Kidder Williams makes a foray into the world of apps

KidderApps: Moneybags, sage advice (and a bit of fun)

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It’s an app, app, appy world.

It’s not just that everybody loves a good app. Everybody fancies himself or herself to come up with an idea for a good app. Why, even develop one, with the assistance of some code jockeys.

Last October, AppVillage raised $255,00 to set up a large ecosystem in which newbies, as much as the pros, can whip up an app. So, is it any surprise that a pure finance firm – quick to size up the M&As and corporate finance – fancies its chances in the world of apps?

Kidder Williams has flung its hat into the ring, believing its financial expertise will enhance the success of apps, and “also to have a bit of fun,” as founder David Williams told Anthill.

Williams is a 25-year investment banking veteran whose closest, daily, involvement with technology might be with his Blackberry. But that has been no obstacle. Trust his smarts to spot an opportunity.

Williams says his interest in apps “peaked” recently when Kidder’s client, Wellcom Ltd. (ASX: WLL), bought an app developer, Dreamwalk.

“We met the principals of that business who better educated us about their trials setting up their business,” he said. “Those guys impressed on us the opportunity and the need for a more comprehensive service for startups…i.e. money and advice.”

Thus was born KidderApp, an exclusive fund for app developers with seemingly no funding limits or domain. The firm is open to any type of apps, ones that might require millions to develop or the average one that likely will cost $50,000. Right now, Williams says, KidderApp is pumping in $2 million into the development of an app, and $100,000 into another.

“We have our own balance sheet in Kidder-related entities…there is no target, just looking for quality,” he said “….if a deal is good (can be profitable)  it can always be funded. It’s just a matter of pricing.”

Mobile apps is a huge space but crowded and fraught with risks. Williams concedes as much. But it’s “crowded with money but not with advice and connections,” he argues. As to the risks, there is a big failure rate but “we think we can take risk out by better partnering and focused advice from players already in the industry where the app is targeted.”

Besides, “we also do a lot of deals so we know what a good one looks like,” Williams asserts.

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