Thulani Ngwenya, founder and CEO of YouDeh.
YouDeh, a social media app that allows South African fans to connect with their favourite celebrities, looks to grow its current user base and expand to more countries.
So says Thulani Ngwenya, technology specialist, as well as founder and CEO of YouDeh, speaking to ITWeb.
The Durban-headquartered start-up was launched in May 2021, and has already amassed about 10 000 users.
The social media app allows fans to create an account and request a virtual meeting with celebrities who have profiles on the app.
“Although social media apps such as Instagram and Twitter have made it easier for fans to keep up with the lives of their favourite celebrities, direct access to them is not as easy as simply sending them a message – particularly because of the many private messages they receive from their followers on a daily basis,” says Ngwenya.
To interact with a celebrity on YouDeh, fans can pay personally set prices for a private meeting in the form of a video chat with their favourite celebrities. For example, a celebrity can set the price for a video chat at R150 for 30 minutes.
Upon every successful online transaction, YouDeh receives a commission of 30%.
Some of the celebrities currently on the app are media personality Somizi and music producer Oskido.
“Every user has a digital wallet on the app they can use to pay for meetings, streamed events and also use it to receive payments. The wallet can be topped up with a credit, debit card or PayPal,” adds Ngwenya.
For all other video-conferencing platforms or apps, one needs to have the contact details of the users that will participate so that they can receive the connecting instructions. With YouDeh, you are only required to create a short profile on the app, or login with a Google, Facebook or Apple ID account, he explains.
“YouDeh is not limited to celebrities and their fans only, but entrepreneurs, lawyers, doctors and tutors can also benefit through the app by providing services at a certain rate, and users can also create virtual events on the app.”
Ngwenya says it hasn’t always been an easy journey to market the app because he is self-funded, so that causes limitations, especially from a marketing perspective.
However, the challenges faced will not hinder his long-term goal, which is to make it fully operational in SA and launch it in at least five other countries.
The YouDeh founder is confident the app has a lot of potential to connect people from different backgrounds according to their interests.
The app is available for download from the App Store and Google Play Store.