Jagat, a social network that is designed to get you out more with your friends instead of mindlessly scrolling on your phone, has surpassed 10 million users globally. The location-based social network, which launched earlier this year in March, wants to help people focus on real-life connections and make friends.
The app, available on both iOS and Android, is essentially a social map for your friends and activities near you. Jagat features an interactive map interface that allows you to keep up with your friends in real-time and discover new people and activities around you. Jagat is somewhat similar to Snap-owned Zenly, a social map app that shut down last year.
The startup is based in Singapore and Indonesia, and was founded by Jagat President Barry Beagen and CEO Loy Xing Zhe. The pair met in December 2021 when Beagen was advising the Government of Indonesia on policies regarding the digital economy and Zhe was working on a GameFi product focused on web3, social and gaming. Beagen says he and Zhe both had the idea of building a social network.
“We had the same vision of taking on big tech and to really build something from Southeast Asia that could take on the world,” Beagen told TechCrunch. “We were also tired of mainstream social apps that are becoming more passive and we were both really excited about exploring the world and places and finding spontaneous ways to meet new friends – whether it’s for a hike, for a local concert, for a pick-up basketball game or just for a long walk.”
The pair decided to build a social network where users can create their own spaces and interact virtually with their avatars.
Your social map is what you see when you open Jagat, as it’s where you see your friends’ locations in real-time. It’s also where you record the places that you have been to, and where you can tap on your friends’ avatars and send them a message, stickers or updates. Jagat sees the map as the primary interface to discover activities and people around you. You can see your friends’ status updates in real-time to find out what they’re up to.
The startup is currently building out a feature that aims to take on Facebook Groups by allowing users to organize local events and find people with similar interests. It’s also building a feature that lets you explore beyond your local community by allowing you to discover global communities.
“We want to bring back social in social apps – focusing on social networking and not media,” Beagen said. “We want to be about people, not posts. We’re made for your close friends, for discovering new friends and for getting people out more in real life as opposed to scrolling for entertainment. We’re excited that other new emerging social apps are also taking on this challenge. The mainstream social media is no longer for making friends or connecting, but mostly passive consumption of entertainment. So we’re focused on features that allow users to share real-time unpolished updates in a fun way.”
Beagen says most active users check the app around 3-4 times a day, and that most people want to find out where their close friends and loved ones are once they’re done with school or work. Instead of having to text a friend to see if they’re close by and want to grab dinner, the app lets you see where they are.
Around 85% of Jagat users are part of GenZ. Since its launch, the app has topped charts in Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Spain, France and Singapore. Beagen says the app’s appeal has been universal and that the startup will continue to build for the next generation.
The startup closed a Series A funding round in October with participation from investors in Southeast Asia, but declined to disclose the amount of funding raised.
In terms of the future, the startup wants to build “the default app for the next generation,” Beagen said. “We believe that social apps should fulfill their promise of making real genuine connections and getting people to connect in real life. In the meantime, we’re focused on building new exciting features and continuing to build our community. We also believe what we’re building, augmenting social experiences on a map, can power a new generation of creators and businesses worldwide.”