Filipinos have always been making waves in the international scene, especially in entertainment and the arts. From Juan Luna to Lea Salonga – we have made a huge mark in the global scene. It’s not just the arts though, we have made significant scientific contributions as well. This time, we’re poised to make a rather huge digital mark with Kumu.

Kumu (in Beta), a messenger app and media platform built by and for the Filipino community! You can download it on the App Store, Google Play Store.

In many ways, Kumu is the product of a long process — a labor of love and countless hours of work contributed by an extended team of over 60 leaders from the Philippines, the diaspora, and the global tech community.

Let’s get our expectations leveled first. There is that assumption that this will be out of the box and impressively creating dragons and unicorns. In comparison, Facebook has been around for fourteen years, Viber and Instagram for eight. There remains a massive but exciting gap between where Kumu is and where they want to be. While the app in its baby phase is quite impressive (6 way video calling is quite impressive. Plus, it’s free.), the people behind Kumu is banking on the community to help them build the app to what they need, especially in the future. This is our Digital Bayanihan.

What is this all about? Why do we need another messenger app? What exactly is Kumu?

1. A localized communication app for the Filipino people

Localized messenger apps are taking over Asia.  There’s WeChat, Kakao, Line, Zalo and Hike. Part of it means designing for the realities and constraints of digital communication in Philippines. Taking into consideration that internet connection is shoddy at best, Kumu took that into great consideration and ensured that video and voice calls are clear and optimized for low connectivity settings.

Check out the regional stickers too! Pang Pinoy na panlasa talaga, with bekispeak and Bisaya stickers and more regional stickers in the pipeline!

2. A media network for the next generation of Filipino creativity

Filipinos are some of the most creative people in the world. But historically, that creativity hasn’t been given the right platform to flourish. People leave the country to be Broadway actors and musicians. The local media landscape remains monopolized and insular. Tapping into our innate creativity isn’t just a matter of expression and inspiration — it’s also the key to surviving the next decade of disruption.

The Kumu Explore tab is a platform for the digital creative economy in the Philippines. Beginning with their livestream network, Kumu Explore will be the home to artists, journalists, students, vloggers, historians, musicians, comedians, and all kinds of creative talent from across the global Filipino community.

3. A digital economy of services that make life easier in the Philippines

The Filipino people are naturally viral. Makati was once named the selfie capital of the world, and the Philippines was ranked #1 in terms of average time spent on social media.

But we are slowly discovering the joys and convenience of doing business online as with online banking (Because anyone who has to make a transaction in any of the banks here in the Philippines knows that it takes a loooooong time for you to actually get a 5 minute transaction done). Later this year, Kumu will be releasing some solutions to make life a little easier for Pinoys: they are working to make remittances, shopping, payroll, food delivery, and Balikbayan Boxes to be as fast and easy as posting a selfie.

4. A movement to take back our internet and unlock the power of the Filipino community

When the internet came about, it promised to be a great equalizer, a way for us to connect and be better together than the sum of our parts. But fast forward several decades and our internet infrastructure, too, has been dominated and throttled by a few multinational corporations. Our social media channels are rigged against us, selling the public conversation to the highest bidder.

At Kumu, the vision is to harness the full promise of the internet and digital technology to unlock the power of the Filipino people. The internet can build stronger communities rather than divide them, make life easier instead of distracting us from what matters. Digital media can inspire us and broaden our imaginations. Kumu hopes to be, more than any single thing, a vehicle to make these possibilities real. Kumu wants to be a platform for the future of the Filipino community, a Filipino renaissance that is rising and gaining momentum.

We hope you join us in getting there! We need all the Filipino spirit spirit and energy for the journey ahead. Let’s start our Digital Bayanihan with Kumu.

Kumu is now available on the Google Play and App Store. Learn more at our website: kumu.ph

 

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