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Video: Interview With Andrey Andreev: Badoo: Redesign, Bumble
Andrey Andreev is a closed and shy person. But nevertheless very, very interesting. We invite you to read the interview he gave to Business Insider a couple of years ago.
The content of the article
- 1 Badoo
- 2 Partnership
- 3 Badoo, Andrey, Russia and London
After reading the article, you will begin to better understand how the online dating industry works.
Business Insider: Why don't we start by talking about the new Badoo? What are the biggest changes?
Andrey Andreev: The new Badoo you can see today is just a skeleton for a whole set of amazing, game-changing features that are coming live very soon. Now we have the opportunity to implement them.
All new! We completely redesigned the app, redesigned the brand, analyzed and reviewed 11 years of experience to improve and optimize UX and simplify super-complex features.
BI: I got the impression that the "overhaul" was planned for a long time. Why now?
AA: That's right, I've been thinking about remaking Badoo for a long time. He began to resemble (as we call it internally) "Frankenstein". This happens with every product eventually. When you add features, monetize, or just try to improve the user experience by adding fun new components, it ends up looking like a little Christmas tree with a lot of buttons, menus within menus, etc.
The old interface limited us in many ways. Although we have changed and improved it many times, we had to admit that we can no longer create new functions on the old interface.
It was a long thought process. After numerous brainstorming sessions and with the help of the Badoo team, I figured out which direction we need to go.
BI: Were there any factors that stopped you, slowed you down?
AA: Badoo has over 340 million users who are naturally accustomed to a certain interface. We always test before we change anything in the application. Tests have repeatedly shown that even a small change in, say, the position of a button can lead to a decrease in activity or income. Yes, this is the real life of monetized products.
This was another reason it took so long to redesign the application. We just needed to make sure we didn't lose any important features by making the new design overly intuitive.
BI: Have any features been removed?
Nothing to leave behind. But some features have been optimized. Tested and optimized.
BI: You've mentioned in the past that Badoo is more of a social network than a dating app. How do you distinguish between these things?
AA: Badoo has a long history and we know what our users want. Yes, of course, it's basically a dating app. But dating for many people is flirting, chatting, etc. It used to be that dating apps were like sex. But what about real life, say, in a bar? You don't just go up to every person in the bar and make a date. Sometimes you just come in and drink and chat and leave and nothing happens. Sometimes you make friends. You can't just remove the social aspect from dating, as that would be a little boring.
Badoo definitely helps you explore the world outside of your existing circle of friends, and that's another reason why it's social.
BI: Something that sets Badoo apart is engagement with a variety of brands and apps. What's behind it all?
AA: We work with all these companies on a partnership basis. Badoo is a very strong platform. It's like a Lego game - we start each partnership by building a product from the sources we already have and then adding the necessary details.
BI: How does a partnership work? How do you meet these people?
This can happen by accident. I can meet with this person, say, at some event. For example, on the founders' forum, or on these many, many, many events. Sometimes people turn to me themselves. Take Bumble, for example. When we first announced my partnership with Whitney, the girls in this office started lining up. They asked for advice on investments, future steps, etc. It was a difficult time. Every time we do something in public, a bunch of people show up who want to talk to me.
BI: What about the financial model?
AA: It all depends on the circumstances. Take the partnership with Tango, the American messenger, for example. Everything here is 50/50. We do technology and they do marketing. They bring new users, and we are responsible for making the users happy. This is one type of partnership.
With Bumble, things were different. This is no longer the standard 50/50. This is when we try to understand and define the business model together. We are trying to determine the direction of the future project together. If I meet a person whom I can trust, if I believe that a person can do this project, I am happy to participate in it.
BI: You mentioned that you outsource marketing to your partners. Do you plan to do this internally in the future?
AA: No, I think Whitney is very good at what she does, she is very strong in marketing, and I don't think that's what we should focus on. We are delighted with the partnership we have with Whitney. We provide all the infrastructure, all the technology, all the services, and it just focuses on one thing: marketing.
BI: Are you currently planning to acquire other companies?
AA: Currently I am very busy with Badoo. We never acquired anything - instead we secured many successful partnerships in which we covered the technology and monetization parts and another partner took care of marketing and user traffic.
BI: Are you afraid of cannibalization in the applications you release?
AA: No, we're not afraid. They are all very different. It's like with restaurants. If a new restaurant opens around the corner, you will not stop visiting the institution that you have loved for a long time.
All the applications we work on are different from each other. We give users the freedom to choose.
Our mood changes every day due to various factors. So should people be expected to use only one app or visit only one restaurant?
BI: Can you tell me the story of Badoo and Bumble? Last year's TechCrunch article said that you acquired the company.
AA: I didn't buy it. Invested and provided technical support.
Whitney and I started the business together back in 2014, I loved her vision of a women-centered company in the social media space, and I believed in what she wanted to achieve. I have had impressive experience in this industry, and so did it. I have supported and encouraged her activities.
While Bumble has access to some of our Badoo London infrastructures, it operates autonomously as a completely separate company; headquartered in Texas under the direction of Whitney.
Although I am focused on Badoo day in and day out, I am still an active partner at Bumble. Whitney and I work closely, and thanks to what I've built at Badoo, I can provide significant resources to Bumble. I am very closely associated with everything related to the release of products in this company.
BI: In 2012, you said you were not sure about the IPO. Has anything changed since then?
AA: Badoo is like a favorite child for me. Although a rather old child. Badoo is not just a standalone product. It is a huge machine, a function factory with many extremely talented and dedicated people working on it.
An IPO for every company means the beginning of the end, when the structure becomes more cooperative and innovative projects are difficult to transfer to line managers.
Believe it or not. It's been 11 years, and it feels like it's still a startup. We are open to new ideas - from any member of our team. Testing, making mistakes, creating new interesting products for Badoo. How can you not love it? I think I will be devoted to this business for a while.
Badoo, Andrey, Russia and London
BI: What about your career? What were you doing before Badoo?
AA: Before starting Badoo, I created quite a few successful projects such as Begun and Mamba.
BI: You live in London. Why?
AA: I just like it here. Lifestyle, energy, people. I firmly believe that you create what surrounds you. Our UK offices are located in the West End. The reason for this is that it is a very lively and varied area and this is how I want Badu to be.
BI: It was mentioned earlier that you changed your name. Why did you decide to do this?
AA: I'm afraid there is no conspiracy theory here. How I wish it were. I used my father's last name, but after moving to Europe I quickly realized that people are really trying their best to pronounce and write my name correctly. So I decided to make life easier for everyone (myself included) and started using my mother's last name. This also sounds pretty cool, doesn't it? Andrey Andreev.
BI: One thing I would like to touch upon is the perception in the West of Russian technology companies. We have companies such as Yandex, VKontakte, but they often do not want to expand to the West. Why do you think this is so?
AA: There are many things that differ both in Russia and in the Russian business space. First of all - mentality. Russia is such a unique and specific market, it is very different from everything that you see. You are not just selling coffee, you are selling experiences that involve emotions, relationships, and specific habits. To be successful, you must know and live your market very well.
In many cases, Russian products and business projects are very far from the Western mentality. The availability of local alternatives on the market does not help matters either. So I think they decided to stick with what they already know and the market where it works best.
BI: Badoo seemed to be avoiding publicity for a long time. Why is this so?
AA: Badoo is a technology company founded by purely technical people. We have never been involved in PR. Badoo was founded when there was no need for public relations for tech companies. All you have to do is really have a good product, which is a breakthrough in itself. However, we are still a product / technology oriented company and PR is not something we are used to.
BI: Is not going public a deliberate decision on your part?
AA: To be honest, I'm not the type of person who focuses on my public image. I focus on business, product. I try to do my best. If I get results - like the recent reimagining of Badoo, for example - I'm proud to talk about it. Go out for a while, discuss it, and then return to your workplace.
BI: Is this the new Andrew? Are you planning to do more interviews?
AA: No, no, no, no, no. It's just that I can't hide at the moment. I have no right to be modest - we have done a great job. I believe that it is my responsibility to speak about it loudly so that everyone knows about it.
BI: Is Badoo planning a US marketing campaign? Are you ready to go side by side with Tinder, or is this market not what you are focusing on right now?
AA: I'll leave it to Bumble, and we'll stay in Europe for now.