After two-and-a-half years leading social media analytics company Brandwatch in Asia, Christel Quek has re-emerged as a co-founder of Bolt Global, a mobile content streaming service with a focus on developing markets.
Bolt is based in Singapore but its key markets include Indonesia and Kenya. It also operates in Malaysia, Brunei and Brazil. Quek, who serves as chief commercial officer, said she co-founded the service with an existing team at SyQic, a broadcast operations company that operates in Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and London.
The web-browser-based service is able to stream TV, video and gaming content to low-bandwidth smartphones. Quek said it has around 3 million monthly transactions and a staff of 25. Users are not required to download an application and can make micro-payments via mobile wallet. Quek said cricket coverage had been a driver of recent user growth.
"Ultimately we want to develop an all-encompassing, interactive mobile experience which includes live content, sports and news highlights and gaming while remaining data-efficient and contextually relevant," Quek said.
The company is backed by private investors. Quek did not disclose the names of the investors but said the company has formed partnerships with Discovery Networks and telcos Maxis, DiGi, Indosat, XL and DST.
Quek told Campaign that Bolt sees strong potential in Africa in particular and that the market is “what China was 30 years ago”. “There’s a lot of appetite for good content,” she said. “That’s why digital is so important. It means being able to democratise the delivery of great content.”
She said she sees Bolt as “a personal calling to empower and entertain under-served communities around the world”.
Quek said the platform would carry advertising but said she wanted to make sure any commercial messaging on the platform is “done well". She said Bolt had had talks with some large FMCG companies as potential clients. The company is trialing a pilot advertising offering with one of its broadcasters, she said, adding that "programmatic advertising might not be the best fit for us due to contextual concerns".
Observers have speculated that Netflix is likely to carry advertising as a way to grow in less developed markets that cannot afford its relatively high subscription fees. Quek said Bolt differs from services such as Netflix in that it “captures audiences in lean-in kind of moments” for short viewing periods, or “snack-sized content”.
Separately, Quek also serves as CMO of Zilliqa, a Singapore-based blockchain platform. Quek joined Brandwatch in 2015 after spending two years as head of content at Twitter. She established Brandwatch's presence in Asia with business from companies such as Uber, Samsung and Prudential.