Between: the world’s most popular private network for couples

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If you are among those who think social networking is becoming too noisy and intrusive, then there is a solution. It’s a private social network that allows you to communicate with your partner in a private, intimate way.

No it’s not Pair. In fact, it predates the cutesy social effort that’s been grabbing headlines in the tech press.

Between is an app developed by South Korean startup VCNC. It provides a quick chat option between couples, as well as photo album and messaging functions. Although there are other similar apps gaining popularity, it is by far the most successful based on the number of downloads.

It was judged the best mobile app at the The Next Web Conference in Amsterdam and won second place in the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) 2012 G-Startup Competition held in Beijing.

Some of Between’s key features include:

  • Quick chats with your partner
  • Photo albums organised by date
  • Messages
  • Anniversaries can be managed and shared
  • A ‘virtual’ memory box
  • Instant notifications sent to your partner when new photos or memos are received

VCNC started as a student group in Seoul National University in 2008. The team behind Between wanted to build a ‘privacy aware social site’ and at the same time saw that there were no specific platforms available for couples. This is how the idea of an app enabling private communication between couples came about.

Between launched its open-beta back in November 2011 sometime before the likes of Pair. From the get-go it’s been a global operation, with the open-beta supporting four languages including English, Korean, Japanese and Chinese. The official version was launched on 7 March 2012.

The app now supports nine languages and is in the process of adding four more. This means that it will target about 70% of the world’s population.

Since the open beta launch, Between has been downloaded more than 800 000 times and has 412 000 monthly active users. Some 4.5-million messages and 350 000 photos are sent every day. Between is currently popular in Asia which accounts for around 93% of downloads; the other 7% are from the rest of the world.

Between has three app models: freemium, commerce and advertisement.

Freemium: The app is free but users can pay to add premium functions such as animated emoticons and video messages.

Commerce: Between will be offering mobile coupons and physical goods to users. Couples would be able to send lattes or maybe flowers to their significant other through this service.

The advertisement model: Advertisers and vendors will be allowed to promote products, services, or deals that fit the needs of couples. The Event Box, which was recently launched, will be used for this purpose.

Between now has a team of 15, almost half of whom are developers. Many of the developers come with the experience of working on one of South Korea’s most popular mobile messaging services. The company has raised funding of US$1-million from Softbank Ventures.

Although there are other recently launched apps in the ‘social networks for couples’ segment, Between is one of the early movers and has a clear lead in Asia. The team is working on new features that are focused on faster chatting. The company is reportedly looking at another round of funding later this year.

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