The Yo phenomenon

Yo, the coolest app of the moment reached the top of the Apple chart in a very short period of time.


Its story started in Tel-Aviv when Hogeg the CEO and founder of Mobli envisioned a simple app that would allow him to quickly and simply send a one-word notification to someone – Yo. Few days later and only after 8 hours of developing the idea, Arbel one of Mobli’s developer presented the result of his work.  Yo had been created.

The way Yo works is very simple. You have a list of contacts. You choose one of those contacts and they instantlysend them a notification simply saying “Yo” along with an audio alert of the word being spoken. The app is being described as a context-based messaging app that you can understand according to the context and when it has been sent.

“The simplest and most efficient communication tool in the world. Yo is everything and anything, it all depends on you, the recipient and the time of the Yo.

Wanna say “good morning”? Just Yo.

Wanna Say “Baby I am thinking about you”? – Yo

“I’ve finished my meeting, come to my office” – Yo

“Are you up?” – Yo

The possibilities are endless. It’s that simple. Yo.”


At first, embarrassed by the simplicity and to quote him the stupidity of the app, Hogeg decided to quietly publish the app not even under his name. At first rejected by Apple for a “lack of substance”, Yo was finally authorized into the Apple store in April.

Hogeg made Yo available to all Mobli employees and very soon “everyone became addicted.” Within one month, 20,000 people around Tel-Aviv were Yo-ing each other. A Product evangelist and tech blogger from San Francisco, Robert Scoble, posted a link to Yo on his Facebook marking the beginning of the phenomenon out of the Israeli borders. Hogeg explained: “we started to get emails from very familiar, well-known people in the VC world. They wanted to hear about the vision for Yo.” But in fact the app did not have any thorough vision but was mostly the result of a funny and goofy side project.

Since then, investors have been fighting to give money to the app and take part in the phenomenon. A $2.5 million investment has even been offered to Hogeg and Arbel who decided to decline it because they both estimate that the app is worth less than that: “the amount of money that wants to go into this company is unbelievable. People have been fighting like crazy with us but we are not willing to take their money….investors want to give Yo a crazy valuation, but we don’t think it deserves that at this stage. If Yo kept growing like this for months, maybe, but it can’t go on like this.” Hogeg and Arbel finally decided to keep the round to a more manageable $1.2 million in promised investments.

Despite the current 1 million users (reached on Monday 23.06.14) and its entry in the top 5 in the iPhone’s App Store, Hogeg and Arbel know the future of Yo is uncertain especially since users in Tel-Aviv have already started to decrease: “Gimmicks don’t survive. Only products that create value do.”  Their description of the process illustrates well their current state of mind “Sometimes you see a movie and you say, “This sh— is so crazy, it can’t really happen. But sometimes reality is so crazy, it suppresses every movie.”


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