Nick D’Aloisio is the latest teen sensation and superstar of the start up world. Having sold his app Summly and his services to Yahoo for a record $30 million, he has been the source of heated debate regarding whether the figure was warranted, and whether he is the messiah Yahoo seems to see him as. What it conclusively demonstrates though, is the potential an app has to transform a business.
How did he achieve success?
D’Aloisio proves that a great idea, a bit of business savvy and some honest refinement can go along way when it comes to developing an app. He started with an app called ‘Trimit’ in 2011. A text condenser, the app shrunk whatever content you pleased into 1000, 500 or 140 character summaries, all with a shake of your iPhone (it was sold only on the iOS app store).
The concept turned a lot of heads, being listed as an App store app of the week and attracting the attention a Hong Kong billionaire who gave D’Aloisio $300,000 in funding. Using that money he remodelled Trimit, based on feedback the app had received from consumers and reviewers, turning it into the news-aggregating, money-pile-to-be Summly.
The key difference, D’Aloisio said is, “Trimit was about content creation… Summly solves the need for more concise and efficient content-consumption while browsing on a mobile device.”
D’Aloisio is one example of many who demonstrate that, while apps are by no means a sure thing, for someone with a brilliant idea and some business savvy, they could be the start of a very successful business. However, most app developers turn in less than $500 per month,
What are some of the success stories?
Protogeo created the Moves fitness app, which is an ever-running pedometer and journey tracker, giving you a visual display of how much or, how little, you moved that day. The intelligent bit of the app is its ability to automatically distinguish between your different types of movement, be they walking, running, stationary or on transport. The app is modelled as a more convenient alternative to products such as Nike+ Fuelband and has drawn $1.6 million in funding.
With the tagline ‘We simplify Enterprise Mobility’, Airwatch’s business isn’t based on a single app, rather positions itself as ‘mobile application management’ service. Creating a bevy of applications to cater to the bring-your-own-device office, the company secured $200million in funding with its ability to increase organization privacy, streamline sharing and manage devices.
Snaptee’s simple yet brilliant app allows users to turn their iPhone photos into a graphic on a t-shirt. Able to access both your Instagram account and your photo library to edit and shop into a design you love. It also has a marketplace function to give users the option of selling their designs to others. Remixing the t-shirt printing business has so far netted the company $600,000 in funding.
Wallit is the latest of a sea of social apps, which allow users to check into and discuss locations. The feature that sets the app apart, developers say, is the ability to create augmented-reality style photos to embellish your post. The premise seems a little shallow, but with high power association from organisations, such as SXSW festival, the app has secured $1.2 million in funding.
Path is a messaging suite, which positions itself between a full-blown social network, and a static text based messaging service. Incorporating photos, stickers and location services, the app is asking you to expect more from your messaging service or device. For doing so, the app has received over $30million in funding.
Matt Edwards is interested in the cutting edge of digital and mobile media and is currently working at app development firm Fuse Mobile.
PS: This article has been posted here before.