From Japan, Phewtick is a very interesting mobile app that earns you real cash just for meeting people. But why would they pay you, just for meeting people? The Phewtick team believes that meeting new people enriches your life. New people have the opportunity to grow into your best friend or lover, who knows? So Phewtick wants to encourage more serendipitous moments and they believe that a good incentive to get out of your comfort zone and meet new strangers is to pay you.
I found it a bit hard to believe, but I had a chat with Founder and CEO Kaz Naya, to see how it really works.
Firstly, users are shown other users around them though a location based function. The list of people shows where they are and how many points they have and it is these points that you want to collect. After identifying someone around you with a lot of points, you must meet them physically and use your smartphone to scan their QR code.
After scanning their code, a new game will be launched. Being typically Japanese, the game is very cute and simple. The game shows a cat underneath a line of fish with different points, ordered from highest to lowest. The fish will then randomly switch around quickly. When you click ‘jump’, the cat will jump up and catch a fish with a corresponding amount of points, which you earn. These points then accumulate to equal the amount of cash you can earn. 1000 points = USD$1, so if you have 10,000 points you can actually get US$10 in cash. To cash out, you can choose whether you get paid into you bank account, PayPal or Alipay account.
It seems rather selfless to help people so much, but of course Phewtick needs a business model. Having raised enough Angel funding to last two years, the company is not too concerned about generating revenue. For the first two years, the money that gets paid out to users will come from advertisers. Phewtick will ask users to click or look at more ads to build up a bigger cash pile to pay out. But after two years, Phewtick wants to generate the cash pile through venues that want to drive traffic to themselves. For example, a restaurant can ‘purchase’ 100K points and these points must be achieved at their venue. This solves the restaurants problem of how to bring customers to their stores and gives strangers an opportunity to meet.
There are of course many questions about how the whole meeting thing works. Firstly, you can either decide to meet someone with the highest points or the most interesting profile. User profiles are sucked in through connecting with Facebook, Ren Ren or Weibo. This allows you to see if someone is interesting enough. To stop people playing games and getting money from the same person, the game only allows you to play with the same person after a 12 hour window.
The team started together five years ago but after many failures and pivots, Phewtick is the latest iteration that started a few months ago.
They plan to publish the app on app stores in two months.
Since I like meeting new people, I think this app can earn me some good spare money!