Wed 14 October 2015 Written by Evi

Dubsmash - capturing the attention of millions of users! 


Written by Evi


How did 3 people come up with a smart tool that captured the attention of millions?


Jonas Drüppel, Roland Grenke and Daniel Taschik are the young minds behind the rising hit Dubsmash, a video-selfie app that lets you lip-sync to a hilarious list of short sound clips.

The three launched the app on November 19 in Germany, their home country, and saw how it conquered the sweet number one spot in the iOS store after just one week. The same happened soon after in 29 other countries and to this day 50 million people have Dubsmashed it worldwide, including celebrities like Rihanna, Khloe Kardashian, Cara Delevingne or Ben Stiller. Now the trio is hiring and exploring new opportunities with brands interested in bringing Consumer Generated Content to the forefront of their marketing efforts.

This incredible success story gleams with inspiring lessons for all app entrepreneurs. Tune in, here’s how they did what they did:

Share a vision

When discussing what to build after meeting at a Berlin Hackathon in 2012, Jonas, Roland and Daniel realised that people were doing two things: spending more and more time on their mobiles and using video to communicate. After agreeing on the shared vision of bringing videos into day to day mobile conversations, they looked at the existing video apps market and saw potential for creating something fun and so, the adventure started.

As an app entrepreneur, you want to do the same. Share a vision with your team but also with your customers. Build something people want before they know they want it and make sure there’s a space in the market for it.

Fail Again. Fail Better

Dubsmash is actually the trio’s third attempt at conquering the app stores. As they put it in their blog, “it didn’t entirely fall out of the sky and into the hands of our developers”; it’s the evolution of a series of trials and errors from which they gathered invaluable lessons.

Take Dubsmash’s predecessor, Starlize, a video application that let people make videos using songs from their music library. The three think it failed because it was too complicated and so, in their next attempt, they built an almost rudimentary User Interface which makes things incredibly easy for the end user.

Had it not been for this “failure”, the team would have not learned something you also want to keep in mind when building your own app: make it simple and and you’ll be on the right track.


Bend the rules

Dubsmash borrows sound clips from movies, podcasts or pop hits among other copyrighted material and, not only Jonas, Roland and Daniel haven’t been sued yet, but brands are loving it!

Rihanna announced the release of her latest single on Dubsmash and the producers of the Fast and Furious 7 made sounds and quotes from the movie available before it hit the cinemas as part of a marketing campaign.

So, without encouraging you to break the law, don’t be afraid of pushing the boundaries. You might find becoming an industry disruptor!


“Ship and shame”

This last bit of advice comes directly from Roland. In a videoed interview published in one of Facebook’s YouTube channels he tells people to ship early and make amends later.

You’ll never get it right or perfect. Give people what they want and work hard at fixing it later.