Having secured the support of a major industry leader in virtualization and cloud like - Citrix, as well as major semiconductor leaders like AMD and others, BlueStacks is emerging as the segment leader in the apps virtualization space and are the first ones to enable Android apps to run full-screen on large screen Windows desktops and all-in-one PCs, without any loss of resolution upon resizing. Rosen Sharma and his BlueStack’s team were able to recognize the opportunity in a domain that merges both - mobile apps and ease and luxury of working on a PC and have built a great revenue model around it. With a simple idea to kick things off, they see their offerings evolving well beyond what they anticipated.Rosen Sharma, Founder and CEO, BlueStacks in conversation with Chandan Raj from YourStory.in, tells us all about their ideas origin, products and plans for the future.
Tell us a little about BlueStacks.
BlueStacks merges the massive Android and PC ecosystems. It enables hundreds of thousands of apps meant for mobile devices to run on large screens. The implications of this merger go well beyond where we are now – this is just the beginning.
How did the idea for BlueStacks come about?
In 2008 our now-CTO Suman Saraf was traveling with his six-year-old daughter, Mahi. She wanted some entertainment so he gave her his Android phone and she played a game. Later that night at their hotel room Suman was working on his laptop and Mahi wanted to play the game on it. He explained this was impossible, and she seemed confused. That’s when we realized there could be a demand for this.
The idea of “stacks” is what we’re doing by allowing Android to run on top of other systems. Also there is a diner near my house with blue pancakes that we like. Thus, the name - BlueStacks
Tell us about the team and your background.
Currently we’re about 30 employees. We have offices in Silicon Valley, India, Taiwan and Tokyo. We have an awesome team made up of the best engineers from our past companies. Most of our team has been together through previous companies. This is my eighth startup. I started out in 1995 with a company that became Windows Media Player and have had five exits. Most recently I was a CTO at McAfee.
Briefly tell us the highlights of BlueStacks current offerings and what one can look-out for in future.
We released BlueStacks App Player for PC and our Cloud Connect mobile app together on October 11 and they are doing extremely well. We have had 20x more downloads than we imagined. It’s free to download at BlueStacks.com. Soon we will be releasing our Pro version, which will enable more graphic-intensive apps like Fruit Ninja and Angry Birds. We’re very excited about that.Most of the apps are built to leverage the features and high points of the native OS platform, does this affect the app experience when run on the BlueStacks app player?
Surprisingly, we find that 90% of apps work great with keyboard and mouse. Only some fast-paced games that require touching different parts of the screen at once or accelerometer games don’t work (and we’re actually coming up with a fix for that). People are always amazed how beautifully the apps run on PC. Some are actually better when they have all that increased real estate.
How has been the traction so far?
We’ve been inspired and humbled by the fast adoption of our alpha release. No one can predict the future but we feel like this is a very fluid time in this space. It reminds me of when the browser came out in 1995 – everyone scrambled to figure out what to do. We feel like we have a product that can be very useful to both consumers and computer manufacturers in this environment.
What is BlueStacks’s revenue model?
We have three main channels: OEM, Enterprise and Consumer. For example, BlueStacks software comes pre-loaded on Viewsonic’s ViewPad 10 Pro and several other devices, mostly tablets right now. They pay us per unit. In the enterprise we have partnered with Citrix and are a plugin to their Receiver product which reaches 60 million computers at large companies all over the world. In the consumer space, we plan to charge for our Pro version, which will allow unlimited and top apps to be played on PCs and tablets – both Windows and Mac, eventually.
Have you been funded? Can you throw some light on how the funding came about and from whom?
Yes, we are funded by Andreessen-Horowitz, Radar Partners, Helion Ventures, Ignition Partners and Citrix. Our investors have proved to be invaluable partners, which isn’t always the case. They have real insight into certain area – especially the enterprise, and that’ been a boon for us. We have raised 14M total and just closed our series B, which added AMD as a strategic investor.
To know more about BlueStacks and their offerings, please visit their website - http://bluestacks.com/. Do share your feedback by commenting below.
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