The Public Beta version of Kumu is set to launch via download on the App Store and Google Play Store. A messenger app and media platform built by and for the Filipino community, Kumu is more than just a labor of love.
Countless hours of work were contributed by an extended team of over 60 leaders from the Philippines, the diaspora, and the global tech community just to create Kumu. And to know more about Kumu, let me share with you some facts.
1. A localized communication app for the Filipino people
Localized messenger apps are taking over Asia. Part of it means designing for the realities and constraints of digital communication in Philippines. Kumu’s video and voice call technology is powered by a unique real-time communications protocol that is optimized for low connectivity settings.
Kumu is infused with a voice and spirit that’s uniquely Filipino. Its stickers are one example of this — saturated not only with Filipino language and slang, but also an undercurrent of Filipino history and mythology, all rendered in vivid color by some of the best artistic talents in the Philippines. The same approach will be used for the brand, marketing, and everything that Kumu does.
2. A media network for the next generation of Filipino creativity
Filipinos are some of the most creative people in the world. But historically, that creativity hasn’t been given the right platform to flourish. People leave the country to be Broadway actors and musicians. The local media landscape remains monopolized and insular. Tapping into every Pinoy’s innate creativity isn’t just a matter of expression and inspiration — it’s also the key to surviving the next decade of disruption. Thus –
Kumu’s Explore tab is being built as a platform for the digital creative economy in the Philippines. Beginning with its livestream network, Kumu Explore will be the home to artists, journalists, students, vloggers, historians, musicians, comedians, and all kinds of creative talent from across the global Filipino community. Its curation team will ensure a diversity of voices that represent the best of Filipino talent. Its live streaming technology will enable a deeper level of interaction and engagement than anywhere else.
3. A digital economy of services that make life easier in the Philippines
The Filipino people are naturally viral. Makati was once named the selfie capital of the world, and the Philippines was ranked #1 in terms of average time spent on social media.
But for the most part, Pinoy’s digital savvy remains very separate from their day-to-day economic needs. Filipinos in the Philippines still have to line up each payday to get their money from the bank; Filipinos abroad still use remittance services with hidden fees and unreasonable exchange rates. The cash economy, which remains king, is a very expensive way of doing business.
Later this year, Kumu will be releasing some solutions to make life a little easier. It aims to make remittances, shopping, payroll, food delivery, and Balikbayan Boxes to be as fast and easy as posting a selfie. It pushes that everything from day-to-day necessities to other products a more seamless part of the digital experience. For many of these services, Kumu will be working with some of the best Filipino innovators to integrate their existing solutions into our platform.
Kumu’s goal is to unleash the economic power of one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
4. A movement to take back our internet and unlock the power of the Filipino community
When the internet came about, it promised to be a great equalizer, a way for Filipinos to connect and be better together than the sum of their parts. But fast forward several decades and the internet infrastructure, too, has been dominated and throttled by a few multinational corporations. Social media channels are rigged against us, selling the public conversation to the highest bidder.
At Kumu, its vision is to harness the full promise of the internet and digital technology to unlock the power of the Filipino people. It thinks that the internet can build stronger communities rather than divide them, make life easier instead of distracting us from what matters. Digital media can inspire us and broaden our imaginations. Kumu hopes to be, more than any single thing, a vehicle to make these possibilities real. It wants to be a platform for the future of the Filipino community, a Filipino renaissance that is rising and gaining momentum.
And Kumu hopes you join them in getting there! They need all the Filipino spirit and energy for the journey ahead. They encourage that we start our Digital Bayanihan with Kumu.