With the advent of social media, the popularity of internet memes took off as netizens started sharing photo and video memes on every topic they could think of. Be it dark humour or dank humour, political or social, memes have become an inseperable part of our virtual lives, especially for millennials and the GenZ. But what if you can get paid to create memes? Enter MemeChat, a novel solution to help brands access the best creators that was among the winners of AatmaNirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge.
Started in the summer of 2019 by Taaran Chanana and Kyle Fernandes, both 22 years old, MemeChat enables people to express themselves in the form of memes, and even get paid for it.
The duo from SRM University graduated in Computer Science in 2020 and have been developers since the age of 15. They met each other when they were studying in Delhi Public School (Gurugram), and bonded over their mutual interest in software and technology.
They were full stack engineers who worked on a freelance basis and they claim to have also received a YC Fellowship.
They first came up with the idea of a meme-making platform at the age of fifteen.
How the platform works
In a little more than a year after starting up, they have been able to rake in more than half-a-million users on their platform.
They also work with brands (FMCG and other industries) to access the best memes created in the network and use them to promote their products. The brands then pay the meme creators. This B2B2C model has made the startup set its sights on a big future.
“Our business model is based on the fact that we use user-generated feedback and promote user-generated content. The content that we receive is related to different brands, and it can be a TV show or a product/service. We get brands and then promote this kind of user-generated content. The revenue that we get from these brands, we keep some amount of it and give a part back to the users so that they are also more engaged in creating content,” says Kyle.
The users can create memes using paid templates, and get paid upon their approval. As another option, users can earn making memes in the requested category and get paid by brands.
The app also enables users to create personal groups and communities with friends and share memes in those groups.
“For the input, we make use of OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, or mobile apps and other consumer brands. Secondly, we build commission work. This helps the creator to create unique memes in various templates. The next step is where the users come into frame. Our users create memes using these a wide variety of templates available on our application. The approved meme is then boosted on the platform, as well as off-platform (Instagram, WhatsApp, Twitter). This is how these memes reach the end-users,” says Taaran.
Currently, MemeChat has a total of 11 full-time employees and 15 part-time employees. Their app has a total of 650,000 users, with over 130,000 monthly active users and is available on both Android and iOS devices.
The startup offers three products:
- MemeChat app: The main user app, where they incentivise users to create and distribute memes, and all approved memes are published on a feed.
- MemeChat keyboard: An integrated keyboard for both Android and iOS users where people can share memes instantly with their friends on WhatsApp, Instagram, or any other instant messaging app.
- MemeChat studio: A fully automated solution for brands and corporates to commission memes en masse, and get them distributed on various social media networks in the matter of a click.
MemeChat also offers an influencer programme where social media influencers can sign up on the platform and get paid a fixed rate to share memes on their pages and handles.
The founders are working to add more features on MemeChat app to make the platform better at recommending content, enable video meme creators to join the platform, and universalise meme-making with a standalone keyboard.
Taaran and Kyle add that they will organise LIVE meme festival events in India which will help nurture a strong community of creators and bring more users to the platform.
MemeChat was among the 24 apps from 6,940 entries to be selected as winners of the AatmaNirbhar App Innovation Challenge by MyGov. They were placed second in the Entertainment section, and will be felicitated by the Government of India with an award of Rs 15 lakh for making a product relevant to Indian business and consumers.
The founders underline why MemeChat is an important app for India:
“This product is important because this is making a lot of meme content creator self-reliant (Aatmanirbhar) to earn their own pocket money and is also making brands viral organically,” say the founders.