This Islamabad Based Startup Wants to Challenge Whatsapp

It’s rare for a Pakistani startup to aim high and target a global audience but Zapbuddy is an exception.

A small team, working out of a basement in Islamabad, wants to challenge the supremacy of Whatsapp by adding patented features that they claim will outshine already available chat apps.

While this may seem like a long shot, the home-grown ZapBuddy app is as smooth as you could ever expect. It’s primarily a chat app, much like Whatsapp, FB messenger, Line and many others that are out there. To distinguish themselves, they have added multiple new features that they hope will make them stand out.

Below are some of the unique features of ZapBuddy:

Augmented Reality

ZapBuddy’s main distinguishing feature have is Augmented Reality. AR is one of the hottest fields of 2018 and the app integrates it into the chat platform quite well.

Using Augmented Reality, users can see the locations of other users through their camera and also use a radar to determine locations. The radar can work as an alternative if, for some reason, Maps are down.

Zapbuddy also cleverly uses AR to locate nearby points of interest or even search one for that matter.

Beyond that, it’s pretty simple and we feel there are many more possibilities to explore. The team has assured us that there is much more to come with regards to AR and Zapbuddy.

Location and Display Picture Privacy

With Zapbuddy, users have the option to set different display pictures for different categories of users.

Users can set different display pictures for people within contact book, different for people outside phonebook who may have your number, different for blocked users and even set a picture for specific contacts.

This is a feature the team feels is going to be very helpful with more and more people becoming privacy conscious. Similar settings are available for location as well. This can be useful when you want to share your location with friends but not with other people in your contact list.

Exceptional Notifications

Moving on, they claim that ‘exceptional notifications’ are another of their unique features.

With this feature, even if chats are on silent, you’ll be able to get notifications from a person in the exceptions list.

App Lock

Furthermore, there is a neat feature called Lock Screen functionality. It enables users to lock the app and share their phone thus not allowing friends to see chats and conversations.

Again, like the previous features this is also to ensure privacy.

Privacy and Performance

The chat app is end to end encrypted and according to details shared by the team, the level of encryption exceeds industry standards.


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As far as the performance is concerned, the app is smooth, sleek and neat. The team told us that they have hard-tested the app with several hundred thousand concurrent connections to make sure that back-end is solid and prepared for any spikes.

Available for iOS for Now

This is going to be a deal-breaker for majority of Pakistanis as ZapBuddy is available for iOS only for now. But team is working hard to get the Android version ready.

iOS version can be downloaded from here.

More information on ZapBuddy can be obtained from their website from here:


Competing with Whatsapp is the last thing an entrepreneur would want, but we must not underestimate the potential of ZapBuddy.

For example, if Government of Pakistan plans to roll-out a local version of Whatsapp — for reasons you can imagine — ZapBuddy could immediately become a great locally developed chat app for the country.

Looking at the app, its user experience and the features, the team definitely deserves applause. However, only time will tell if they invested their time in the right solution or not.

A lot will depend on how ZapBuddy will market its product and what route will it take to reach their first million users.

Tech and telecom reporter for over 15 years

  • I just downloaded the app and have used it for a few minutes now. The augmented reality feature with the ability to search nearvy locations is a great feature. Good luck to the team!

  • nothing what google maps in whatsapp cant resolve in seconds no need for another similar app.

    Nevertheless a local version of whatsapp should have been made long time ago to rather then to depend on foreign apps who are prone to US surveillance and has already gathered all high profile intellectuals house locations, facial recognition and even voice analysis from facebook, instagram etc. good luck traveling to western world when u r on the hit list of CIA.

    Learn from the Chinese Wechat app. better support china instead of USA a world wide known treacherous ally and back stabbers and supporter of terrorist from Syria to Afghanistan and now quite recently in Philippines.

    Have we all forgotten how US Apachi Gunship helicopter gunned down our soldiers knowingly and then our coward generals such as Kiyani managed to block NATO supplies for months only to give-into US pressure and waste our soldiers sacrifice.

  • Wonderful. very unique idea. hoping to see this application on the top of all chatting apps. and hoping to see this team, recognizing our country in the whole world.

  • Any tech savvy can create a Facebook similar app would be most welcomed in Pakistani population as it would be more secure to probing US surveillance as well as no terrorist would be allowed to make a recruitment account on Facebook. And will save us from irritating ads from Facebook

  • The GUI seems boring on iOS. Hope they will make it fun on Android. And one thing, they should compete with Telegram, whatsApp is already a crap. I like the DP feature. Even Telegram don’t provide.

  • we have to wait for further development, enhancements etc. please give them positive comments and appreciation to encourage their work and efforts, they will be happy to replace apps like whatsapp and facebook messengers at least here in Pakistan. one thing should mentioned here what are the limits to share audio/video/images and any other types of files through this messenger if we are comparing with WA and FB etc. or i have not clearly understood ?

  • All the best to the team. My advice would be to initially find a niche target audience group. Theb gradually shift towards competing WhatsApp. If they strike the correcg niche they will not have a problem with themselves funded.

  • Features are good, had once thought of them a few years ago, but good to see tech catching up. The only downpoint I see is the logo, needs to be more at par with international trends.

  • First anybody who is in industry knows there is nothing new here. Augemented Reality has been around for 5 years. Don’t know why people do things which are already done. Second they are placing their bet that Pakistani Government will ban Whatsapp and as they are facebook related, Facebook too. A third class product and third class prospects.

  • It is stupid to make slogan that we are competing with WhatsApp. This shows immaturity of people here in Pakistan. WhatsApp have billions of users billions in bank and well established product which users have no reason to change. This thing has failure written all over it so please try to be little humble and realistic. Also Pakistanis need to develop new things and stop doing short cuts. Making genuine innovation takes long term upfront effort which impatient Pakistani people cannot make.

  • looking Forward to download this app looking nice but want to ask is this an Android application

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