Founder Feature: Sacha Lazimi, CEO at Yubo
Yubo is a social platform designed for a Genz audience to help them socialise with new people and create a sense of community. The company launched in 2015 and has become a leading platform for Gen Z to socialise online in authentic real-life live streams and has recently surpassed 43 million users.
Top Business Tech exclusively interviewed Sacha Lazimi, CEO at Yubo. Read on to find out more about Sacha’s founder journey.
Could you tell TBT about your company and what you’re striving to achieve?
We strive to be a freedom fuelled online social space for our Gen Z users to build genuine connections and widen their social circle through seamless livestream technology.
Yubo relies on new cutting-edge technology and tools specifically designed to protect users and to provide a secure discussion platform where they can connect from afar with live streams of up to ten people at any one time.
We’re unique because we’re a social media platform built without ‘likes’ or ‘follows’ – our business model is an interactive one, not an attention one like most social media platforms. We prioritise authentic real-time interactions over curated posts and vanity metrics.
Who are you…and what is your story as a Founder at Yubo?
I’m Sacha Lazimi. Before I founded Yubo, I studied Maths at University in Paris, which is where I met Jeremie Aouate. I then went to the engineering school CentraleSupelec, where I met the last co-founder Arthur Patora.
Yubo was born because we wanted to improve the way people were interacting with each other online. At first, Jeremie and I created a hyper-geolocated group chat app. We then teamed up with Arthur and created a social app that allowed people to interact with a new person each day.
Quickly after that the idea for Yubo was created. We realised we wanted to empower young people to socialise and create friendships in the digital world, the same way they would in real life.
How are you measuring your success at Yubo? What are your metrics?
Growth, growth and more growth. With lockdown measures enforced in various countries, young people turned to social media to socialise, fuelling our growth. The biggest impact has been on the length and amount of livestreams our users are engaging in. In 2020, we saw livestreams increase by 550% globally, averaging 130K a day, each lasting around two hours.
What keeps you up at night?
Be able to scale. When you have a fast growing platform, it’s critical to be able to have the team support that growth, technically but also from a safety standpoint.
Do you see yourself as an underdog?
No, we see ourselves as an innovator. Yubo is different to any other social media platform so we have nothing to compare ourselves to. We have a unique friendship focus rather than influencer focused model that has propelled our growth throughout 2020.
The Gen Z generation is looking to make real and meaningful connections online with their peers without the press of living up to influencer ideals or gathering likes. So, we designed the platform for a Gen Z audience to socialise online in an authentic way without influencers, followers and likes.
How do you set yourself up for success through your routine?
I spend as much time as possible on the platform speaking to users to understand what they like, what they don’t like, why they use the platform, what they would want on the product. I think it’s key for success.
What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
To build on 2020’s success and carry on the momentum. We’re looking to expand even more internationally and grow our communities in Southeast Asia, Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. We also have a big focus on the US and UK as they are our biggest markets at the moment. We want to open offices in every key region and ultimately multiply our workforce ten fold.
Do you have a plan B if your venture with Yubo isn’t successful?
I don’t need a plan B – Yubo is already successful. We just completed our series C funding, which saw us raise $47.5m. The only way is up for Yubo.
At the moment we are focused on developing our live streaming capabilities and adding new features which will further diversify the ways in which Yubo users can interact. We recently did a partnership with Snap Inc. for example to allow our users to use lenses, Youtube integration and more games. More is on the horizon and we are working hard to make this happen.
Can you tell us who your mentors and heroes are, and what impact they’ve had on you?
There aren’t a lot of French and even European B2C apps that can compete with US or Chinese giants. Zenly is a very good example and I’m a good friend of the CEO Antoine Martin for example, who gives advice very regularly.
What was missing from your business plan (be honest)?
We introduced exclusive features and premium accounts late 2018. These features allow our users to have more interactions and fun, without deteriorating the experience of non-paying users. And these are not easy to find!
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to budding innovators taking the same journey?
Be bold and ambitious. Always focus on your objectives and keep iterating on your product, to learn from your mistakes.
Learn more about Sacha Lazimi and Yubo here: www.yubo.live/en