How Tango navigated business pivots and growth in their streaming platform with DigitalOcean

tango website
“It’s not only about the price, it’s also about proving stability, proving a quality level of support, good communications, and understanding our business. These factors led us to move even more projects into DigitalOcean and continue to grow on DigitalOcean.”
Yury Kamyshenko, Head of R&D, Cyprus

Early success in mobile

Established in 2009, Tango began as a pioneering venture aiming to bridge the communication gap between iOS and Android platforms globally. During an era dominated by desktop-based applications like Skype, Tango introduced a new concept that allowed mobile users to interact seamlessly across different operating systems via mobile networks and Wi-Fi. This innovation quickly caught on, with Tango amassing one million users shortly after launch, a number that grew to 300 million by 2015.

Despite its early success, the advent of WebRTC technology significantly lowered the barriers to entry for audio and video communication applications, increasing competition for Tango. As a result, Tango began losing its market share, prompting a pivotal shift in its business model.

Pivot to live streaming and prioritizing low latency

Tango was looking to pivot their business model, and they started to see an emergence of live streaming, especially in China. The company transitioned from its original messaging service to be one of the first live streaming platforms, allowing people to easily stream to audiences globally. As Head of R&D, Cyprus, Yury Kamyshenko said “In a couple of taps users could be live and share themselves worldwide.” Tango also innovated by offering a platform that wasn’t supported by ads, but focused on user donations.

As Tango evolved, the technical demands of supporting a global live streaming platform became increasingly complex. The need for low-latency video communication that could scale effectively during high-traffic periods led Tango to seek robust cloud solutions. As Yury mentioned “We recognized that we needed to invest in our own visual platform to bring users low latency and make them feel like they are really close to each other.”

Tango needed cloud solutions that were scalable, cost effective, and worked across the globe. They began by using a hyperscale cloud provider, but realized that the high cost and points of presence were not enough for Tango’s needs, as they wanted to distribute traffic across the globe. Tango’s management team had an existing relationship with DigitalOcean, and they found that DigitalOcean would be able to provide them with attractive costs and the ability to be in locations they needed.

Tango began using DigitalOcean Droplets and enjoyed the simplicity and hands-on support from the DigitalOcean team, who have worked with Tango to ensure they have what they need to be successful on DigitalOcean. This has included providing DigitalOcean engineers with access to Tango’s backend metrics to help them better understand challenges they face and come up with solutions to mitigate them.

tango diagram

Future growth with DigitalOcean

Over time, Tango has moved more projects to DigitalOcean, recognizing that the combination of good costs, stability, and support provided by DigitalOcean is helpful to their growing business. At the start of 2024 Tango had its largest video platform hosted on DigitalOcean, and now hosts four platforms of different on DigitalOcean’s cloud.

As Yury says: “It’s not only about the price, it’s also about proving stability, proving a quality level of support, good communications, and understanding our business. These factors led us to move even more projects into DigitalOcean and continue to grow on DigitalOcean.”

The partnership with DigitalOcean has not only supported Tango’s operational needs, but also aligned with their strategic growth objectives, with Tango exploring utilizing more of DigitalOcean’s features over time, including virtual private networks and Spaces Object Storage. This has had significant benefits for Tango, including enhanced video quality and a broadened global reach. Along the way, DigitalOcean’s support team has been by Tango’s side to recommend architecture improvements and help migrate them to new products.

In the future, Tango also hopes to utilize some of DigitalOcean’s GPU powered compute through Paperspace by DigitalOcean, and looks forward to their continued close partnership with DigitalOcean, with Yury mentioning “Every time I participate in some technical infrastructure related discussion inside our company, I look into DigitalOcean’s abilities and how easy it is to use DigitalOcean with new activities and internal projects, because we want to continue growing alongside DigitalOcean.”

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