Case Study: Appsplit, Niche Crowdfunding And Breaking Through

appsplit-logo-redAmong the growing number of niche crowdfunding platforms, Appsplit has one of the more interesting approaches in that their service is extremely tailored to the industry they serve.

AppSplit is a crowdfunding and crowdsourcing platform for app developers. Rather than pursuing a singular focus on funding for app developers, Appsplit targets other industry pains as well, namely talent acquisition and a secondary market for existing apps.

There are three types of campaigns on the platform:

  1. Fund – Crowdfunding for app development
  2. Sell – Sell an existing app, either in part or in full
  3. Develop – Seek and acquire talent to help you build the app of your dreams

appsplit

The industry the App Stores created is a broad and complex one. In that context Appsplit’s approach makes a lot of sense. Why limit the benefit to funding? This is an approach that other niche platforms should take note of. Truly serving the needs of any startup in any sector may require considerations past simple funding. What other issues do companies in that sector have when trying to get off the ground? What other benefits can a platform (or partner) provide?

Many platforms are nailing solutions for the social needs of investors and stakeholders alike, but often times I feel the innovation ends there. I’m admittedly painting in broad strokes here. Consider it more of a challenge than an indictment.

Despite some early press from Techcrunch and others following their launch last year, activity has been a little light. Over 1,000 registered users has translated to 87 launched campaigns with 67 more in draft status. 3 apps have been developed via the “develop” campaign type and $5,000 has been raised in total.

Appsplit may have a bit of an uphill battle in regards to carving out their place in crowdfunding history. The niche they aim to serve is relatively small for now, and other platforms are also active in the space. Kickstarter makes plenty of noise in the software space (particularly gaming), and they get to reap the benefits of their general interest platform on top of it. (This is why I have my doubts about certain niches)

The good news is that things change rapidly in software circles and in the mobile sector. If HTML5 really took off as a means of app development that could potentially lower the barrier to entry for creating mobile- and tablet-friendly applications, and this in turn could provide a huge new market to a platform like Appsplit. Device usage is obviously skewing toward these on-the-go devices. There is also the rapid rise of smartphone sales in emerging markets to consider.

Could Appsplit be out ahead of this trend? It seems crazy to think that you could be out ahead of apps in 2013, but I don’t think the idea is that far fetched. The data seems to be there to support it.

Regardless, this is a niche platform with a unique approach that deserves some attention. We’ll be watching to see if the platform can grow with the industry it is serving.

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