Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more and more popular in consumer mobile applications. In the first six days after the release of the ChatGPT mobile application, developed by the leading company OpenAI, it was downloaded more than half a million times. Now another AI app, Character.AI, created by a16z, is off to a great start with over 1.7 million new installs in less than a week. The developer, which received $150 million in venture funding this year and has a $1 billion business value, offers customizable AI companions with a strong personality and the ability for users to create their own characters.
Character.AI founders: AI experts
Interest in the Character.AI application is caused, in many respects, due to the experience of its founders. The Palo Alto-based startup team, led by Noam Shazir and Daniel De Freitas, are AI experts who previously led the Google research team that created the Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA), a model that promotes conversational AI.
Successful start and popularity in the market
After launching the mobile version of the AI chatbot platform on May 23 for iOS and Android users, the Character.AI app quickly took the lead, especially on Google Play. In the first 48 hours, over 700,000 Android users installed the app, surpassing popular entertainment apps like Netflix, Disney+ and Prime Video. This trend continues in the days after launch, with heavy installs in major Android markets including Indonesia, the Philippines, and Brazil. It should also be noted that the US is one of the leading markets for Android downloads.
User engagement and popularity growth
The popularity of the Character.AI mobile app is fueled by the success of its predecessor web app. More than 200 million monthly users visit the web app, according to the company, and the time spent on the platform averages 29 minutes per visit, which is 300% more than the ChatGPT app.
Users of Character.AI are quickly drawn into using the app. According to the company’s report, after sending the first message, users spend more than 2 hours on the platform on average. So far, users have created over 10 million individual AI characters.
Development and strategic partnerships
The Character.AI team, which consists of only 30 people, is actively working on expanding the functionality of the application, notes NIX Solutions. They recently launched c.ai+, a premium service that offers a similar set of benefits to ChatGPT Plus, including faster response times, access during peak periods, and continued access to new features. In addition, the company announced a strategic partnership with Google Cloud to build and train its AI models. Through this collaboration, the startup will use Google Cloud tensor processors to train and run large language models (LLMs) more efficiently and quickly.
Growth dynamics and challenges
Despite a successful start and high demand for Character.AI, interest in the app seems to have dwindled a bit since its release. The iOS mobile app currently ranks 13th in the Entertainment category on the US App Store, while it dropped to 27th on the US Google Play after hitting #5 in the early days.
The company claims it didn’t spend a significant portion of its marketing budget to get first installs. According to them, the app was launched without a dedicated marketing budget and 99% of the downloads were organic.