Let’s be honest. We love getting free things as much as we love good food. Free fries with the burger? Score! Free Murukku for Deepavali? Awesome! Free movie tickets to the premier of Avengers 2? Sign me up for 10! (The Avengers 2 movie won’t be out till May 1st, 2015 by the way.)
Channelling into this love for free stuff (and the love for sharing free stuff), Voxy Labs Sdn. Bhd. in Malaysia has released its app Kasi that lets users send gifts to their friends at the price of absolutely nothing.
However, it only works if you and your friend both have the app installed and link it to your Facebook accounts. Appropriately named Kasi, which means ‘give’ in Bahasa Malaysia, the app offers a variety of gifts, ranging from travel and entertainment, to food, beverages, and online shops!
The app is currently available on Android and iOS, though the team is working on creating new versions of the app for different platforms. It has a smooth user interface and is ridiculously easy to use. Just download the app and link it to your Facebook page. It will automatically pull up your friends list where you will be able to select the friends to gift something to!
Choose your friends, choose the gifts, then send! It’s as easy as that! When your friends send you gifts, all you have to do is redeem it using the app and either redeem the gift online, or in the designated store.
The Generous Gods Members of Voxy Labs
Vulcan Post managed to get a hold of co-founders Xu-Zonne Ho and Aw Eng Park to talk about Kasi.my.
“Park and I co-founded Voxy Labs, which is a small team of 6 full-timers right now,” stated Xu-Zonne Ho, “Kasi is a product of Voxy Labs.” The team currently consists of Xu-Zonne Ho, Aw Eng Park, Calvin Chieng and 3 technical design and sales specialists.
Xu-Zonne shared that he had a passion for technology from a young age and started learning programming when he was only 6 years old. “I graduated with a double major in Business Management and IT and worked for Microsoft of 7 years after graduating.” Afterwards, he founded Voxy Labs with co-founders Eng Park and Calvin. “My role within the company is to connect development, design and business. On the technical side, I code the front-end and handle sales and marketing on the business side of things.”
Meanwhile, Aw Eng Park is responsible for the operations and finance in the company. The previous Head of Infrastructure at GHL System Berhad had also been a Program Manager on some popular banking apps that we may be familiar with.
Calvin Chieng from Sarawak has a Bachelors in Electronics and Telecommunications Engineering. “He founded Rivansoft in 2011 to develop a digital monitoring system which is currently deployed in modern buildings like KLIA2 in Malaysia,” shared Xu-Zonne. Calvin joined Voxy Labs after the first round of successful funding and is currently working as the Lead Technical Architect in the company.
Other Projects Of Voxy Labs
“Kasi takes a fair bit of our time, but we do work on other stuff as well,” said Xu-Zonne. “We have random hackathons,” he shared. The team work on other projects out of curiosity and also to hem their talents. “One such example is the MH370 news app we developed to pull news and videos about MH370.”
Going Back To Square One
“The idea started after a couple of ‘mamak’ sessions with friends on the mobility of cash,” Xu-Zonne divulged.
He revealed that the initial idea was to build Kasi as “a way to help brands and retailers engage with shopper through a combination of various technologies”. However, after more discussion, the team then decided to build Kasi as a money transfer service, “sorta like Paypal, but way easier”.
Unfortunately, the idea turned out to be not feasible. One of the roadblocks the team came across was that in order to be safe, the company required a few million Ringgit in bonds with the bank. Once that idea was scrapped, they realized they were left with a finished app without a purpose.
“That’s where we went back to our initial idea. We took that secure platform and made it transfer gifts instead of cash. In doing so, we’ve also created an avenue for brands and retailers to engage with existing and potential customers in a fun and social manner.”
The app allowed brands and retailers connect with customers as it allowed users to send and received gifts from them instantly. “A friend knows you better than the brands, so when they send you gifts, they know there’s a chance that you may like it,” Xu-Zonne explained.
“We believe gifting doesn’t have to be only for occasion,” he added, sharing that the app allows users to share treats with their friends regardless of the time of day. Since the app is connected to the user’s Facebook, it sets to remind the user of birthdays. Gifting a friend through the app stands out from a mere “Happy Birthday” wall post on Facebook.
The entire project took Voxy Labs 4 months from idea to fruition after getting feedbacks from users and merchants. However, they admit to coming into some problems with making the app available for both iOS and Android platforms.
“Since we launched only not too long ago, there aren’t any major problems that we faced. We would say that we were a little ambitious to support as many different Android devices at the start. As you know there are plenty of different screen sizes and versions out there so we were quite overwhelmed at the beginning. It was also a challenge in thinking of the right design patterns as there were really not many references. There are gifting apps out there but none as socially integrated with a timeline (to our knowledge). I wouldn’t say we solved it 100% but we’re getting closer as we fine-tune the product,” the Kasi team said positively.
Free App For Free Gifts. Who Can Resist?
“The app will always remain free,” promised Xu-Zonne, “Kasi is basically an app to treat your friends so you will be able to buy them a gift on the app. We decided to release the app with only free gifts to let users get comfortable with the general idea of the app which is treating.”
“It is a new app and we fear that it may confuse users if we started off with too many options. However, stay tuned for the next version coming shortly. We’re excited to hear your feedback on that,” he added with a wink emoticon in the email exchange with Vulcan Post.
To The Future, And Beyond!
“The vision is to shorten the bridge between retailers and consumers in a fun, secure, and engaging manner. Kasi will always be about gifting and treats. A mobile app is just the start. Kasi is also used by businesses as a gifting engine for their own set of customers. They ride on Kasi’s technology to allow digital gifting. So there is that aspect of Kasi as well. Things like Apple Pay and the rise of mobile payments helps Kasi’s goal of making purchases and treats mobile,” said Xu-Zonne when asked about their plans for the future.
I’ve been using Kasi on my phone for almost a month now and I think it’s great so far! As it is still a new app, there aren’t very many brands on board yet; however just a few weeks ago, I managed to score some free GSC movie tickets for my friends. Kasi is slowly improving and the team is working on getting more brands for the users. I think it has great potential and I can’t wait to get more free things for my friends!