How did Hiboo get started


Hi! I’m Matt, Co-founder and CEO of Hiboo! I am going to rewind the tape a bit and go back to the beginning, when the madness all started in the first place. I will describe with a personal point of view how our team began to work on this awesome product! Good old times!

Let’s start with a short introduction about what this app really is, by the way. Say hi to Hiboo, an instant messaging app that aims to bring more interactivity to text messaging and make it closer to real life conversations.

Meh, a n-th instant messaging app you might say? Not quite! Hiboo introduces asynchronous instant messaging, allowing you to see what your friend types in real-time. It also allows you to write while your friend is still typing! Isn’t it awesome? But don’t take my word for it, try it:

Gif Demonstration of Hiboo's Chat capabilities!

See the magic in action!


The beginnings

The original idea of Hiboo mainly came to us at TechCrunch Disrupt Europe Hackathon 2014, where we were brainstorming ideas and debating about which one to choose and work on. We were thinking about something catchy, cool and fun, and doable in 24 hours. We were thinking about how text messaging is slow to convey ideas sometimes. What about making it asynchronous? And the idea of Hiboo was born. We also felt it could be pretty awesome for a hackathon. So it was among the 5 remaining ideas that we had to vote for in order to decide which one to pick. The team didn’t pick it in the end and settled for InfectedFlight instead, a web app to model the spread of infectious diseases, such as Ebola. We did end up winning the hackathon, so I guess it wasn’t a bad decision! I wrote another article to describe our adventures in detail:

After the hackathon this idea still got stuck in Andriy’s mind and mine and we decided it could be very cool to push it further.

In the meantime I was still doing some Front-End Development / UI Design work as a freelance at Stylizit at the time, as I still had a portfolio of loyal clients in France starting other projects. I was also working part-time on a startup of my own: Dare To. As the name suggests, Dare To was an app designed to “dare” your friends to do something original and funny, rewarding them with cool badges and statuses.

At that time, Andriy just graduated and had to find something quickly because of his visa issues. He had to find a specific kind of jobs in order to extend his visa to stay in the UK, so the list of options was quite narrow. In the end he did find a way, but it implied that he had to fly back to Ukraine to come back in the UK 8 months later. He decided to join me before he left in Dare To and we had a couple successes with this one. We pitched several times at Facebook HQ as part of the top 10 finalists of a large app competition. But the timing was a bit off on our side, we were struggling to move fast and competitors popped up quickly. At that point we decided to put our focus on Hiboo instead. I was a bit reluctant to give up my baby that easily in the first place. But I saw so much potential in this and I was so surprised by the fact we hadn’t seen any competitor yet, that I eventually decided to make the move towards Hiboo.

We were now ready to dedicate our full spare time to Hiboo.