeast Asian market loves to chat and share. People like to relay what they see, hear, know and believe to others in the quickest way possible. Also Indonesians love to speak in Bahasa even if they can speak in English; therefore, we use the localized language to help penetrate the market.
What is your target market?
As a target audience, we aim to attract the 18-25 year old population. The countries we target are strong in forum usage and prefer local languages over English.
How do you monetize?
We monetize through several channels.
2. Virtual currency
3. Virtual merchandise
Do you have expansion plans?
Yes, we plan to expand to international markets and set up with joint venture companies in several countries that hold potential in this market.
Where do you see your company going in the future?
We want to empower local cultures and languages while preserving the uniqueness of every country. We also want to help local developers go global by recognizing their work in each region. We plan to be present in several countries with localization of the language, content, and apps of the location.
What are your expectations for GMIC SV?
I hope to be able to introduce Mindtalk to people in overseas markets and also to meet with several people who can advise us on scaling and penetrating international markets.