Home » Technology » Is this Pakistani entrepreneur’s startup going to dethrone Instagram?
Aug
09

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Time to unfollow her too, I thought.

You know what I’m talking about. Don’t you just hate it when you follow someone on Instagram for their innovative, quirky posts, only to realize a few weeks later that they’ve sold their soul to the devil and stooped to just doing paid reviews? Let’s be honest: content’s looking pretty shoddy now on the mammoth photo-sharing app.

Splore is here to to challenge that very feature — to make sure that their users thrive on quality content rather than star power. This hot new app on the block lets people follow hashtags of interest rather than people, so you’re sure to have a feed that’s basically tailor-made for you, filled with material that excites you.

Talking to Images, Mustafa Zaffer, one of the eight team members behind Splore explains: “We felt this was THE idea because it was solving various genuine problems that exist in the follower/following social media system, like that of users being limited to viewing content only from the people they follow or of fake engagement, namely fake accounts liking/commenting on your photos.”

From L-R: Yifan Zhou (CTO), Samy Abbas (Head of Product and Design), Chris Karimian (CEO), Mustafa Zaffer (Head of Business Development & Partnerships), Ben Swinford (COO), Keith Alva (App Designer)
From L-R: Yifan Zhou (CTO), Samy Abbas (Head of Product and Design), Chris Karimian (CEO), Mustafa Zaffer (Head of Business Development & Partnerships), Ben Swinford (COO), Keith Alva (App Designer)

“The feed on Splore is different because its structure is so different. You follow hashtags, like #art or #music and communities are formed as a result of that. Then people post photos into these communities and the best content of each community trends to everyone in that hashtag group.”

“On Splore, there are no requirements to getting a lot of likes. By simply posting good content, you are guaranteed to get a lot of exposure,” he adds.

When you first download the app, you’ll notice it plays out and looks a lot like it’s nemesis; Zaffer insists the similarities are intentional.

“We wanted to give users a familiar interface to navigate though. By keeping the same five-tab model, people know exactly what every tab’s function is. We differ because our photos are in parallax, our comment system is more robust, and through our algorithm, which works differently obviously,” he explains.

Following hashtags instead of people means you have an infinite stream of photos
Following hashtags instead of people means you have an infinite stream of photos

Psst: parallax means your mother won’t try to unsuccessfully zoom into the picture like she does on Instagram and “accidentally” like that 43 week old picture of that family friend you were stalking. The parallax effect creates a sensation of depth, creating a faux-3D effect and makes for an interesting browsing experience.

Splore’s comment section is also unique; users upvote comments, which gives the incentive for users to indicate which comments are the most important to the original poster. Moreover, comments are layered, so users can track conversations occurring in the comment section.

That being said, no promises about mothers not accidentally upvoting pictures!

Their newly released version has taken into account all the feedback the team received in their soft launch phase
Their newly released version has taken into account all the feedback the team received in their soft launch phase

Now that Instagram is setting it’s sights on trying to become Snapchat, could Splore swoop in and dethrone the photo-sharing app, especially because the pictures on it are better quality?

With nearly 4000 downloads in the last 4 months, they’re currently looking to market the app more to the main public, with the 2.0 release.

Like a proactive start-up, the Splore team has been all ears to constructive criticism regarding the clarity of the app, which has become one of their focal points for their latest version.

At the ripe age of 22, the University of Southern California grad is holding his own in the start-up shark tank. Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, I ask.

“You’ve got to remember your goal is to get validation for your product, build it, get customers, then make revenue. When you are starting a company your most valuable asset is time. It is important to believe that you are the smartest person in the room and everyone is as smart as you.”

Currently, Splore is only available on the Apple App Store but fret not Android users, a Google Play Store version is in the works and should see the light of day in a few months.

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