Next

Next is a comfortable chatting environment on an audio social network platform, which connects applicants who want to study abroad with overseas students, so as to help people enlighten other people.
Innovative
STUDENTS INVOLVED
Chao Dai
Kun Qian
Huitong Li
Yushun Zhai
ABOUT
Start-up own business
Connection and Social
Next is not just about audio and conversation, it's also about sunshine, stars, bonfires and neon lights, because it's an unusual service that incorporates the environment into the chatting interface. Here, applicants can get accurate, tacit information about studying abroad, on the other hand, overseas students can also get a sense of achievement, personal brand building and additional income. What's more important is to achieve these goals through a high-frequency and fun way of information interaction. We believe that chatting is the most common entertainment activity of human beings, and this activity is valuable and worth exploring.
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Users and insights
Nearly 700,000 Chinese students go abroad every year. Because of the fear caused by different cultures, policies, and educational systems, throughout the application process, they will spend more than ten times the costs compared with European students. Therefore, we wanted to help Chinese applicants who want to study abroad to connect with overseas students, so as to reduce the information gap. We realised we needed to form a very strong bond with the supply side, that is, overseas students. This group has a relatively high quality of life. Their perception of a wonderful experience comes often from the atmosphere. In addition, most of them live alone, and there are places where they can comfortably use voice products. Therefore, we believe that the idea of connecting the two parties through an accompanying audio service incorporating atmospheres is reliable.

Mission & key features

After in-depth research of this group, we finally created NEXT which is a comfortable chatting environment on an audio social network platform. Next is not just about audio and conversation, it's also about sunshine, stars, bonfires and neon lights. Because it's an unusual service that incorporates the environment into the chatting interface, such as ‘seaside campfire’, ‘deep alley cafe’, or ‘old-fashioned train’. At the same time, space skins are also an important part of the achievement system and business model.

Key data from prototype

One of our team members acted as a knowledge sharer, publishing content about studying abroad on TikTok. We have successfully accumulated over 97,000 followers in three months and gained nearly 10,000 valuable comments. We directed some TikTok fans to our WeChat group. In the last four weeks, we organized 10 different activities to test different modes of conversation, with 181 users participating. In order to complete the prototype of the business (MVP), we generated actual revenue through the three additional services after the activities we held. Our conversion rate is approximately 10%. From these, the conversion rate to high-transaction customers was 3.8%.
Vision
The user data generated by the platform may provide market data for consulting services in travel, interior decoration, or educational innovation in the future, similar to the Tsudaya books model in Japan. In addition, it may become an important entry point for some Live Action Role Playing games, audio and video services, or VR applications in the future, so they are also important stakeholders. Of course, the vision of NEXT is to create a new way of transferring knowledge.
Seed capital
We would like to express our great regards to a SD classmate - Jerry Jin. Although we have not considered funding yet, we are very thankful to Jerry for offering us the seed capital in the current undesirable capital market.
special thanks
Many thanks to those who have contributed to our project, NEXT. We would like to express grateful thanks to the head of service design Clive Grinyer and our tutor Hannah Kops for their support and guidance. Very thankful to Service Design and the RCA for providing us with the great platform, allowing us to find our seed capital provider Jerry Jin even in tough times. Special thanks for those who have collaborated with us, Yusheng Lei, Tianjie Meng, Tian, etc. Last but not least, thanks our team members for their contributions to the project.
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