Startup of the day: Appsify .me, to quickly create and host iOS apps
Frenchweb invites you today to discover Appsify.me, a Parisian startup which allows, from a WordPress-type web interface, to design native iPhone applications. More details with Jérôme Collomb, CEO of Appsify.me.
Frenchweb: How did you get the idea for your company?
Jerome Collomb : The idea came to me from a frustration that arose in 2011, when I was working at Ebay in San Francisco. I was very interested in the development of iPhone applications and quickly realized that for that, you must either master the Objective-C language (rather complex and long to understand), or have a large budget to outsource the development .
Besides that, thousands of developers are proficient in web languages… Why not leverage these skills and allow them to create iPhone applications through a dedicated solution?
In April 2011, I exposed my frustration on a developer forum and received a comment from Leonardo who joined my point of view adding that thousands of web developers would dream of a solution allowing them to create native iPhone applications with their existing web skills.
We then embark on the creation of a prototype allowing the generation of Objective-C from a Web interface. In July 2011, we put it on sale on the CodeCanyon platform and three months later, more than 300 licenses were sold, without any promotion, marketing, or even name …
After long discussions, motivated by users asking for updates, more features, and above all a real product, we decide to leave our comfortable lives and create a company, back in France. We are rebuilding the product from scratch, launching a private beta in April 2012, followed by a public launch in September 2012.
Frenchweb: What need are you responding to?
340,000 iPhone applications were developed in 2012. 1 million applications are present in the AppStore. Since 2010, the demand for iPhone application development has grown exponentially, and represents a considerable opportunity for development agencies, quantifiable in millions of euros.
The problem is that thousands of web agencies of modest size cannot take advantage of this opportunity because they do not have the technical skills necessary for the development of iPhone apps (mastery of the Objective-C language) and do not have a budget. to hire a dedicated iPhone developer. Considering that the most standard iPhone application is billed between 2,000 and 4,000 euros, depriving yourself of this market represents a huge shortfall for web agencies.
Appsify.me addresses this need by allowing any web agency or freelancer to easily create native iPhone apps for their clients, with no expertise in mobile development required, all within hours and simply using their existing web agency skills.
Frenchweb: Very simply, how do you make money?
Anyone today can use Appsify.me, create their application, generate the code, and view their application in the Xcode simulator, for free, without even having to create an account.
If the user wishes to be able to distribute his application in the AppStore, he must purchase a license worth 239 euros (per application). This is a one-shot pricing, regardless of the number of pages / menus, users etc. The license also unlocks technical support, previewing the application on a physical device, and access to plugins (free and paid) to easily add powerful features to its application (push, advertising banners, WordPress synchronization, translation etc ..).
So far we are in 100% bootstrapping and live on income from sales. We are currently in search of funds and currently in discussions with several Business Angels.
Frenchweb: Who are your competitors?
Solutions like Titanium or Xamarin, but which are much heavier and more expensive, intended for large development studios. We focus on the mid-market, small web development agencies (less than 15 people), wishing to create iPhone applications for their clients, with a powerful but easy to learn solution.
Frenchweb: What or which companies are you being compared to in error?
I would say that many often identify us as an umpteenth “app-builder”, which for a monthly fee builds a cross-platform application in HTML5. They then understand, by trying the product, that we are different in many ways, the two most important of which are:
- The open aspect of our solution: the user downloads the source code of the application;
- The native aspect of applications: the CMS produces fast and robust apps, in 100% Objective-C.
Frenchweb: What was one of the first issues in your development, and how did you deal with it?
Our team works all over the world, notably with the two partners in France and Argentina respectively. From the start of the project, we had to put strict rules and tools in place in order to maintain constant and regular communication. We have been operating like this from the start and everything is going well. This goes hand in hand with the global positioning adopted, site in English, multilingual cms and technical support, sales in dollars etc.
Frenchweb: What is your main asset in this market?
Appsify.me is the only iPhone app creation solution designed specifically for web development professionals and agencies:
- the agency retrieves the source code of the application, can give it to the client (or modify it);
- the CMS for creating apps works on the agency’s server (WordPress-like);
- the agency can submit the app to the Appstore under its own account or that of the client;
- the solution can be used by a developer or a project manager;
- pricing adapted to agencies: 239 € per app, excellent budget visibility, no subscriptions;
- the only web-based tool allowing the creation of completely native applications (100% Objective-C).
Frenchweb: What is the best advice you have been given and by whom?
“Are you your own customer? Then stop developing for yourself! “(” Are you your own client? So stop developing yourself! “Note). Bob Dorf, co-author of Startup Owner’s Manual, whom I met a month ago at Microsoft.
We have sometimes developed plugins without necessarily being sure that our users needed them. As a result, we spent a month on it, and generated very few sales. It is extremely important not to develop for yourself because we find this function “cool”, but to ensure that it is a response to a customer need.
Frenchweb: Who is the personality you admire the most?
Scott Harrison, founder of Charity: Water.
Founders : Jerome Collomb and Leonardo Apiwan.
Investors : no
Creation date : April 2012 (statutes), September 2012 (launch date)
Number of employees : 2
Sales figures : NC
Company based in : Paris