Facebook clone VKontakte may have established itself as a leading player among social-networks in the Russian market, but Meanwhile, which launched out of beta in April 2014 and already claims nearly 100K users for a “hyperlocal” platform that allows users to alert people to interesting events or things happening in their area.
The basic setup of Meanwhile’s platform will likely be familiar to anyone who has used other major social networks, as their mobile apps provide a timeline of events, a stream of photos, and section for monitoring your own activity (such as events “favorited”). The posts themselves are pretty simple, offering the location of the event, the time that it was posted, and the ability to “like” and comment upon it. The service is free to end-users, as Meanwhile’s monetization strategy is currently focused on businesses, charging them to advertise on the network. Ostensibly, the platform allows small shops and cafes to get their name out to people who may otherwise never hear of them.
Meanwhile has launched on Android and iOS and reception to the service appears to be quite positive thus far. The Android version of the service currently maintains a 4.1-star (out of 5) rating from 1,558 reviews, while the iOS version enjoys similar popularity (although there have only been 79 ratings given out for the latter). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the startup has thus far found the majority of its users in Russia’s two largest cities, with 68% based in Moscow and 20% in St. Petersburg.
CEO Ivan Chumak tells me that they have $100K in funding from a group of private investors and adds that they have signed a contract for an additional $100K. Having become a hit in Russia, they are turning their attention towards international markets, planning to test the service in the United States, South Korea, and Japan by the end of this year.