SAN JOSE, Calif., May 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Watch marketplace SOMA announced today that its freemium model will convert to a paid subscription for merchants later this year. "SOMA offers merchants several important value propositions in one place," notes co-founder Jukka Hilmola, "and a paid-subscription model will allow us to monetize more rapidly."
For watch brands with merchant accounts, SOMA will convert from free to paid service in three stages. For the first phase, which will end later this year, early brand partners will be "grandfathered" in for life with a free SOMA account. For the second phase—the timing of which is yet to be announced—brands will receive a free grace period after which they will pay the SOMA subscription cost. Finally, SOMA will be 100% paid.
For individual SOMA users, SOMA has no plans to leave the "freemium" model. Watch consumers can subscribe, create an account, interact, buy, and sell for free—though they will have the option to upgrade for more enhanced (paid) functionality and to purchase value-added features in the future.
SOMA's blockchain-based app addresses three distinct needs of the watch community: community interaction, transactions, and a tracking system that stores the history and identity of a watch. "With this three-in-one value proposition," notes Jacob Andra, another co-founder, "the whole really does become more than the sum of its parts." Watch buyers can discover new brands, share their discoveries, and interact a la traditional social media networks. They can also transact within the same user interface where they're interacting. Lastly, the "digital watch identity" component occurs behind the scenes while users interact and transact.
SOMA has considerable forward momentum. The company recently received a €1.1 million seed funding round, including funding from the Finnish government. As of now, they have signed more than 60 watch brands to participate, and they expect to have more than 100 by the launch of their watch community in late June. SOMA begins with a beta launch of 100 users who will test the app and submit feedback—as well as enjoy a variety of exclusive discounts and limited "SOMA edition" watches from participating brands. Currently, SOMA is accepting applications for users to participate in this initial "Cohort 1."
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