Euijoong Lee, CEO of Amazer, worked by day and sang in a band by night for 10 years. He worked in marketing at Naver and as a CMO at SundayToz, a leading social mobile game developer. He also invested in bands, but unfortunately the results were mixed.
Amazer, a startup he founded, is a platform for ordinary people who want to amaze others. Anyone can share their videos and even enter challenging competitions. We met Euijoong Lee at Google Campus Seoul for a chat.
Platum: So you have released three albums?
Amazer: I dreamed to release albums since I was a student. I could not give up the dream, so I worked during the daytime and worked on my music with my band at night. My first job was to organize music, movie, and TV program content at Naver. Then I worked as a CMO at SundayToz until I founded Amazer.
Platum: Are you still involved with music?
Amazer: My musical career did not work out well. I always doubted that I should be in the music industry, butlater I established an entertainment company. I spent time working with bands after work.
Platum: You have experience in many fields. How did you decide to found a company?
Amazer: I worked at a tech company but was a producer at night. It sometimes confused me. I often did things at night that I was supposed to do during the day. I finally asked myself what I desired to do. Then I ultimately decided to create a platform where the IT and entertainment industries could be combined. So I left SundayToz last year and founded Amazer.
Platum: What is Amazer?
Amazer: The simplest explanation is that it is a dance battle app. People from all around the world can show off their talents by uploading videos and then acquire potential fans. The videos can also generate revenue. Fans get to compare two videos then pick their favorite by swiping a certain way.
Platum: How do Amazers(users) generate revenue?
Amazer: They can make money through a paid item called an ‘Amazer Coin’. When fans swipe and select a video from an amazer, the video uploader received one coin. Amazers can then exchange coins for cash.
Platum: Amazer coins must be the app’s main business model. What is the conversion rate?
Amazer: At the beginning, we used video competitions to maximize the revenue from coins. The competitions grew, so later Amazer was a top 10 revenue generator in the entertainment sector of the App store for a while. Some influencers encourage their fans via their social media channels to participate, so some individuals have spent thousands of USD dollars while using the app. However, we realized that raising the revenue through intense competitions might not be the best idea in the long run because we want everybody, not only influential people, to share their talents easily. So now we do not focus too much on the elements of competition which can potentially increase our revenue.
Platum: Have you found other ways to make money.
Amazer: Creating native advertisements through branded content will soon be possible. As different advertisements are naturally added on Facebook timelines, we can potentially insert advertisements of competitor brands in our UI. Some brands have contacted us.
Platum: Do foreign people use Amazer?
Amazer: It has been eight months since we released our app, and 35% of all users are from Germany and 30% are from the United States and Poland. As we originally planned to become a global service, we released the app in seven different countries. We received the earliest positive response from Polish people.
Platum: Why Poland?
Amazer: We began marketing mostly to K-pop communities overseas, and we got the quickest and largest response from Polish people. There are many users in other European countries like Germany, Italy, and France.
Platum: Are they mostly K-pop fans?
Amazer: There are three types of users. People who take a lot of selfies, people who lip-sync songs, and people who are in love with K-pop. K-pop lovers make up the majority of our users. When idol groups release new songs, fans upload cover videos even before we give them missions to complete. KoToe, an influencer on Youtube, also uploads content on Amazer.
Platum: First I thought video-making apps like Kwai or Musical.ly would be competitors, but sharing platforms like Youtube seem like real competitors to Amazer. Is that the case?
Amazer: I feel a lot of pressure when you say Youtube is our competitor. There are popular video-making apps like Kwai, Musical.ly, Snow, and Smule. Usually they emerge from large markets like the United States and China. People upload various videos and content on Amazer, which is very open to different types of videos.
Platum: Can you talk about the Amazer team?
Amazer: There are eight people in our team. Half of them are video professionals from Naver, and the other half are from SundayToz. Our team is well prepared to provide live services overseas. If you have enjoyed our app, it’s due to them. Over 300-500 videos are daily uploaded, and users evaluate videos over 6,000,000 times daily. Based on the data accumulated so far, we do data mining and provide suitable content to users.
Platum: How has your life changed since founding Amazer?
Amazer: It’s not much different. I leave home in the morning, I sit down, and I do my work. The only difference is that I was not able to challenge things I disliked when I was an employee of another company. As a founder, I am 100% satisfied with my life.
Platum: Are there any investors from which you would like to get investments?
Amazer: It is still tough for Korean startups to succeed overseas. Amazer was born to be a global service from the beginning, and we are eager to meet investors who could support us when we expand to new markets. While participating in the Google Campus Seoul program, we had a great time meeting international professionals who provided us feedback to apply directly to our service.
Platum: At last, what are Amazer’s short and longterm plans?
Amazer: In the near future, we aim to rank at the top of app stores in different countries in Europe and in the United States. Then we would like to see many talented people demonstrate their talents through the Amazer app so that people will use Amazer to find skilled young artists. We will keep things up, so please stay tuned.
(Top photo from 699pic.com)
This article, entitled “Interview: How Korean video sharing app Amazer became a hit in Europe”, was written in Korean by Platum, edited by AllTechAsia.