Appguppy Co-Founder Ash Nadkarni is Interviewed by Forbes Online
As we've been covering near-nonstop, Women Innovate Mobile is out to change the tech landscape for good. Their first-round applications are over now and we're just getting to know their first-ever group of participants! Levo's got exclusive access to the amazing female-founded companies and is bringing you exclusive access to their inner circle.
Appguppy lets you create your own unique, customized mobile app in minutes and distribute it to all iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows and Nokia phones without having to go through app stores.
- How has your company disrupted the industry you fit into? How has it changed everything about the way people consume goods or information?
Currently, mobile app development is defined by technological complexity (complex coding), smartphone platform fragmentation (iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry, Symbian) and over-regulated distribution channels (app marketplaces). We took one look at the industry, thought about how our friends with small businesses are effectively locked out of going mobile, and decided we were going to democratize the process for them by disrupting all three of these market characteristics.
Our software platform fundamentally disrupts the way mobile apps are produced and deployed. We allow any individual to come to our platform and create an app for themselves through a ridiculously easy 5-step process and distribute the app directly by leveraging pre-existing social relationships with clients, friends and fans (Facebook, Twitter, Email, Text, QR Codes). Every app produced is coded as a link and sits on ourservers, allowing individuals and organizations to market the app anywhere they think they'll be able to get downloads and forge connections. Best of all, we allow the app to redistribute itself through our innovative ViralShareT feature, a social sharing mechanism that allows end downloaders of the app to place the app's link on their own social networks. What does that mean? If your clients and customers love you, they'll leverage their own social networks to market and popularize your app.
- Why did you choose mobile?
What excites us about mobile is the rapid growth and utilization of mobile technology across the globe, especially in emerging markets. In the past, it used to be that companies would launch products on a market-by-market basis, carefully considering each launch. We think the fact that the growth of mobile has been so intensely global allows developers and entrepreneurs such as ourselves to bring innovation to everyone, everywhere, simultaneously. The world has gotten so much smaller, and mobile is speeding that trend along. It's exciting to see developers bring life-saving or fun technologies to everyone from teenagers in the suburban United States to villagers in rural India. Mobile is democratic, and as a company with founders with a history of public service, that's a value we stand behind firmly.
- Why are you seeking out mentorship for your startup?
We launched our product approximately 2.5 months ago, started to gain traction through customer uptake and some publicity and we now find ourselves at a point where we are facing serious strategic decisions about our technology investments and growth plans for the company. When we looked at WIM and saw the experience level of the mentors involved, and the fact that nearly every mentor has/is working in our space, we decided to jump on the opportunity to get some guidance and wisdom to navigate the decisions we're facing. As an organization, Appguppy defines itself as being dually focused on both the customer and innovation, so we decided to seek out mentorship in order to continue to provide an excellent experience for our clients, as well as drive innovation in this industry. We know that we already have clients who have started to rely on us, and we want to honor that commitment by making smarter decisions.
- What role do you see advisor feedback playing the development and long-term strategy of your company?
We're definitely looking for advisor feedback to guide us in the strategic decisions we plan to make in the next few months regarding our technology investments, both from an operational as well as development perspective.
- What will the mobile space look like in 5 years? How integrated do you envision digital technology becoming with our day-to-day lives?
We think the mobile space will have expanded greatly in the next 5 years, which is exactly what the Appguppy platform is designed to do. Continued innovation in smartphone development and mobile computing will integrate digital and social media technologies into almost everyone's life. Our sense is that the trend in mobile will be one of liberalization and democratization. Basically we think mobile will go the way of web 1.0. At some point everyone will go mobile, and it will be much easier than in the past.
- How does your startup push the state of women in business?
Actually, many of our clients ARE women, and we think that's largely because women have so wholeheartedly embraced many of the underlying social media technologies that we integrate into the Appguppy platform and are so active in embracing e-commerce platforms like eBay and Etsy. In 2010, Forbes reported that small businesses owned by women will be responsible for creating 1/3rd of anticipated jobs by 2018. We are excited to have produced a technology that will help these women business owners go mobile!
- In retrospect, is there something you wish you knew or did as an undergrad to help you prepare for your career now?
Some of us come to entrepreneurship later than others! For 2 out of 3 members of our team, the dream of entrepreneurship started growing in our late 20s, while one of us has been in the startup game since college. None of us would change the investments we made in our formal education, but all three of us wish we had taken advantage of the entrepreneurial classes and/or opportunities that our various universities offered us.
- What advice do you have for an undergrad or recent graduate considering entrepreneurship? Is it best to wait to gain business acumen before diving in, or do you recommend getting a move on right away?
Absolutely. The first thing we'd advise is to follow your passion-for all three of us, following our passion is what led to our careers in startup. It's hard for us to say get going or wait definitively, since all three of us took different approaches. But we will say that it is our passions that led us to the opportunities we found as entrepreneurs, and if we were to tell a recent graduate anything, it would be that if you truly love what you do, and find something that drives you day in and day out, you will probably end up in a startup at some point in your life, whether you gained some business acumen first or if you jumped into the startup world right after college. That's because you'll love the industry so much that you'll WANT to innovate, you'll WANT to make it better, and you'll WANT to bring more opportunities to people. We see this drive in every entrepreneur we've interacted with.especially WIM! We know that's how all three of us found ourselves here, and it continues to be what drives us on a daily basis.