“There was an opportunity to help people with something of real value to share find their core audience.”

Yousheng Feng, Founder of Inke

Inke

Type

Social Network

Founder(s)

Yousheng Feng

Year Invested

2015

Investment Stage

Angel (Nov 2015),
Series A (Dec 2015)

Company Intro

Inke is China’s leading mobile live-streaming app. Leveraging a minimal and intuitive user interface (UI) in tandem with ultra-smooth live streaming technology, the app achieved viral success with the post-90s generation in China seeking a platform to entertain and express themselves. By offering users the ability to purchase and donate virtual gifts, the team drew on Chinese culture to create an ecosystem that offers users an incentive to create rather than just consume content. Inke is, in the words of AppAnnie, the first global player “to figure out how to monetize mobile live streaming,” having secured more than 50 million downloads in its first 15 months and powered up the global app revenue rankings for both iOS and Android.

Website

“We wanted to build a completely open platform with no brokers or managers between the host and the audience. There are no humans involved. Who is promoted is entirely handled by algorithms, so there are no agents who need a cut. That’s different from other platforms, which offer no hope to the 'average' person.”
Yousheng Feng, Founder of Inke

Yousheng (Inke)

"Brett is an advisor for Inke. He provides useful and proactive advice on how to deal with big finance, government relationships and overseas business. He wants to help grow Inke to be the global leader."

Brett (PurpleSky)

"Yousheng’s got real vision. He wants Inke to be for the masses, so that anyone can use it to demonstrate their talent. It’s a very egalitarian view. He wants to have the best platform but still keep it raw, and he’s figured out how to attract the right people."

The Story

Yousheng
After working in the music industry for 10 years or so, I still wanted to work in an entertainment-related field. The younger generation had switched from TV to mobile, and this was happening along with a rise in popularity of live-streaming apps. That’s where the idea for Inke came from.
Brett
There is definitely a generational aspect. Feng and his team tapped into what this post-90s generation of young people want: unvarnished, unpolished reality. The more raw and direct it is, the better.
Yousheng
We had a clear direction right from the beginning. We focused on young, educated urbanites in tier one cities in China. The clarity of our positioning made us stand out from the competition.
Brett
Inke were also the first to get everything right – the first to really create a network effect. The UI is simple and clean. The core IP was created by Chinese engineers. They also figured out how to make money flow in smoothly using China’s very mature mobile payments infrastructure.
Yousheng
From day one, Inke’s profit derived from the sale of virtual items, just like online games. Users can buy and send virtual items as gifts to whichever broadcaster they like, and the revenue is split between them and us. Advertising may be a possible choice in future or perhaps integrating e-commerce.
Brett
I was brought in to help craft Inke’s strategy into one that will succeed in the long run. I was very enthusiastic about the industry, and having helped build many businesses, as well as hiring new teams, all over in Asia, I thought I could help.
Yousheng
PurpleSky and Brett have exceeded expectations because they provide not just resources, but advice, experience and value. They're the most interactive VC Inke has ever met.
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