In a nutshell, what is Cuckuu and how did the idea come about?
Cuckuu is a free mobile app for iOS and android. It uses something that people use almost every day, an alarm clock. By using something that we are so used to and giving it a twist to make it social and fun, we created a complete new way for people to feel part of a community and never miss out on anything that is important to them.
By using antecipation and creating interactions before, during and after the moment of the event, we are making sure that people don’t have to feel alone anymore.
The idea started with the problem that my partner had about waking up. Every day he would struggle, and we wanted to find a fun way to do this. But then it also happened that my daughters moved to the UK. When this happened, I realised that the simple moments in life that I never gave a lot of value, like waking up together in the morning, being there for the dance competitions, all this was hard to maintain.
So we started looking at everything in life and understood that in the age of social media and social networks, people feel more alone than ever, they miss a community that is there at the moments they need it the most. All around the world there are people doing the exact same thing at the exact same time as us, so why are we doing it alone?
How do you propose to fight the snooze button?
It’s all about community, it’s all about keeping you curious. Social interactions and anticipation are key.
As soon as you create or join a cuckuu you are part of a community with the same pain as you, people that want help and want to help you make this moment something more.
So a chat room is created for this event and everyone that is part of it can share photos, videos, comments and anything they want, to create buzz and expectation. Then, when the time comes, by just pressing one button you get connected to every single person at the same time and you all get a piece of content that was shared by the cuckuu creator. After that, the chat room stays live for seven days and people can share their feedback and experience.
Knowing this, you will never press your snooze again because you don’t want to miss out.
How do you set yourself apart from the competition of all the social apps out there?
We are unique. A lot of social apps are just about sharing seconds of your life with whoever cares. We are about sharing moments with the people who care the most. We give importance to your content. For us, what people want to share is like a Christmas present, people know it’s there, they get excited and want to know what it is, but only on the day and time you set can they open it. This creates something that no other social network does, a collective memory.
Also, we make sure that the time is the right time. If you are a food blogger, you want to share your content worldwide just before lunch. With cuckuu you can set it to 12 o’clock in every single city in the world, so the content stays relevant.
Helping brands reach consumers is a big part of your model. How has this been working?
It’s been amazing. We can honestly say that until now we don’t have one brand saying they don’t see the benefits. We closed partnerships with MTV, Fitness Hut, Boux Avenue, Portugal Fashion, Nova University, Bounce, several content creators, and are now in talks with Manchester City, Benfica, NOS, RTP, Media Capital, Fox Portugal, and will be very soon starting with Expresso and Visão.
The biggest challenge is the chicken and egg kind of issue. We still have a small number of users, so its harder to get brands to be fast to use cuckuu, and we have to speed up growth of users by getting more content.
What are your growth goals for the remainder of 2016?
We don’t think small, we have big goals. We want to get to at least 200.000 users by end of the year. We also doing a new round of funding, and we are counting on closing it before September. With this investment we want to make our position in the UK market a lot stronger.
What’s your take on the Portuguese startup scene today?
I think it’s growing. There are good people in it and a lot of companies trying to help, but we still have a lot to do and we have to make sure that we learn with who went through this before. It’s very easy to get illusions and think it’s all easy and everything is done.
We have been traveling around the world. In the last year I have been in 60 trips all over the world and met thousands of people, and I realize how good we are. We are talented and very innovative, but having a powerful engine with no way to drive it is useless.
The community needs to understand why places like Silicon Valley made it. They all help each other, they all ask for feedback, they meet, they listen, and they know they need each other. On that we can improve still.
What do you wish you’d have known when you first started?
I would like to have known a lot that I know now. But the problem is, not knowing made me make mistakes, mistakes that I will never make again. Mistakes are cheaper in the beginning. I wish I was more ready for how hard this is. Having a startup is the hardest job you will ever have. If it is not, you are not doing it right.
Find out more about Cuckuu at https://cuckuu.com/