“PreApps” is an authority website that previews new and exciting mobile apps coming soon.
Below is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘Casto’ regarding his internet start-up company;
1. What is it exactly that you do and what “PreApps” is all about?
Our vision for PreApps is to forever enhance the relationship between mobile app developers and mobile app users, which will in turn create better apps. By implementing user feedback in the development process, apps have a greater chance of success, and for users a more enjoyable experience. Our collaborative process results in promoting pre-release buzz, pre-opted in user downloads, and critical developing user feedback.
For developers, they can load their app profile onto our platform for FREE and start to build up a following online. We also offer premium analytics and marketing services, for apps that want additional expsosure and insight into their customers. Developers also have the ability to recruit Beta testers for their apps. Developers get to keep the data of all of the end users that want to Beta test the app and wish to download it upon release.
For end users, you can view screenshots and descriptions of new apps as you would in the app store, but with a few more features. On PreApps, you can watch a video trailer about the app, much like you would a movie trailer. You can also rate the app, share it with your friends, and sign up to be a Beta tester (at the discretion of the developer). When your favorite apps go live on the App Store, you can even have a push message sent to your phone to remind you that the app has gone live.
Building prerelease buzz is effective and increasingly essential for success. With the help of PreApps.com, developers can take the confusion out of the process and enjoy significant benefits, as well as ensure that their app meets with the utmost in popularity and accessibility.
2. When has “PreApps” been founded? And what stage is “PreApps” currently at?
Our startup was founded in January of 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. We have since secured Angel financing and have become fully operational. PreApps.com is live and has the ability for developers to upload their apps and for users to preview new apps coming soon. Our official launch is January 24, 2013.
3. What is “PreApps”‘s business model and how does it work?
Our business model is to acquire as many app users and developers to our platform. Our platform is free for users. For developers our platform is free, but we offer premium services such as advanced analytics, featured marketing, and value added services such as video production, press release creation, and app logo creation.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
I used a variety of different sources to meet people. Initially, I knew some people through Northeastern. Through friends, family, and university contacts, I was able to meet some strategic business partners and advisors. Through the internet, I ended up meeting programmers throughout the world. The rest of our team I either met locally in Boston or through job postings online.
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make?
If you want to know what movies or music albums are coming out soon, get descriptions, and watch trailers, there are plenty of sites for those, but what about apps? There really isn’t a central marketplace to preview apps that are coming soon. PreApps is the exclusive place to preview new and exciting apps coming soon for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Android, and Windows 8 & Mobile.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has “PreApps” achieved so far?
Our growth has been significant. We litterally had to start at zero. Since our inception, we’ve secured Angel funding, and will officially launch January 24. Recently, we have added Windows 8 and Mobile to our platform, which only featured iOS, Mac, and Android apps. We have also secured an entire community of app developers and users to sign up for our platform.
7. Who are your competitors? And what is “PreApps”‘s competitive advantage over them?
Some of our main competitors include companies like Appspire.me, which provides prelaunch marketing for app companies, and AppStori which connects apps with users and raise money.
Appspire.me is more of a traditional marketing firm that is developer focused, whereas PreApps has a dual focus on developers and end users. PreApps also functions as social media platform as opposed to a marketing firm.
For Appstori, they have a marketplace type feel and connect users with developers, but their end goal is to fund apps, similar to Kickstarter. Our goal is simply to be the largest pre-release app marketplace regardless of the desire to raise money. Established companies who do not need to raise money would not post their apps on money raising sites.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
The two major obstacles faced was funding and building out the platform. As a young entrepreneur asking for money is never easy, but I felt the concept was too good. I eventually had to come out of my comfort level and make the ask, eventually I found an angel investor.
Building the platform was a whole different animal. Using a combination of different designers and programmers, we finally came up with something that works, looks good, and is easy to use. That took a lot of hard work, long hours, and banging my head on a keyboard.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
50% of all app sales revenue is generated by just 25 developers. Think of the tens of thousands of app developers in this country alone and you get a sense of how big this market could be. Since the consolidation in the field, small app developers have been left out of the party. But with soon to be 300 million smartphones in the U.S. alone, there is major market for new apps.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
We feel we are first to market with our concept. There does not exist a central marketplace for mobile apps coming soon. Now there are plenty of good concepts that didn’t succeed. We have secured financing, which is usually the toughest thing for a startup to do, and have become fully operational. The next big step is marketing and getting the word out, which if you are reading this, means that we are probably moving in the right direction.
11. If “PreApps” succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
We’ve identified other international markets such as India, China/ Southeast Asia, and Latin America that we would like to expand to. Mobile app usage is growing rapidly in those areas.
As we grow our company we would like to expand our developer base to have companies big and small from all around the world.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build “PreApps” based on?
With thousands of new apps released every month on the App Store and Google Play, it’s very easy for a developer to drown in the sea of new apps. Many times the best developers are good at developing, not marketing. PreApps wants to take some of the stress away from developers who wish to focus on their core competency, developing.
I have developed and released apps before, and found out first hand how difficult it was to market new apps and all of the pitfalls that lie therein. It was from this experience that I got the idea for PreApps. If there was a central marketplace for apps coming soon, you could generate enough pre-release buzz to boost your sales for the first four days of your app’s release. This could help you get higher rankings and even more exposure.
With 25 developers receiving 50% of all app sales revenue, the overwhelming amount of developers have left out of the market. PreApps hopes to level the playing field for the little guy.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
Everything has a price. If you want to succeed in life you have to be willing to pay the price. That’s not always in money either. You have to find the strength from within to do things you thought you were not able to do. You have to persevere even though things may look bleak. The end result is that you have something you are really proud of, and I’m very proud of what we’ve done with PreApps.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Our biggest problem will most likely be continuing to build up our developer and end user bases. It is a cycle that feeds on itself, with more content from developers you can attract more app users. With more app users you can attract more app developers who want access to those end users to market their apps to. We want to hit critical mass that gives us a leadership position in a very undeveloped field.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
For the customer, it is being able to discover apps before they hit the app store. To find new apps on the app store is extremely difficult.
App developers are competing against more than 1 million other mobile apps on the market. In the United States alone, over 28,000 apps are submitted to Apple a month, according to app metrics firm 148apps.biz. This app submission rate conveys high competition and the struggle for developers to promote their app.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
Our users have learned about PreApps from our advertising, social media, word of mouth, and trade shows. It is amazing that in this day an age people can find you from anywhere all over the world. People have reached out to PreApps all the way from Sweeden and from as close as my next door neighbour.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Our current customers are app users and app developers. Our app users are everyone from college students, a stay at home moms, and busy executives. Developers on our platform range from professional developers all the way to college students who are just learning the app development process.
Our revenue model comes from premium services to app developers which is who we target for revenue purposes.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
Our new customers and users have come from a variety of different sources. Developers have met us from Twitter & Facebook, local Developer MeetUp groups, college campuses, and anywhere else developers congregate. Our end users have come from the same sources and more.
We are grateful for all the support that we’ve received so far, and thank everyone for their business.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
Our users have had positive things to say about our platform. They said it has been easy to use and it is a great way to find out about apps coming soon the iPhone and Android Marketplaces.
We have also pasted a direct testimonial below:
“The mobile app industry is growing rapidly and new opportunities are evolving PreApps.com is capitalizing on this unique opportunity.”
- Tom Madigan (Vice President of Oracle, Consumer Sector And Energy Industries)
20. How are you going to scale?
As we grow, we will start an aggressive mass media marketing (TV, Print, Internet) and grassroots marketing campaign (colllege campuses, and MeetUp groups). While we have penetrated some markets, we seek to have a dominance in our field in most major markets throughout the country.
Our internal network infrastructure is easily scalable and can handle a large number of users. Once we have hit our internal milestones, we will probably engage in another round of funding.
Users and developers are also encouraged to interact with PreApps on Twitter and Facebook.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
Developers are asking for more access to users/marketing.
Getting an app on Google Play or on iTunes may be one thing, but getting them noticed is entirely different. Currently, few in the mobile app industry have the budget or experience to generate a mobile marketing strategy. That’s a problem that’s been plaguing the industry – until now.
As we grow and build our user base, the more access to users we will provide to developers at a cost efficient basis, so that developers can focus on what they do best.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
We have identified target markets in India, China, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. We would look to form partnerships in those locales as local knowledge is so key to success. For instance, Twitter doesn’t dominate social networking in China, Sina Weibo does. You have to understand each local market, and that’s what we want to do.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
This could get very big. According to analytics firm Flurry, over 50 million iOS and Android devices were activated, and 1.76 billion applications were downloaded from Christmas Day to New Years 2013. In 2013, overall smartphone activations are estimated to hit over 300 million. That means a lot of users.
When we are successful at acquiring a very large user base, that provides its own intrinsic value. Based on the results of other startups, this bodes very well for us. We are looking at a 3-5 year time frame to start to realize major growth.
24. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
We are looking to hire. We hiring everything from sales, marketing, programming, graphic design, and administrative. People can send their resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also appreciate any suggestion on how to improve our platform and development tools. For ideas, suggestions, or to provide feedback, please email email@example.com and we promise that your comments will be thoroughly discussed by our team.
25. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
We are not currently doing a round of funding, but we would listen to any offer. Anyone interested in offering us a business proposal or making an offer of venture capital funding should email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our business model is sustainable, and we do not require any additional funding at this time.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Edison didn’t invent the light bulb on the first try. Your startup won’t succeed in the first month. It takes many tries and figuring things out to advance a startup. It’s the journey that’s the most fun. If you don’t enjoy the journey, you probably shouldn’t be an entrepreneur.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
I hope everyone tries PreApps and finds something they would not have seen otherwise. If anyone has any comments on the site email us at email@example.com. I’d love to hear your feedback, and please tell all your friends to check out PreApps and link with us on Facebook and Twitter.