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App Store Smarts, Not Apps, May Be the Better Investment

Appia, a white-label mobile application marketplace, announced $10 million in funding from Venrock on Wedneday. This third round brings the total funding for Appia, which recently re-branded with a new name, to $28.5 million. In addition to the third round of funding, Dev Khare, VP at Venrock, is joining Appia’s board of directors. Prior investors include Trident Ventures, the BlackBerry Partners Fund (s RIMM), and Eric Schmidt’s Tomorrow Ventures.

Those not familiar with Appia may recognize it under a prior name. The company spun out of Motricity in 2008, launching as the PocketGear mobile app store for various smartphone platform owners but also as an app store backend. In 2009, the company began powering Samsung’s Widget Store and a year later, purchased mobile app store Handango, which was founded in 1999. And just last month, the company re-branded itself as Appia with a focus on providing software for to help mobile operators build out app stores. Today, Appia powers more than 40 partner storefronts (including Verizon Wireless (s vz), AT&T (s t), T-Mobile and Opera) reaching an audience of 200 million mobile subscribers.

The funding takes on particular significance in light of recent investments made in single applications: $41 million to back the new Color app, for example, is a big basket of dollars for an individual app. Investing millions in the services that power multiple app stores for numerous network operators and other mobile partners is a far less risky play, considering our app addiction is growing by leaps and bounds. While stat counters appear focused on the number of apps and investors look for killer apps, a growing number of little app store solutions could be the better bet.

2 Responses to “App Store Smarts, Not Apps, May Be the Better Investment”

  1. White label marketplaces also happening in the B2B world as they see the value of providing their business customers with a unified storefront of all application solutions around their brand, as well as a monetization channel for their partners.