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“We tapped a development house for the beta version of the app.
We paid them Php100,000 but they were unable to deliver the full app.
“We started selling standalone apps in March last year, and already we have earned close to Php2 million.
We charge for as low as Php60,000 to as high as Php700,000 for the really complex apps,” she adds.
But Balace was not about to give up on Peekawoo just yet.
The full Peekawoo app was released in late 2016, and by end-2017, Balace says their number of users had grown to 46,000.
They pooled their resources together to raise Php60,000 as startup capital, covering the cost of hosting the website and allowance for four coders.
The initial concept was that of a chat roulette where you can talk to another member for free for the first five minutes.
By then, though, she found that location-based social search apps were unsatisfactory in helping her find the right match.
“Very few people at that time were developing chat platforms in the Philippines.
We could have outsourced it through a third-party chat program and it would have been cheaper, but we had to do our own because it is our core business for Peekawoo,” she says.
Users based in the United States account for almost 10 percent of the total Peekawoo population, followed by those based in the Philippines, China, Vietnam and Singapore.
About 70 percent of Peekawoo's users are female, a feat that Balace attributes to the media mileage that the app received as being run by an all-female team (they now have male team members on board).
After her Cebu-based first partner left to go to law school, Balace found a new partner, Mara Ang.