The following interview is with one of the creators of the Wink! app.
1) Tell us a little bit about your company
Our company was founded in 2011 under the name “Evertale” with the vision of bringing advanced location technology into social networking – we saw a huge white spot there. More specifically we wanted to augment the experience of collecting and sharing memories.
As time has passed and our vision has evolved, we are now trying to create an app that is the easiest and most engaging way for you to share specific content with specific friends. Our product Wink! is in the App Store, and after a successful launch you can expect to see some major updates over the coming weeks, based primarily on the feedback we have received from our users.
We’re backed in two large rounds by first investors in Skype, Mangrove Capital Partners.
2) How did you get into the business of developing iPad/iPhone apps?
Our 3 co-founders are top-grade telecommunications engineers. During a break from our Masters studies a couple of years ago, we went travelling in Asia and came up with the original idea for Evertale. When we returned, we decided to quit our Masters, PhDs, and jobs at McKinsey and form a company. Our idea inspired Mangrove Capital Partners to invest significant funding, which has since led to the growth of a 9-man team featuring absolutely some of Europe’s top talent. (Including former Crytek, 6 Wunderkinder and Saxo Bank employees).
3) What makes your Wink! app stand out from similar apps?
Wink is a new social dynamic through photo sharing. Your photos will automatically and instantaneously get seen by exactly the audience they deserve, making uploading, downloading and tagging time-wasters of the past.
4) How did you come up with the name Wink!?
We like the idea that our app allows you to be completely yourself with your group of friends. If you and your friends use Wink on a night out, for example, you don’t need to worry that a rude, naughty or embarrassing photo is going to end up on Facebook where all and sundry can see it. There’s something playful and almost tribal about Wink, it’s between friends. The wink of an eye symbolizes this perfectly, its says; “This is uninhibited fun, and it’s just between us.” I’m not saying we’re Snapchat, because we’re not. Wink focuses on the group social dynamic.
5) Did the new iPhone 5, and it's improved camera, have any impact on the creation or the release of this app?
Not at all. People have been sharing lots of photos with each other since well before the advent of the iPhone 5. And our app is meant for people that want to share photos with their closest pals, independently of the quality of their cameras.
6) What's the target audience for the Wink! app, and why?
Our app is aimed at late high school and college students, we believe that they are the demographic most likely to regularly find themselves in fun, naughty, or risqué situations, where they might want to share photos of the experience with certain friends. However, we believe that anyone who takes photos on their smartphone has experienced the pain of not being able to easily share photos with specific groups of friends. Right now USB stick and e-mail are the only, cumbersome alternatives. You can do it on Dropbox, but there’s no social overlay whatsoever, and WhatsApp and other messenger services are far from optimized for photo-sharing.
7) Do you have any other apps currently being developed or any planned updates for Wink!?
We dedicate our time and resources entirely to Wink and we have some significant updates planned based on the feedback we received from users. We’re working principally on improving the first time experience a new user has, and removing any barriers to ease of sharing. These improvements are already designed and coded; you can expect a new, significantly improved release on a regular basis over the coming weeks.
8) What's some of the general feedback you have received from users about the Wink! app?
We interact regularly with our users. We carry out focus groups with high school students, have a “Give Feedback” button within the app menu, and e-mail regularly with power users. It seems that the concept of our app has been very well received; now we’re working on executing Wink in the best way possible. Several users highlighted that they want to be able to share photos from their camera roll using Wink, so we’re working on making that possible. We want to make sure that no one is left behind, so we’re also dedicating a lot of resources to making sure that Wink is completely multi-platform – this means an Android and Windows Phone release shortly. We don’t want to cut any corners on quality on these platforms; they’ll be ready when they’re as good as the iPhone version.
9) Other than your own apps, what is your favorite app?
Oooh, tricky question. I can’t just give you one, that’s like asking what’s your favourite song? Can I divide it into 3 sections?
The boring answer: The Gmail App. I had ignorantly been using Apple’s mail client until recently, and it’s like a whole new world has opened up for me. I’m proud of how organized my web Gmail inbox is, it has kazillions of labels, and I couldn’t believe how long it took me to make the switch on the mobile. I like the mobile UI, it’s familiar and neat. Some of my colleagues are always chatting about Sparrow, I tried it but wasn’t as impressed as I am with Gmail.
The truth: Whatsapp. For what it does, not how it does it. I live in a foreign country and have family in Australia, Japan and England. I use Whatsapp on a daily basis to share my life with them, and it’s a lifesaver. I think we can learn a lot from WhatsApp at Wink. In terms of UI, I think there’s ALOT of room for improvement, but I guess that’s no secret.
The dirty secret: Super Hexagon. The best game ever made, full stop. I read an article about it a while back and just had to get involved. Then I read this quote in a review on the App Store and knew I wasn’t the only one who had fallen in love: “Playing Super Hexagon is like staring into the soul of a sentient fractal universe. The you dance with it.” My record is somewhere around 71s right now.