APP PROFILE: NOWSNAPP
Launched officially in 2018, Nowsnapp (www.nowsnapp.com/nz/) is an instant services app now available across New Zealand, Hong Kong and France. The app has a strong French connection. It was the brain-child of French entrepreneur, Laurent Guillon, who teamed up with partners and shareholders Emmanuel Gimeno (chief brand officer), Jérôme Daste (CTO), Jimmy Alanoix (business intelligence […]
Launched officially in 2018, Nowsnapp (www.nowsnapp.com/nz/) is an instant services app now available across New Zealand, Hong Kong and France.
The app has a strong French connection. It was the brain-child of French entrepreneur, Laurent Guillon, who teamed up with partners and shareholders Emmanuel Gimeno (chief brand officer), Jérôme Daste (CTO), Jimmy Alanoix (business intelligence director) and Brian Isaacs (GM business intelligence) and based them out of the Ka¯piti Collective, a co-working space an hour’s drive north of Wellington.
Nowsnapp allows for the uploading and acceptance of small jobs such as car washing, gardening, carpooling, all the way through to professional services such as photographers, hairdressers and professional trade services.
The app also encourages and supports independent earners to make a living, connects people with people in their community, and frees up time for busy professionals.
CTO Jérôme Daste is also French-born and was previously a Wellington-based IT consultant. He remembers receiving a phone call one day from Alanoix which would prove life-changing.
“I knew Jimmy, I’d partnered with him before. He was drafting the business requirements for Nowsnapp with Laurent. I found the project he was describing captivating, both in idea and challenge, and got on board. You know us developers, we love new ideas to work on!”
The potential for the app was plain to see.
“We wanted to know, why can’t you buy services the same way you buy products; in just a few clicks?” explains Jérôme. “And by just having a look around us?”
With Nowsnapp all you need is your phone, and you can order anything – on your own terms, he says. “It’s quick and convenient and corresponds to the ‘on the go’ lifestyle most people live today.”
The partners also believe that the business landscape is changing.
“The gig economy is growing; more and more people are either doing small jobs for their sole income, or supplementing their income with other small jobs,” says Jérôme. “We want to make it easier for people to earn extra money while being insured and able to report their earnings. Which is why Nowsnapp has features like recording your history of jobs and how much you have earned – making it easy to work out your tax obligations.
“Being a part of the gig economy lets people do extraordinary things that they wouldn’t normally do; meet people and connect with the community in ways they haven’t before,” he adds. “We also believe it’s great for social connections and well-being.”
The toughest aspect of successfully launching an app into the market is the evolution from the original concept on paper, through to what’s actually produced and how it ends up being understood and adopted by the initial users, explains Jérôme. “The human factor is probably the hardest to predict. You must be ready to adapt.”
The Nowsnapp shareholders believe the platform is all about creating a sense of community; people helping each other; and paying people fairly for their efforts.
You can see examples of this in how the app has been designed – from the real-time map full of people and banknotes that create a sense of nearness. The message is: there are always people nearby to lend a helping hand.
The avatars and profiles have also been designed to allow for expression of individuality and personality, explains Jérôme.
“Also the way we have launched the app has been very unique – focusing away from mainstream advertising and really working out how the app can help within each community.”
The partners decided to pilot the app out of Jerome’s hometown Ka¯piti, where there’s a supportive community of business professionals, influencers and supporters who wanted to see the app succeed.
“From the pilot, after a year in development, we were hoping for maybe 100 users on the map,” says Jérôme. “But within just six days we already had 700 users on the app. It was then we knew we had something pretty special.”
Simultaneously similar pilots were launched across Hong Kong and France, he adds. “Markets where our team are based, and today have close to 10,000 people signed up.
“We view all three markets as great opportunities for growth.”
He says the aim is to be the number one instant services app in New Zealand. “Within two years we should have a dedicated community who use the app as its intended – to get together and help each other. We hope that we can make an impact and make the communities feel a little bit closer.”
Successfully developing an app requires a strong brand identity – one that truly stands out, says Jérôme. “You also want fast access to the main features and to be playful, if possible. For us it’s [about] the map and its elements.”
Other “classic” advice for prospective developers is to work on the UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) and obviously a test launch to see how the concept works – for both the human factor and the technical aspects.
Being located in the Ka¯piti co-working space was a plus too, says Jérôme. “We were lucky to find the advice and help we needed right next to us. When developing the app we had no plan on how to market it. We were lucky to meet our PR agency under the same roof that could help us with a launch strategy.”
Funding for Nowsnapp has come via Laurent Guillon (who is now Hong Kong based but travels frequently back to New Zealand), the business’s executive group and some experienced business angels.
“It’s been important for us that the funding comes from sponsors who believe in our business and bring expertise, networks and advice to the table,” says Jérôme.