With the amount of money being earned from mobile apps, each app is just as much a legitimate business as its more traditional counterparts. However, there appears to be a lack of marketplaces and venues where app developers are able to sell the rights to their creations. Apptopia aims to fill that void, proudly calling itself "the first marketplace for app acquisitions." LoveToKnow Cell Phones had an opportunity to interview Apptopia Founder and COO Jonathan Kay about his company, its vision and its place in the overall digital ecosystem.
Jonathan Kay describes Apptopia as "a marketplace for brokering mobile app acquisitions." When an app developer is willing to sell his or her stake in the business, just as a small business owner can sell ownership in a cafe or Internet startup, the developer can then list the app on Apptopia, where it can be found by companies and investors looking for apps to purchase.
"We enable users to search through more raw sales, download, and usage data about apps than any other website on the Internet today," says Kay. "In some regards, we are the eBay for apps. Buyers really like working with us because we validate all stats and do not allow developers to edit stats." This isn't all talk either. In the first four months of Apptopia's existence, Kay asserts that the company was able to generate "over $175,000 profits" for app developers.
Into the Marketplace
While Kay isn't sure why there wasn't already an established marketplace for selling app ownership, he feels that Apptopia is still "a little bit early to market, but it's much better to be a little early than late." The app acquisition marketplace works with all kinds of apps, but the main focus continues to be on iPhone apps and Android apps.
Buying and Selling App Ownership
The actual listing and selling process is quite straightforward.
- Developers sign up for an account for free.
- Developers sync their iTunes or Google Play account.
- They then pick the apps they want to list.
- The app is listed and prospective buyers have the opportunity to learn more.
One of the key features of Apptopia, according to Kay, is that Apptopia validates "all stats and do not allow developers to edit stats. Rather we pull them directly from their developer accounts and update them every day. This allows buyers to confidently evaluate and make educated acquisition decisions."
Valuation of Apps
Furthermore, Apptopia "has a ton of experience with mobile app valuations," says Kay. "We have the unique experience of being part of over 65 different acquisitions and hundreds upon hundreds of conversations." They company is more than happy to "share that expertise" with developers to best determine what would be a fair valuation for the app business.
Demand for Apps
Kay has observed that "longevity is key" when it comes to finding the most profitable app acquisitions. He states, "Right now we are seeing massive demand for all kinds of casino apps. We are also seeing that puzzle and mind apps are very popular. The common thread here is that they both have a much longer shelf life than your average app."
Looking ahead to the future, Kay feels that iOS and Google Android will continue to be the dominant forces when it comes to mobile applications. "You will start to see more niche stores popping up, but based on sheer distribution alone I do not see how anyone surpasses them."
Even so, the app world is far from being saturated. Most apps are still in English and Kay looks forward to "what happens to the whole industry when more countries continue to get this functionality." Even though most apps are in English, Kay states that "they are selling in Nigeria, Chile, and Argentina". He continues, "I am excited to see how this entire crazy industry becomes even more international than it is already. We see it a lot with our marketplace. At least 50% of our business is outside the U.S."
Providing an Exit Strategy for Developers
It is very difficult for the average independent app developer to get in contact with bigger companies that make apps like Glu Mobile. As profitable as an app may be for the developer, he or she still needs to have an exit strategy at some point, "cashing out" on his or her efforts.
Tthat's exactly what Apptopia aims to provide. "We help app developers actually 'exit' the market like Instagram ($1B) and SocialCam ($60M) did," says Kay. The Apptopia COO also provides one other piece of advice: "Mobile and web are very similar. A lot of the skills from being a web entrepreneur translate one-to-one. If you are a good business person you should definitely throw your hat in the ring, as your experience is relevant and there is a lot of money out there right now. Go get some of it."