EARLY this year, tech startup Kumu released its new livestream and content mobile app, a platform for Filipino culture and communities to collaborate creatively to build a digital economy through authentic online lifestyles.
Kumu recently premiered Quiz Mo Ko, a livestream trivia game show where viewers can compete on the app to win a cash prize. This trivia competition launches the app’s digital economy while blending gaming and live content to create a mobile playground for users.
This Filipino-grown creative content network is built with livestreaming at its core and is supported by community chats – or Kumunities – where users can connect and collaborate on different topics with fellow Filipinos both in the country and abroad.
Authentic Connections Through Livestream
Kumu cultivates authenticity and creativity, specifically through livestreaming. Livestreamers create raw and unedited content for their audiences and can engage in direct conversation with viewers in real time. Understanding the Filipino experience, Kumu supports instant interaction through livestream technology optimized for low internet connectivity, clocking in 20 seconds faster than Facebook Live and Instagram Live.
With the diversity of Filipino cultures and personalities on the app, livestreamers have become online cultural guides for audiences. Several notable livestreamers include 2 Blocks from Burgos – the pair of DJ Skratchmark and club owner Angelo Mendez – who host a series exploring Manila culture and nightlife; BaiTV – a Cebuano channel that features popular personality Malaya Macaraeg – known for delivering Bisaya-focused news, culture, and comedy; and Mica Javier, model and singer-songwriter, who gives an insider look into the Filipino entertainment industry.
Livestream content also encompasses conversations on self-development and wellness, with other livestream personalities such as psychologist and founder of HealingMindsPH, Gisa Paredes, starting discussions on health and wellness; essential oils expert Kinney Palma reviewing, recommending, and selling a slate of quality essential oils; and choreographer and artist development coach, Sheena Vera Cruz, hosting a series on confidence and stage presence.
Brands have also started benefiting from these online cultural experiences. In partnership with Tous Les Jours, Carla Cab – also known as the Millennial Mom – recently livestreamed her thoughts and experiences at the restaurant and engaged with viewers by offering gift certificates of the brand. This marks the beginning of more interactive brand engagement with audiences in real time through the app.
Turn on Your Camera, Be Yourself, Make Money
In September, Kumu will be launching its tipping and virtual gifting features. Soon, users can send animated gifts to livestreamers that they can then convert into pesos, building an online support culture and pioneering a system of user-to-user monetization in the Philippines. This is an important step towards Kumu’s goal to “catalyze a whole new digital economy that supports Filipino creativity and ingenuity”. Eventually, anyone can turn on their camera, be themselves, and make money.
“The virtual gifting economy launched in China a few years ago and is about to overtake Chinese box office revenues,” said Kumu CEO Roland Ros. “It has enabled everyone from students to street vendors to farmers who make thousands to millions of dollars each year by sharing their passion. We hope to have the same impact in the Philippines.”
Over the next few years, Kumu will launch creator subscriptions, brand-driven shows, and integrated commerce, which will allow users to make money by showcasing brands and products that viewers can buy with a click of a button. This has the potential to transform user lifestyles and brand strategies and communication with audiences. “If we do this right, we can create a job creation engine for the creative Filipino,” said Kumu’s head of strategy, Rexy Dorado.
Kumu’s Filipino Foundations
Kumu’s founders Roland Ros, Rexy Dorado, Andrew Pineda, and Clare Ros met through their work in entrepreneurship, technology, and social enterprise. They have since gathered a team spanning Manila, the provinces, and Filipino communities around the world, as well as an advisory board that includes the likes of Dado Banatao – world-renowned Silicon Valley entrepreneur and inventor – and Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng – owner of Summit Media and director of Robinsons Bank.
“The most important thing for us right now is to build a powerful community and content app that we can all be proud of,” said CEO Roland Ros. “We start by building a platform that organizes all the world’s Filipino content, where any Filipino creator, community, business or service will be able to find their home.”
Roland Ros built a career as a growth engineer, with a track record generating millions of customers through advertising technology companies Spark Revenue LLC, Tracking202, and MediaTrust. Over the years, Ros has engaged with the Filipino community through humanitarian projects and his work with NextDayBetter, a Filipino media company. He aims to use his resources and digital marketing expertise to fuel a better future for the Filipino community around the globe.
Rexy Dorado founded Kaya Collaborative, a nonprofit that brings young overseas Filipino leaders back to the Philippines to work with local entrepreneurs, and also co-wrote the first Filipino book on digital disruption. A Brown University graduate from Dumaguete City, Dorado has worked for Ashoka and Endeavor, organizations that identify and support innovators around the world who have a potential for transformative impact.
Andrew Pineda has a BSEE from the University of California, Santa Barbara and has built a career in technical project management for over a decade on a slew of various companies. Most notable among these are his work with InfoSearch Media – the pioneering public SEO solutions company – and his role as Director of Information Technology at Passages Malibu. Pineda has also gone on to manage teams for Blueglass, Copypress, and Infinite Nine, continuing to work with companies that create meaningful and data-driven content across the globe.
Clare Ros is a creative director and brand consultant who has worked with over 40 venture capital-backed startups to build brands, create content, and develop digital products. In her career, Ros has worked with a myriad of different companies focused on creativity and ingenuity which includes taking the lead of Tsu Social Media’s design, product, and marketing & communications arm, and working as a designer and Director of Communications at NYC-based brand consultancy agency, Red Antler.