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Chatting Up With Qvaq


Qvaq is a web-based group messaging application that offers an easy way to create and join discussion groups based around interests, big or small. Developed by a team of two – Martin Lindkvist and Robert Birming – from Stockholm, Sweden, Qvaq has features that make chatting with others fun and simple.

“(Qvaq‘s) standard post mode is very simple, pretty much like an IRC chat,” says co-founder Robert Birming, who adds that co-founder Martin Lindkvist and him loves web development, from programming to usability and design. “But you can also switch to ‘extended post’ for text format features, video embedding and picture upload. Users at Qvaq can also start a private chat with any other member.”

Bringing Group Chatting To A New Level

Qvaq's simple, neat and user-friendly UI.

Qvaq's simple, neat and user-friendly UI.

The inspiration for Qvaq came from ‘the lack of a simple, yet powerful, web tools that allows you to keep track of and discuss your favorite interests with others’, says Robert says. “(The) Internet is so often about following people these days. We wanted to be able to follow topics instead,” he adds. “We think Qvaq, with its simplicity and wide functionality, clearly fills a gap here.”

The basic premise of an online platform for group chat is nothing new, of course – IRC has been around since the 80’s after all. But what Qvaq has done is to make chatting more accessible and more powerful, by taking, if you like, the features and functionality of microblogging service Twitter and mashing it with a traditional IRC.

See how Qvaq works in this video:


“We believe pretty much anyone can find Qvaq fun or useful,” Robert says. “You can use it as a fun way to waste time, or you can use it to keep up-to-date with the things that interests you, or you can use it as a handy tool for collaboration.”

The Qvaq team set out to design the product to be so simple and user-friendly that a user should ‘grasp the idea right away’. And they think they’ve succeeded. “It’s so easy to get started,” Robert insists. “The interface is very clear and you don’t need to know who to follow, and you don’t need to try to get people to follow you. Instead, simply find the groups (topics) that you are interested in – and you’re off.” The result of such a clear focus, was a sticky product that users actually really like. “We have developed other web apps in the past, but we have never before seen such a high percentage of returning users,” Robert says. “They also do spend a lot of time at the site. Many users keep a Qvaq tab open in their browser pretty much all day long.”

When it come to economics, Qvaq scales very well. And with the future ideas we have for revenue, we don’t think there will be any problems financing the site.” He didn’t elaborate on the potential revenue model. “Right now we are 100% focused at developing Qvaq further and getting the word out.” 

Keeping Costs Low And Inspiration High

Robert Birming, co-founder of Qvaq.

Robert Birming, co-founder of Qvaq.

“Entrepreneurship means freedom,” Robert declares. “The freedom of doing what we love to do, and to be able to do so where and when it pleases us.”

Qvaq was built with no funding whatsoever. “The main thing we have pumped into the project is our time,” Robert shares. “We always make sure to keep a cost-effective profile, so that we can try different ideas without having to worry too much if it’s going to take off or not.”  

“In short – stay low on expenses and you’ll be high on inspiration.” Robert and Martin walks the talk – they send in a picture of Martin’s austere living room (below) where most of the development for Qvaq is done, when they don’t work from an Internet cafe, that is. True bootstrappers indeed.

Martin's living room.

Martin's Lidkvist living room, where most of the programming for Qvaq is done.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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  • Walter

    Hey Daniel how have you been? Looks like there are more and more ways to be engaged continuously online, whether you are at home, on the bus, in the pub, or in the john! The only thing they haven’t invented an application for is a “time creator” app….

    I just wonder though how Qvaq is going to muscle its way through a very competitive mobile chat market. That would be interesting to see.

    • Daniel

      Hi Walter,

      Life’s pretty good! How about you?

      It’s true there’s a plethora of ways for people to connect now, be it via desktop or mobile. I guess the challenge is how to make one’s offerings sticky and attractive enough for an audience that’s of a sufficient critical mass.

      It’s far easier to create a product than to maintain it.

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