It has been about two years since the Pakistani chat startup – ZapBuddy – made an appearance in the monopolized chat market and rose up to the big players.
Made by a small team of developers distributed between Melbourne and Islamabad and working from their basement garage, the whole project was self-funded by the team and the revenue model did not rely on selling user data or ads.
The app had some unique features that were patent-pending, addressing encryption, data security, privacy controls, Augmented Reality, etc. A major thing going in their favor was the fact that data selling was not a part of their business plan and that could give relief to privacy-focused users.
We had reviewed the startup ZapBuddy before and were impressed by their work done, especially for challenging to create not only a competitor to the likes of WhatsApp, but also create something new with Augmented Reality and maps built-in as a part of its core function.
The startup sounded promising and apart from the focus on privacy, the team had focused on betting Augmented Reality as a key part of their chat. At that time, it was only limited to viewing maps something similar to what Google Maps had also shown sometime later.
We had actually covered this functionality before Google’s event so that was something exciting to see where a local startup’s view of AR was also seen to be implemented in the likes of Google Maps.
There were other small privacy-based features that we also liked such as display picture privacy for different sets of users that we found very intriguing and liked their approach to adding something to the mix.