A lot of startups sprung out of the boom in the mobile app ecosystem; while most of these startups were focused on leveraging this boom by developing mobile apps, be it on Android, iOS, Symbian or even Windows, Appstark had a slightly different agenda.“We started Silmaril Software Pvt. Ltd. in January 2011, with the idea to build social games for mobile apps but seeing the communication gap between users and app developers, we decided to focus on building Appstark,” says Founder and CEO, Ashok Varma.
Appstark is an in-app feedback system for mobile apps.
Today, appstores have grown to become the primary way users communicate with app developers. The problem with appstores, however, is that a lot of users leave suggestions, ask questions and provide reviews of the app. This feedback from the users often affects the overall app downloads to a large extent. The missing link here is that there is no other way for users to talk to the developers directly. Appstark provides a way for users to talk to the developer inside the app. With Appstark, the developer can gather feedback and provide better support to the users of his app.
“Appstark is a very small framework that can be integrated with a single line of code. The developer needs to download our SDK and embed the framework into the app. The integration is so simple that it does not take more than two minutes,” says Ashok.
Appstark has a small two-person team. Founder & CEO, Ashok Varma handles the development side and Co-founder, Karthik Vadlapatla handles the design aspect of Appstark.
Talking about why they chose the iOS platform, Ashok said, “There are two reasons why we decided to go with iOS first. The primary reason is android device fragmentation. Prior to Appstark, we were building social games for android and iOS. From that experience, we realized that the amount of effort and time needed to support android devices is too much for us. We wanted to release Appstark into the market as early as possible. The second reason for choosing iOS, was that the app ecosystem in iOS is much more mature in terms of app revenues. Developers in iOS are generating more revenues from their apps than their android versions, and these developers are our current target market.”“If not for the market share of android, we would have preferred to support Windows phones before android. The amount of fragmentation in android slows our development cycle by a lot,” he adds.
Appstark’s beta version was launched about a week ago. Mobile apps with Appstark integrated, will be launched in the AppStore soon. Since only a private beta version has been launched so far, marketing has not been a focus area for the founders. “Our current focus is making the product ready for public release, following which, we will start a full-fledged marketing campaign,” said Ashok.
Appstark’s journey has been challenging despite the vast potential of their market. One of the obstacles that they face is educating mobile app developers on the importance of communicating with their users. Although mobile platforms have made switching apps a very simple process, the quality of the app and the support provided for the app will reduce the incentive to switch. “If app developers can assure the users that the apps will be improved and the problems will be fixed, their loyal user base will most certainly increase,” says Ashok.
Appstark is the first accelerator company from The Startup Centre. The Startup Centre is an accelerator cum incubator for Tech Startups based out of Chennai.
You will find more on The Startup Centre, here.
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