With Apple’s App Store (s AAPL) hitting the half
billion million app markand Android Market (s GOOG) poised to overtake it later this year, it’s a busy time to be in the app discovery business. Appsfire, a France-based startup, is reaping the benefits, scoring $3.6 million in Series A funding from French investors Idinvest. The funding will help the company accelerate its growth as it looks to strike more partnerships with publishers and developers and build up its team of seven employees.
The funding signals the growing opportunity in app discovery, which is becoming a major issue for both consumers and developers. With a sea of content available, there is increasing money flowing to start-ups that can help developers and publishers get their apps recognized and downloaded by consumers.
Appsfire, which works on both iOS and Android, catalogs the apps on a user’s phone and suggest apps on an Appstream, a live wall of apps that identifies recommended, featured and hot apps. Users are able to create their own streams based on their interests. Appsfire has hit 2 million users worldwide, hitting the top 10 rankings in the U.S., France, Spain, Germany, Austria and Turkey. The platform is also able to be used by developers and publishers to market their apps to users. Barnes & Noble (s bks), Paramount Pictures (s via) and Spotify have used the Appsfire platform to promote their apps. The company, which launched its first app in last summer, hit 1 million users in February and zoomed to 2 million by mid-May.
Appsfire said it’s preparing to release a new company software development kit that will allow advertisers and developers to provide highly targeted offerings to users. Appsfire is also planning on expanding to other mobile platforms soon. It previously raised angel funding from Marc Simoncini of (Jaina Capital), Xavier Niel, Jacques-Antoine Granjon (Vente-Privées), Jean-David Blanc (AlloCiné), Fabrice Grinda (OLX) and Lerer Ventures.
This is going to be an important space to watch. With so many apps available, there’s a big opportunity to help people find apps that are relevant and interesting. Quixey, a startup backed by Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors, pulled in $400,000 in seed funding last month to help make app discovery more functional. GetJar, an independent app store, raised $25 million in February as it tried to ride the explosive growth of Android. Expect more money to flow to app stores and app recommendation engines as our appetite for mobile software continues to grow.