In this digital age, communication is easy, you just need to be connected on the internet 24/7. Facebook has been around for fourteen years, Viber and Instagram for eight.
Good news, there’s another app we can use to send messages to our friends and loved ones.
This is Kumu, the newest Filipino App, it is a messenger app and media platform built by and for the Filipino community!
In many ways, Kumu is the product of a long process — a labor of love and countless hours of work contributed by an extended team of over 60 leaders from the Philippines, the diaspora, and the global tech community.
But we’re only beginning. We started discussing this idea six months ago; in comparison, There remains a massive but exciting gap between where we are and where we want to be.
We’re proud of what our team has built, and we invite you to join and help us build this from the ground up! This is our Digital Bayanihan.
What is this all about? Why do we need another messenger app? What exactly is Kumu?
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. Our video and voice call technology is powered by a unique real-time communications protocol that is optimized for low connectivity settings
We’ve worked hard to infuse Kumu with a voice and spirit that’s uniquely Filipino. Our 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 talent in the Philippines. We will take the same approach to our brand, our marketing, and everything that we do.
Stickers by Katsy Garcia, Team Manila, Toto Madayag, Neil Fernando, and Geraldine Sy.
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 our innate creativity isn’t just a matter of expression and inspiration — it’s also the key to surviving the next decade of disruption.
We’re building Kumu’s Explore tab as a platform for the digital creative economy in the Philippines. Beginning with our 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. Our curation team will ensure a diversity of voices that represent the best of Filipino talent, and our livestreaming 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, our digital savvy remains very separate from our 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, we’ll be releasing some solutions to make life a little easier. We want remittances, shopping, payroll, food delivery, and Balikbayan Boxes to be as fast and easy as posting a selfie. We want to make everything from day-to-day necessities to other products a more seamless part of the digital experience. For many of these services, we’ll be working with some of the best Filipino innovators to integrate their existing solutions into our platform.
Our 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 us to connect and be better together than the sum of our parts. But fast forward several decades and our internet infrastructure, too, has been dominated and throttled by a few multinational corporations. Our social media channels are rigged against us, selling the public conversation to the highest bidder.
At Kumu, our vision is to harness the full promise of the internet and digital technology to unlock the power of the Filipino people. We think 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. We want to be a platform for the future of the Filipino community, a Filipino renaissance that is rising and gaining momentum.
We hope you join us in getting there! We need all the Filipino spirit spirit and energy for the journey ahead.
Let’s start our Digital Bayanihan with Kumu.
Kumu is now available on the Google Play and App Store.