Askem is helping users get answers to their questions via their target networks
Askem, the Israeli startup and developer of a visual based questions platform for Mobile networks, has completed a $550K round of seed funding. The round was led by Tal Barnoach together with investors, Joey Lau and Ming Haung. The current round is mainly designed to stabilize the company while helping them bring their application to mass market.
One of the major problems that exists today in social media, is the ability to get a definitive answer when asking questions. For example, if you’re shopping and you’d like to know which of two possible shirts looks better on you, or what dessert people recommend at a given restaurant – posting your question on one of the usual social networks is likely to give you a long list of conflicting responses, getting you nowhere in your decision making process.
Enter Askem, an application, currently designed for iPhone users, that helps you not only to ask the right questions in a fun and visual way, but also, helps you sort through the mess of answers you receive in a way where the ‘right’ answer stands out clearly among the rest.
To use the application, you simply select an existing image or upload one to your album, select the relevant question type for what you need answered, upload the image to the existing internal social network application, and you’re done. In addition, you can share your question on other social platforms as the app uses HTML5 coding. This also allows users without an iPhone app to add their two cents to the conversation, as well.
After users express their views, you can see the percentage breakdown of voting , and actually understand where the preferred choice lies across respondents. For example, you’ll know that while 20 percent of your friends prefer dessert with chocolate, 80 percent recommend this particular vanilla – and thus effectively help you make an informed decision based entirely on your network.
Only after users vote on a question can they see how others voted on the same issue. This way, according to the company, the asker will receive the true opinion of each user, untainted by peer pressure.
The results presented offer more than just broad voter percentages, they also offer the option of breaking down percentages based on friends or even gender. With each photo, users can click on the ‘Rock-On’ icon (the gesture equivalent of Facebook’s thumbs up for ‘like’) and/or leave comments explaining why voted how they did.
Not just for the kids
Askem, founded by Itai Herman, Zeev Rubinstein, Tomer Zakai and Jonathan Hemi, is part of the second cycle of the Microsoft Azure accelerator program. The app itself officially launched only a month ago, and despite its short shelf life, has already been able to gain some momentum, especially in the U.S. market where the company is directing most of its marketing efforts.
Askem made it clear that their goal is not to compete with Instagram or other photo services, but to help users get a definitive answer to their social questions, in a well-designed, inviting and more interesting format than they could have ever done before. In fact, far from competing, Instagram photos can be uploaded directly to the application.
Askem plans to continue to develop and expand its services, and offer a similar format designed for businesses, helping them get market insights about their target audiences. For example, restaurants can ask whether customers prefer Coke or Pepsi, clothing brands will be able to understand what’s hot and what’s not for the season, and even gadget makers can use the platform to figure out on which side users prefer to wear their Bluetooth headsets.