Applauze and the New App-Commerce
Applauze Founder Kiran Bellubbi’s take on Mobile UX is, “Your first experience has to be efficient, the second one useful and third one profound.”
Our first experience with Applauze (in July 2013) simply blew us away:
whoa – applauze app – from install to useful in 2 seconds – great UX – kudos. @applauze
— rohit sharma (@rohit_x_) July 12, 2013
Our second experience with Applauze came from a place we treasure: our Founder platform. As luck would have it, the company’s office space was right next to True portfolio company Kicksend, and Pradeep Elankumaran recognized a future True company in the amazing team at Applauze. Pradeep impressed upon us the quality of Kiran and his team, their dedication to beautiful design and the success that was so clear to see across the office. As we began to reference the team, we discovered another close tie between Seth Goldstein, Founder of DJZ (also a True portfolio company), and Kiran. It seemed the more we asked our Founders about Applauze, the more incredible references we heard from those we trust most.
We spent more time with the Applauze team over the summer, and quickly became impressed with their deep success and experience building iOS apps. After delivering eight “Apps of the Week” and five Apple “Hall of Fame” apps, and being iPhone “App of the Year” runner-up for 2012 behind Instagram, it is abundantly clear that the team behind Applauze (working together as the company 955 dreams) uniquely combines design, data and analytics to deliver a mobile experience that cannot be delivered in any other medium. Their apps, including The History of Jazz, On the Way to Woodstock and Band of the Day have delighted many millions of users in the past few years.
In addition to a great track record of successful app design, the team’s relationships and over 5 million users of their prior music apps represented a significant strategic advantage when they launched Applauze earlier this year. Since that time, growth has been extraordinary, as has monetization.
The success of Applauze is part of a much larger trend in the app marketplace. Whereas the initial wave of successful apps generated significant page views and social actions, many of these proved difficult to monetize. My partner Toni Schneider likened these to the early “web page” days, when sites generated lots of page views but were too small and narrow to command significant ad sales. Recently, this has changed, and we are witnessing the emergence of a new breed of apps that deliver a clear, authentic, branded commerce experience to a large group of valuable users.
In mobile screen-mediated commerce, you only have a few swipes and even fewer seconds to take the user from discovery to delight. This new category of commerce is not e-commerce; it is not mobile-commerce; it is app-commerce. Many of these apps are quietly scaling to very significant daily revenue numbers, and Applauze is one of them. We think app commerce is the next big trend in the app marketplace, and we’re excited to now be working with one of its early leaders.
Applauze is a rare team that understands app commerce deeply, appreciates the challenges, and is delivering the best experience on mobile screens for event discovery and purchases. The team behind Applauze analyzes each touch and each swipe, and tailors an individual experience for each user depending on their location, preferences, taste, social connections and many other factors. Doing so for millions of users and thousands of new events per day across dozens of cities requires deep machine-learning skills, and the ability to deliver real time, data-driven insights to each screen within the app. This is not merely “big data;” this is a great example of transforming big data to serve up a customized experience at your fingertips.
Our team really resonated with the values of the people at Applauze. As any user of the app can attest, the company is first and foremost a product company committed to their customers. Kiran has a great tradition: new Applauze employees get a “Rule Book” on their first day. It reads, “Rule 1: Think Product First. Rule 2: There will be no additional rules.” We share this deep passion for delivering the very best product to customers in our own business at True, and we respect such clarity in startup cultures when we see it.
Team Applauze, we are thrilled to invest in and work with you. You are building a winning consumer app that is social with a clear path to compelling value. Thank you for sharing your vision and your journey with us. Welcome to True!
Read more about Applauze in AllThingsD.