In the business of apps

In the business of apps

The world is going mobile! India alone has nearly 85 crore mobile connections. New applications are driving the usage and growth of mobiles! And new words like ‘appification’, ‘appnomy’ have found their way into the dictionary. Here are the basics on starting a mobile apps venture

What does it take? To create an app, you need to have an idea. It can be based on customer need. For example, is there a way in which phone books can be improved to give more relevant information about your friends and family?

Understanding distribution: Apps can be downloaded using app stores like Ovi. Start-ups can also tie up with operators like Vodafone and share revenues generated from customers. Content aggregators like Onward Mobility also play a part in bringing apps to customers via their extensive relationships. Original equipment manufacturers (example Nokia and Micromax) can also be tied up for pre-embedding your apps with their handsets. Companies like Onward Mobility sell apps via a retail channel of shopkeepers.

Technology options: There are various platforms to develop apps, including Android, Symbian/QT, J2ME, Bada, Windows etc. Each has got its advantages and disadvantages which could include ease of learning the programming languages, availability of hardware/software support for testing apps, or porting from one to another platform. It is also important that the team has basic understanding of programming languages like Java, C and C++.

Mass or Class? As a start-up, you need to focus — do you want to build a mass app or a class app — on what kind of consumers you are targeting. Some companies build an app a day, while others take years to build it, to which consumers and investors react well. For example, Apalya Technologies, Hyderabad, has built an app that allows you to watch live TV on your mobile itself!

Marketing strategy: Digital media like internet (Google, Facebook) and other media like SMS marketing are good platforms. PR can also generate good leads — journalists like to write about a good app.

Mobile Developer Forums are also a good way to connect and spread the word. Also, apps can be copyrighted, so don’t worry about

app-theft! n

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About the Author

Amit Grover, founder of, is an IIT Delhi and IIM Indore alumnus, having more than 12 years of industry experience. He started Nurture Talent Academy, and earlier worked with Infosys, Asian Paints, Onida and Mumbai Angels. He regularly blogs on AHA Taxis, his recent venture, offers one way outstation travel across India.

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