Bengaluru-based AppBrowzer seems to be mastering the art of being a single-stop platform that gives access to multiple other applications and lets local businesses sell their products and services.
Founders: Sunny Gurnani and Venkatesh Rao
Year it was founded: 2017
Where is it based: Bengaluru
The problem it solves: Reduces time and money in building apps
Sector: Mobile-app technology
Funding raised: Angel funding of $600,000
Most of us have heard of BlueStacks, and have downloaded the application on our desktops to access multiple applications on a single platform. Be it social media applications or food delivery applications, these one-stop-destination apps always have a way of increasing productivity, instead of making you juggle different apps at one go.
When it comes to the smartphone section, a two-folded problem always persisted — how to make the use of apps easier for consumers, and how to create apps for businesses/developers. The fundamental 'download' problem with mobile apps keeps users away from using several apps.
Creating Android and iOS apps is expensive and time-consuming, and once built and released, businesses have to get their users to download the apps, which creates friction between a business and a consumer. These apps also take up users’ phone space and RAM.
Sunny Gurnani, CEO of AppBrowzer, told YourStory,
"When a business provides me its website, I would not think twice before opening the browser, visiting the site, checking out what they offer. However, I will think a few times and download an app only if it adds value. This is because, users have to download the app, give phone space to it before using it.”
AppBrowzer is a unit of Roid Technologies Pvt Ltd that provides a curated experience of multiple apps in one app for users, besides having a builder platform for businesses to create these apps.
It has a mobile app that helps users discover and use most of the day to day mobile apps such as NDTV, Zomato, Uber, Ola, Flights, Recharge, and also lets them shop from local businesses and services from one app. Sunny says, "We call them Express Apps as they can be used from AppBrowzer instantly without the need to individually download them."
After about a year of research and development, the AppBrowzer team has figured out a way to have the best of both worlds by merging web and native app technologies. Sunny also notes that they are in the process of filing patents for their technology.
AppBrowzer acquired its first set of customers from colleges and universities. Sunny says he noticed that most college students were using lower-end smartphones which means they already had a space crunch on their phones with low memory and RAM.
The team, however, did not have high budgets; so, they made it simple by assigning the task of marketing to a few college ambassadors. This made the app an instant hit among the college crowd. The brighter aspect was that the team already had news and educational content from TEDx and Khan Academy. They later added more apps in other categories including food, flights, cabs, shopping and targeted other segments of users through social media and Google campaigns.
AppBrowzer was launched in March 2017 with a primary focus on user acquisition for the first six to eight months. By September 2017, it had over 75,000 and that was when it started to monetise. At present, the app has more than 2.5 lakh users, and it is making transactions worth more than Rs 25 lakh every month and the revenue is growing at a rate of 25 percent month-on-month.
AppBrowzer makes anywhere between three percent to 12 percent per sale, which varies between different apps and categories. The current average is five percent, so the startup is making an approximate revenue of Rs 1.3 lakh (five percent of Rs 27 lakh sale) from the app sales.
Coming to its builder platform, AppBrowzer started making revenues only last month, which was more than Rs 1 lakh in February.
"Our builder platform has over 75 businesses paying for the Express Apps since the launch last month."
It cannot be denied 'that too many apps' is posing a challenge for app discovery. There are several companies working on this problem in their own ways.
"We often talk about over five million apps in Google Play store and Apple Store but most users really have less than 20 apps on their phones. And we hardly see local businesses selling through their apps because they are hard to build, expensive, and time-consuming," says Sunny.
In China, WeChat helps its users to shop, hail a ride, book a hotel or even pay a local shop while chatting with friends from one app. Locally, apps like Tapzo aggregate a few everyday apps in one place making it convenient for users.
On the other hand, there are companies such as Goodbarber, Goobox, Appery, App Machine that help businesses build apps quickly by providing an app builder platform.
Talking about the competition, Sunny said,
"I think there is a missing link when you only help B2C or B2B. In the app world, even if you build an app for a business to sell the products, it’s almost impossible for them to reach out to customers through the app, because app marketing is a completely different ball game and it takes lot of money and expertise to promote an app."
The AppBrowzer team makes revenues from both B2C app and B2B builder platform. They have direct and affiliate partnerships with bigger apps such as Uber, Ola, Zomato, Ixigo, Amazon and Flipkart; hence, they acquire a percentage for every user making transaction from the app.
Moving further, they are going to launch an integrated marketing module on their platform that will become their third source of revenue. Sunny claims that the revenue growth has been well ahead of their projections.
The team has raised a total $600,000 so far from Singapore-based Angel Investors. Besides, it is working on closing further round to scale the operations and reach out to a bigger audience.
Roid Technologies was started in October 2015 but the product AppBrowzer was a result of a major pivot in October 2016. The team was working hard to solve the problem in a different way with the first prototype. They hit a roadblock in the process and they figured out that this kind of technology scaling would be a great challenge due to lot of dependence on the other apps.
Sunny said they could have given up at that point. However, they decided to give it another shot until they made it to a point where the product had more than 2.5 lakh satisfied customers.
"Our near future plans include scaling our business platform with simple user experience, so that a small business can create an Express App in minutes. We also want to maintain, market, advertise and reach out to local new customers through our app. Our goal is to attain 1.25 million app users and 2,000 businesses by the end of 2018."
Having A/B tested his career with engineering, sales, writing, and product management, Sampath now executes a callback function for a second stint with YourStory. Loves to eat, learn, write, travel, and take photographs. Often spotted consuming lethal doses of Dosa on the main roads of Bangalore. Tweet to him at @sampathptrvu.