Where it's based: Seattle
When it was founded: 2009
Why it's Fierce: One of the biggest challenges for mobile developers isn't developing a great mobile app, it's developing a great mobile app that consumers can find, download and use. As application stores become crowded with hundreds of thousands of apps, it's becoming increasingly difficult for even the best developers to get the attention that their app needs to be a success.
That's exactly the problem AppStoreHQ is hoping to solve. The company has developed a way for consumers to discover relevant Android, iPhone and iPad applications by analyzing mobile application buzz from influential voices on Twitter and the Web. The company's solution combines that information with a proprietary technology that takes data from reviews, download volume and ratings to show users the most relevant and appealing apps.
Currently, users can purchase apps via links on the company's Web site, which take the user directly to the application store listing for the application. However, AppStoreHQ plans to soon launch an Android-based app that consumers can download to their phone so that the discovery process can occur directly on the device. The company is focusing first on an Android-based app because it believes that the discovery problem is worse in Android than it is on the iPhone.
Of course, once AppStoreHQ launches its Android app it will face the same challenges that it is trying to help developers solve--getting its Android application discovered and downloaded. The company has several plans for doing that, including getting its app reviewed by prominent reviewers, using social networking to draw attention to the app and promoting it on its Web site, which currently draws about one million visitors per month.
Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Chris DeVore teamed with ex-Amazon employee Ian Sefferman to form AppStoreHQ in 2009. The company is headed by CEO Scott Blanksteen, a veteran of Seattle-based Qpass, which was acquired by Amdocs in 2006.
AppStoreHQ is backed by Founders' Co-op, a seed-stage investment fund where Devore is currently a general partner. The company is small--it currently has just five employees--but it has big aspirations.
Blanksteen said the company has several avenues for generating money. It can charge developers to promote their app, it can insert advertisements in its search and recommendation engine, or it can also charge companies for access to its growing developer community.
But perhaps the company's bigger opportunity is to offer the solution in a white-label format to operators, retailers and other companies interested in providing apps to consumers. Operators clearly can benefit from this type of solution. Blanksteen said most consumers buy a smartphone, download about 10-20 apps and stop--primarily because they can't easily find more appealing apps.
What's next: AppStoreHQ is currently working to get better visibility with consumers and application developers. In addition, the company is gearing up for a new product that it plans to launch in second quarter.