THIS Valentine's Day, quite a few people in far-flung corners of the world fell in love with an app. Private sharing app Cupple, which was developed in Newcastle, had been around since the tail end of the year, but downloads really spiked in February after some major press outlets spread the word.
Cupple is designed to allow rich and private conversations between two people, enabling them to share pictures, locations and messages through a private and pleasant interface.
First, Apple featured the app on the new “Date Night” section of its App Store. Then the Wall Street Journal praised it for putting “a welcome premium on privacy” in an article on apps relating to love. Digital culture site Gizmodo also made it the App of the Day on Valentine’s Day. It’s also been included in a 50-strong list of the Best of British Apps, compiled by The Appside for the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
All this positive press caused a spike in downloads for the app, including a run of 2,500 in four days. It is now “well clear of 10,000 downloads”, according to co-creator Tim Allison.
“In the early days of the app, we noted that the majority of the interest was from the Netherlands, around 70% of downloads in fact.
“The press we got caused an increase in downloads of about 500% in five days, and the US is now the main user of Cupple. That’s obviously a great position to be there, because it’s a big market.”
Cupple picked up angel investment at the end of last year, which allowed it to develop the app further. The money has also helped to fund a trip to the annual South By Southwest conference in Texas, a huge internationally renowned event in which film, music and technology is devoured by thousands of visitors each year.
Allison will not be the only North East representative at the Austin conference this year. Others include Cramlington’s Palringo, Gateshead’s Recite, Newcastle’s Solo, Boldon’s Sharemyplaylists.com, Newcastle’s Happiest and County Durham’s Addiply.
He said: “There are so many blogs out there about how to make the most out of it. There’s so much going on.
“They’ve got a bit called Start-up Village going on this year, and the tendency is to sign up to everything in that. But I’m also looking to experience a more diverse range of things and give myself a bit of an education.
“I’ve not been to anything like this before, with the exception of Thinking Digital and a few smaller London events. I’m trying to strike a balance between getting the most out of it for getting the most out of it for me.”
The Cupple team has been soaking up feedback since the launch late last year, and is hoping to respond to a number of those points in Cupple’s version two. The second iteration has been sent to the App Store for approval, and Allison hopes it will be available for download imminently.
He said: “We’ve made the sign-up process a little more-user friendly. We were perhaps a little over-cautious in making sure everything was protected and secure in version one, so we’ve made it a bit more seamless.
“We made version one so that a ‘share’ would feature a message, a picture and a location, but what we now understand is that people might just want to send one of those separately. We’ve also changed the design a bit so it’s a little friendlier. It feels a little bit more like a memory board rather than a storage space.”
Cupple is also partnering with Foursquare to use its venue database on the site, and is offering packs of “stickers” which can be attached to messages between linked couples.
The Cupple app is currently only available on iOS, since the team is keen to make it as effective as possible on one platform before rolling out.
Allison said: “I’d love to see it as a web app and an Android app eventually. But we want to make sure it’s as good as it could be on iOS first.”