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Ian Goh

Launched in February 2021 in India, Tiki, the short video creator platform aims to venture into the $7 billion social commerce space by the beginning of 2023. 

The market size of social commerce in India is likely to increase to $84 billion by the year 2030, according to the Statista Research report. 

Ian Goh, Chief Executive Officer of Tiki, said, “We will launch social commerce in Q4 of this year or Q1 of next year.” 

Goh said that Tiki will also be exploring branded content in the future as and when the platform’s DAU (Daily Active Users) increases.

Within one month of its launch, Tiki was able to garner over one million users, which then went on to become five million users in the next two months. Currently, the app has over 30 million users. 

Goh said, “The aim is not to scale up to 120 million users overnight. We focus a lot on time spent on the app and the retention rate of users. By end of 2022, we intend to reach 60 million users.” 

The industry average for time spent on short-form video apps is 20 minutes, people spend close to 22 minutes on Tiki every day. “A lot of our users open the Tiki app 4-5 times a day,” added Goh. 

Tiki has been able to make a strong foothold in North India and now intends to expand its focus towards South India as well. Goh told that most of Tiki’s users come from Tier 2 and 3 cities. “We mostly serve tier 2 and 3 cities where there are a lot of young people who have just got online and aspire to become a star. Then why not use Tiki as a platform.”

Tiki focuses on three important aspects: Creator economy, community building and original content.

Goh commented, “We are the creators’ first platform. Creators want fame, money and a community. Secondly, we focus on 100% original content. Every content that goes on Tiki cannot be grabbed from anywhere else. No one can copy others' content and put it on Tiki. Thirdly, we focus on the power of community. We have created a community of real talent who meet up with each other and support one another to become a star.”  

The majority of short-form content apps bank on ads, but Tiki’s Goh believes that the ad model doesn’t really serve the creator economy and it also ruins the user experience. 

Currently, in its first phase of monetisation, Tiki majorly banks on the fan economy. He said, “As I mentioned before, there are three ways in which the creators’ motivation comes in: Fame, money and a sense of belonging. 

“We bank on fan economy, where a user can give stars to the creator. In the beginning, the users are given a few free stars, but if the user wishes to give more stars to the creator, he/she can buy stars and virtual gifts to help creators in their content creation journey. Fan economy, virtual gifting and Live streaming have already been proven in other markets.”

Further explaining how the star system works on Tiki, Goh said, “If the audience likes the creator’s content, it will give a star to him/her. By collecting the stars, a content creator can rise up to become the next big short-form content star.” 

Tiki started with only 120 content creators in the beginning but now boasts of having over four lakh content creators on board in a matter of 1.5 years in India. Tiki’s creators earn anywhere between $50 to $8000 a month through fan stars, virtual gifting and Live streaming. 

But how does Tiki ensure that all creators get equal opportunity to get discovered on the app?

Goh commented, “We are very authentic and transparent in that sense to our creators. We have a verification process where we ensure the creator is posting original content. If a creator achieves certain KPIs, he moves ahead in the levels of creator categories set as white, grey and blue verifications.” 

On one hand, Goh, who is also the Founder of Tiki, has his origin in Singapore. On the other hand, the short-form content platform positions itself as a “Make in India” original video content app. There are so many Indian origin apps already present in India. Does this anyhow come in your way?

He answered, “I have a full-fledged 100+ members team in India led by Abhishek Dutta. I have worked with Indian companies in the last 3-4 years, including Oyo. So, I understand the needs of India. I agree there is a sense of patriotism for a local Indian company. I only want to add value. There is such diverse culture and talent. We have majorly hired Indian people. My passion lies in serving the creator economy. If we wouldn’t be serving the creators' needs in India, then we could not have survived in the market.” 

Commenting on why he chose India to launch Tiki and not his own or any other country, he said, “I have always been passionate about short videos. While there are other short video apps in India, we thought to bring in something that can actually help the creator economy and create a community of real talent. We found a need gap in India in terms of the short-video creator economy. Many times, creators are left without a platform. Therefore, we created an app which is ‘Make in India’ for the real Indian content creators. Our content is 100% original and localised.” 

He further said, “One thing I really like about India is that the entertainment and Bollywood industry has a huge influence in India. Everyone has aspirations. Half the population in India is very young and so many of them want to become the next Bollywood star. It’s not easy to become famous on YouTube and Instagram. Short-form video platforms have a huge potential to make people stars. We are providing a platform to such people. It’s a platform where users get high-quality original content and a creator gets a safe space where she can create content and get recognised.”

Goh pointed out one big misconception that is prevailing in the short-form video content space is that people think if they are influencers or celebrities on other platforms, they’ll be able to create content for short video apps as well. He said, “Our creators come from the grassroots of India. They probably might have 2k followers on Instagram but over five million on Tiki. People come on the platform for entertainment purposes. The users on short-form video platforms are very different from other platforms. Tier 2 and 3 city users are more active in the short-form video consumption and creation. Mainly because other platforms are saturated and new platforms like Tiki have new creators with the local audience.”