On 28 February 2018, Netccentric made the painful decision to pull the plug on micro-blogging platform Dayre (pronounced as ‘day-ree’).
They explained in a Dayre post that the business was “no longer viable”, adding that it costs up to S$150,000 a year to sustain the platform.
Even a last-ditch sticker sale couldn’t help raise enough funds to save the business. 113 people purchased the stickers, but it only managed to rack up sales of only US$700 (S$953).
A quick background on Dayre: Netccentric’s co-founder and ex-CEO Cheo Ming Shen had described it as his “passion project”.
He shared on his personal website that he had taken different elements from popular social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to create a “rojak”-like platform.
Dayre combined all the daily social media habits of people, all the short form tidbits they offered up into the day, and introduced structure. An ability to tell a narrative. A story of a person’s day.– Cheo Ming Shen, co-founder of Netccentric
This formula grew into a huge success, with “over 500,000 (app) downloads and active users”, he added.
Why Dayre Died
Ming became ambitious and wanted to grow the business further by raising funds — he successfully did an IPO in 2015 to the tune of AU$12.5 million — and introducing a premium subscription plan called Dayre Plus.
He emphasised that “Netccentric is not bankrupt” as the company had S$6.2 million according to end June 2017 filings.
So how did Dayre still end up dying?
When Ming stepped down as Netccentric’s CEO in February 2017 (a year before Dayre closed), all his plans for Dayre also got “reversed” by the new management.
Dayre Plus was heavily discounted (meaning the developed pathway to financial sustainability was cut off), and significant new developments of features on the app were seemingly de-prioritised.
Every app, including the best, needs to constantly engage its audience with new features and developments. Dayre like the blogging platforms of old, stagnated and got boring.– Cheo Ming Shen, co-founder of Netccentric
He further insinuated that Dayre had fallen into the wrong hands. Since the new management of Netccentric “didn’t share the (same) love and passion” for the platform, Ming’s plans and visions for it “did not have a chance to materialise”.
Dayre Acquired For S$70,000
Despite its unfortunate closure, Dayre has risen from the ashes and recently made a comeback with a renewed direction.
In 2018, Dayre got acquired by Create Collective — a venture established by M&C Saatchi — which is started by Katherine Teo along with six other partners.
The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) graduate assumes a dual role; she is also the Head of Digital at M&C Saatchi Singapore.
Netccentric’s initial plan was to shut down Dayre, without opening it up to the market. However, from our understanding, more than eight parties were interested in taking over Dayre.– Katherine Teo, co-founder and partner of Create Collective
Create Collective stepped up to also express their interest and met up with Netccentric’s then-CEO Desmond Kiu, as well as their engineering and tech teams, to learn more about Dayre and its infrastructure.
After speaking further with existing Dayre users, the team crafted a business plan and eventually came to an agreement in November to acquire Dayre for S$70,000.
The following year was spent on settling legal matters, hiring, and planning for the re-launch of Dayre.
When asked why they wanted to acquire the business, Katherine simply felt that it was “time”.
I have been a silent reader on Dayre for years. When Netccentric announced they were shutting Dayre down, I personally felt a sense of loss and thought it was a pity.
As a user, I could understand what was so unique about the platform and why people were drawn to it.– Katherine Teo, co-founder and partner of Create Collective
“I felt there was untapped potential to Dayre as more than just a micro-blogging app as it evolved organically over the years into a network of women who come together to share real experiences, reviews and thoughts,” she explained.
“A Community For Women”
Launched on 25 September 2019, Dayre by Create Collective is touted to be the “world’s first ad-free online community for women”.
This renewed direction might seem like a leap, but Katherine explained that it actually makes for a natural progression.
“(When Dayre) was first introduced as a microblogging app, (it) evolved organically over time to become a vibrant community of women from all walks of life who bond over shared interests and experiences, common passions and relatable stories,” said Katherine.
Over time, sub-committees such as #DayreBeauty, #DayreTravel, #DayreMummies, #DayreBrides, #DayreHomes and #DayreFatties have sprung up within the platform to cater to specific groups.
“It became increasingly clear over the years that what differentiates Dayre is the community and its authentic, relatable content that are generated by users of the platform,” she added.
As such, it made “sense” for them to gear their direction towards supporting and growing the existing community of women.
Regardless of this pivot, Dayre also welcomes men, or anyone who identifies as a woman such as transgenders and members of the LGBT+ community, on its platform.
So how exactly is Dayre any different from other female-centric platforms?
Katherine explained that other women communities target a specific group of women such as working mothers and entrepreneurs.
“On Dayre, women talk about the big and small moments of their day and life — any topic that impacts them or matters to them, and in any way they want to. It’s authentic and unfiltered.”
With the newest version of Dayre, we want to make certain that Dayreans can always trust Dayre to be a safe and conducive space for them to express themselves and hold real girl talks.– Katherine Teo, co-founder and partner of Create Collective
S$4.48 Monthly Subscription Fee
Another big change is that Dayre used to be a free-for-all platform, but it is now running on a subscription-based model.
Users are charged S$4.48 per month so that Dayre can remain ad-free. This in turn helps to protect the safety and privacy of its users as content on Dayre is no longer searchable on public search engines.
The subscription fee works to raise the bar for accountability by raising the barriers to entry for trolls or cyberbullies.
We also stand by our belief of having no ads and algorithms on Dayre. We don’t want to mine users’ privacy, information and content; and people should be allowed to decide for themselves the content they want to read, and the people they want to keep up with (instead of us pushing them targeted content).– Katherine Teo, co-founder and partner of Create Collective
Ultimately, Dayre becomes a safe space where women can express themselves freely and safely — without judgment, prying eyes and trolls.
Meanwhile, long-time Dayre users were on-boarded to the new platform with a “lifetime subscription package” of only $3.50 per month — even if prices increase in the future, or when Dayre adds new features or offerings.
This pricing strategy has allowed them to retain over 50 per cent of active Dayre users within the first two weeks.
Perks Of Being A Dayrean
However, the transition to a “members-only community” proved to be difficult, especially since Dayre was initially a free-to-use platform.
They had to make it clear to users that Dayre is now more than “just a blogging app”.
Each month, the Dayre team runs offline activities for its users to broaden their network and perspectives with women from all walks of life.
Called #DayreAFK (Dayre Away From Keyboard), it is an initiative to bring women together through on-ground events such as mum talks, beauty workshops, styling classes, career fairs, tea-tasting sessions, and more.
Their first event for mothers was fully subscribed in eight hours, while its second one in October had all the slots taken up in just 30 minutes.
Dayreans will also enjoy exclusive access to the Dayre Lifestyle Rewards Store, which allows them to redeem free products, lifestyle experiences and more offers.
Some beauty brands that Dayreans can soon get their hands on include L’occitane, Philosophy, Etude House, Kora Organics, among others.
They can also gain first access and discounts to limited-edition collaboration collections with renowned local and international labels starting December.
For instance, Dayre has partnered with local brand Scent by Six to create its very own scent called Daybreak by Dayre.
It is also working with local leather bag brand Tocco Toscano to launch a bag that is co-designed by community members of Dayre, which is set to launch globally next year.
Dayre Sees “Five-Figure Revenue” Within First Month
With each passing week, Katherine said that she has been witnessing more engagement and shared content on the platform, which makes her excited about Dayre’s future growth.
She refuses to disclose the number of app downloads since relaunch, but shared that Dayre witnessed a “healthy mid-range five-figure revenue” within their first month of soft launch.
Based on their growth so far, Dayre is confident that they’re “moving in the right direction and can continue on a strong trajectory”.
In terms of future plans, Dayre hopes to extends the #DayreAFK events to its Malaysia users as well.
It is also targeting to roll out a desktop version of Dayre in December beyond a mobile app.
Dayre is Create Collective’s first offering, and it’s just the beginning. When it comes to Dayre, it’s about creating a safe and inclusive space for women — both online and offline.– Katherine Teo, co-founder and partner of Create Collective
Through Create Collective, we want to focus on building communities where groups of people can find like-minded individuals, enable sharing of knowledge and experiences, find emotional support, network, broaden their perspectives and more.
We hope to one day be known as the company that builds great communities.
Featured Image Credit: Create Collective