Hello Pal International (CSE:HP), a mobile messaging, language learning, and travel application company based in Hangzhou, China, with its international headquarters in Vancouver, has jumped from a ranking of 880 to 95 in the coveted Singapore market.
The Hello Pal app was conceived and developed by Malaysian-born, British-educated CEO KL Wong, working with Chinese venture capitalist Hans Xu, whose Margin Venture group manages over US$3 billion in funds.
Hello Pal launched on the CSE, and simultaneously closed a heavily oversubscribed financing round, raising gross proceeds of $1,800,000, well over the originally announced $1 million.
The app allows users to find and communicate with people globally, making it both a language learning tool and something like a location-based social network.
Earlier this month, Hello Pal added voice and video calling features to the app.
“Voice and video calling is a key feature for us, as it allows conversations between users to be more personal,” said KL Wong in a recent news release. “We hope this takes us one step further towards helping to break down language and cultural barriers between people, in line with our corporate mission.”
More or less organically, with a negligible marketing budget in the low $10,000s, the popularity of Hello Pal has grown recently to 620,000 users (566,000 Android, plus 53,500 iOS), and has been adding at a rate of 3,500-4,000 new daily users.
Hello Pal is betting on the social aspect being a key driver in its popularity, as compared to language learning platforms such as Rosetta Stone or Rocket Language, which are more about interactive but isolated learning experiences.
Rosetta Stone has experienced some bumps in the road of late, and its popularity, particularly with the consumer segment appears to be waning. The company’s recent Q2, 2016 results saw revenue fall 11 per cent to $45.7 million, as the company lost $9.0-million. But CEO John Hass insists the rough patch is temporary.
“Our team has been hard at work building a more focused and efficient business that delivers world class products and learning solutions for our customers while allocating capital and resources to the best opportunities for shareholders,” he said following the quarterly results. “It is increasingly clear that we are on the right path and we are delivering on our promise to bring the Company back to profitability.”
Hello Pal allows users to use practical phrases in real-time, with in real settings with real people, something that Google Translate et al. also allows users to do, but without the added value of the social experience that Hello Pal encourages.
To encourage growth, Hello Pal plans to usher in paid VIP memberships on monthly, quarterly or yearly plans, with the VIP experience offering features such as full phrasebooks, no translation limits, and an overall more premium experience for the user, with other fee based add-ons such as stickers and premium phrasebooks available to both subscribers and non-subscribers.
KL Wong was recently featured in a Chinese documentary called “Global Chinese”, produced by Zhejiang TV.
Disclosure: Hello Pal is an annual sponsor of Cantech Letter.