Interview

Trevor Cornwell on filling stores' wholesale gap with appbackr's AdSense meets eBay app financing platform

Trevor Cornwell on filling stores' wholesale gap with appbackr's AdSense meets eBay app financing platform
There are plenty of online outfits offering crowdfunding solutions for start up businesses, ranging from software development to music recording or arts and crafts.

Their problem, according to appbackr CEO Trevor Cornwell, is they're providing an atomic, not an ecosystem, approach.

"People will fund one project, but the vast majority won't sign up for any more," he says.

Bulk buying

More is what appbackr is all about.

As Cornwell argues, its longterm vision is as a wholesaler of apps and games.

"This is a $15 billion industry which is experiencing astronomic growth, but there's a big hole when it comes to distribution," he suggests.

"There has to be a layer between developers and app stores."

The most obvious rationale behind the site is it provides upfront cashflow for developers to make their apps better, or more visible, while providing investors with hefty returns, ranging from 27 to 54 percent per app they invest in.

"Many studios are on their own when it comes to development," Cornwell says.

"There are often areas of expertise they don't have or can't afford to buy. And when it comes to app store positioning, not many can spend $10,000 to buy downloads."

Be my funding friend

Using appbackr, developers and publishers can sell a certain volume of paid downloads prior to release or update, gaining the cash at the expense of their short term margins. It's this mechanism that also provides the backers with their return, obviously only if the app actually hits its downloads total.

That's the balance of risk and reward, but it also highlights the underlining smartness of the process.

People who are prepared to risk their own cash - typically ranging from $10 and upwards per project - to back a game or an app using appbackr will try to ensure they get their return by promoting it within their social networks.

In this way, appbackr works something like a contemporary version of a Tupperware party mixed with Twitter.

"It's participatory funding that gets developers cash and lets them go viral early in their development cycle," Cornwell says.

Looking to make the most of this potential, the company is working with online influence metric Klout so backers can directly hook their online reputation into appbackr.

Spotlight on the best

In terms of the current opportunity, Cornwell's looking to Android's confused but massive growth to provide the battleground for success.

"There's huge fragmentation, which is a pain point for all developers," he says

"But there are lots of possibilities when it comes to app stores - ranging from Amazon to the carriers and OEMs."

On this basis, appbackr is building out its Exchange platform, which is backed on a predictive algorithm designed to highlight the best apps. Encapsulating metrics such as review scores and sales growth, it's being provided to partnering app stores so they can hook into new opportunities.

So far, big hitters such as Motorola and Barnes & Noble have signed up to the program, with more expected to follow.

Connective material

But as for the longterm strategic plan, Cornwell is looking for appbackr to be a very, very broad funnel.

"Potentially, on one hand, I can see it becoming an AdSense for app distribution, and an eBay for digital goods sales on the other," he muses.

His point is that sitting inbetween content creators and the consumer market - when you have a financial upside to connect the two - is an immensely powerful position.

"You can't force it. A working market needs two sides - it needs to be developer-focused and consumer-oriented," he stresses.

"Our strength is that we're focused on a single vertical: we can innovative around app distribution"

You can find out more about appbackr via its website.
Contributing Editor

A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon is Contributing Editor at PG.biz which means he acts like a slightly confused uncle who's forgotten where he's left his glasses. As well as letters and cameras, he likes imaginary numbers and legumes.

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