An interview with Alexander Kachanovskiy, COO of Gem4me - discussing the business, competitors and overall ideology
Greetings Alexander! It was recently published on gem4me.com that the Gem4me application turned 4 years old. Please tell us more about your project. Firstly, why did you choose this name?
We were striving for the name to fully depict our vision for the application: convenient, useful and offering an ability to earn - a true gem. We reviewed several dozens of options and finally agreed on Gem4me. First part being - Gem, and the second part - 4me, resulting in a rather symbolic name.
Does the countdown start from the moment the application’s idea was created?
No, the countdown starts from the moment the first native version of the application was released for the Android platform. The iOS version was released in August of 2016, slightly later.
What are the achievements of the past 4 years?
We’ve accomplished quite a lot over the course of these 4 years! As of today, Gem4me is operating in 17 languages and is used in 163 countries of the world. Moreover, we have more than 12 million downloads and each month we receive several hundred thousand new users. We have major goals. We are striving to create a global application that will be popular all over the world. Furthermore, we have all that is required to attain this notion - a professional team of developers and an experienced international team that manages the project.
Please discuss the application in further detail for those who haven’t heard about it.
Gem4me - is a messenger that contains all the traditional messenger functions (chats, group, voice calls, stickers, conference calls). Voice calls and conferences are already operating, while video calls will be introduced in mid-June, followed by video conferences approximately one month later, as well as, the screen sharing functionality shortly after.
Overall, we will finalize the technological development of the messenger in accordance to “industrial standards” by the end of this year. As the result, Gem4me will offer all the functionality that modern users are accustomed to in other messengers, and, in some cases, even superior functionality compared to other alternatives.
Superior functionality? Let’s discuss this notion in further detail. There are many messengers, although, the differences in their functionality are almost imperceptible most of the time. What are you able to offer in order to make your application truly stand out?
We have many ideas, although currently we are focused on only one - creation of the marketplace functionality. Any Gem4me user will be able to promote and sell his or her products and services in the application. We named this commercial platform MarketSpace (as it unites people from all over the world) and have been actively testing it for the past few months. MarketSpace will be initially launched on North American and Russian markets - we are estimating to start operating on these markets in June, while we will continue implementing the platform in Europe, Asia and South America as well.
You didn’t mention Africa!
We will also operate in Africa, not everything at once!
Marketplaces are everywhere nowadays. Why do you think that people will use Gem4me and not a dozen of other platforms?
Firstly, because the platform is convenient. The messenger portion provides major advantages for the marketplace by providing much more convenient and prompt interaction between merchants and buyers. Moreover, another advantage is our user audience: millions of potential buyers from all over the world. This is our significant difference from dozens of “regional” marketplaces.
The idea by itself is rather attractive. However, will it work?
A similar idea is already operating. Simply take a look at WeChat, a Chinese messenger which contains a commercial platform and infrastructure for payments and transfer of monetary funds between users. This messenger is extremely popular, although it operates only within China. We are striving to further improve the combination of a messenger and a marketplace on the global scale, allowing for sellers from various countries to create their own markets and find buyers either in their countries or beyond their borders.
Are you not afraid that competitors - other messengers could potentially take over your idea? You must understand that you are operating in a highly-competitive market sector that is developing faster than others?
Being afraid of competition is an amateur approach to business. Competition needs to be respected and even appreciated: it is a driving force of any business. There are, of course, ideal cases when someone invents something truly innovative and revolutionary, thus becoming a leader of a particular market sector. For example, Segway with its remarkable self-balancing scooters. It was truly first on the market and benefitted from this aspect immensely. Although, does that mean that this is the only company to offer products of this nature today? Not at all, as of today self-balancing scooters are manufactured by dozens of companies from all over the world, and it is by far not definite that Segway Inc. is the most successful out of them all. Does competition help Segway Inc. to continue developing in this market sector? Yes, undoubtedly so, as no company can afford not keeping up and not reacting to the actions of their competitors.
Although, new products emerging on the market today are most frequently just improved versions of already existing products, or even compilations of two or more products on the market in a new entity.
All of this is great, and yet, there still is a global issue. There are plenty of messengers in the world already. Why another one? Even if it has a broadened functionality.
Each time I am asked this question I always remember the history of Google’s creation. There were already dozens of search engines online back when Sergey Brin and Larry Page decided to develop one of their own (which launched the creation of IT-giant Google), some of the most popular being AltaVista, maybe some may still recall it. So what happened next? AltaVista has permanently ceased its operation in 2013, but what about Google? I think you are well-aware of Google’s success by now.