Interview

YouAPPi's Moshe Vaknin on the promise of its smartAPP recommendation engine

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YouAPPi's Moshe Vaknin on the promise of its smartAPP recommendation engine
App stores are getting smarter in terms of how they handle search and discovery, but these distribution problems remain something that concern most developers.

That's why there's so many companies offering recommendation technology.

One such as Israeli start up youAPPi, which has both consumer and platform plays using its smartAPP engine.

It's also just raised $1 million in seed funding, so the perfect time to caught up with CEO and co-founder Moshe Vaknin to find out the company's competitive advantage.

Pocket Gamer: Can you give us some background on the formation of youAPPi?

Moshe Vaknin: To be honest, I have been looking for a solution for app recommendations since I had my iPhone 3 to help me uncover the apps that would interest me (and then, there weren't as many apps as today).

On the other hand, having worked a decade with publishers running online and mobile ad networks, I understand the challenges publishers have in finding the best way to generate revenue from advertising.

That's why I believe that app recommendation and discovery is the perfect solution for all: users benefit by getting recommendations for apps which are actually relevant to them while publishers generate revenue in a non-intrusive way - serving their users relevant content.

And for app developers, it's a cost-effective distribution channel.

There are plenty of recommendation engines currently available for apps and games. What makes smartAPP different?

Our technology. To prove to ourselves and our investors that our smartAPP matching technology works, we uploaded a recommendation app to the iTunes store.

12,100 people downloaded that app, and among them, 3,630 users downloaded and installed the recommended app – a 30 percent conversion rate. From my knowledge of the industry, that's a pretty high conversion rate.

How are you planning to use your seed funding?

We plan on using the funding to expand our sales and marketing efforts in the US and Europe.

Is smartAPP a technology that you're looking to integrate into other platforms and apps or can it also operate as a standalone app such as Hooked, Chomp (as was) etc?

At present, we're focused on offering our technology to mobile and gaming platforms like Tappible, as well as to publishers and content aggregators.

Are there any privacy issues involved in terms of how you analyse user information?

Not really, because the data analysed by our smartAPP matching technology is based on what resides on the user's phone and is not shared with publishers, platforms or other partners, and our servers are protected.

Having worked a decade in the online industries running online and mobile ad networks, I am well aware and respect the challenges surrounding user privacy and understand that we need to protect user data.

Can you explain the difference between smartApp and smartStore?

SmartApp recommends individual apps as related to content, whereas the smartStore provides a full branded app store for users. Of course, both are powered by our smartAPP matching technology.

Why are you launching with Tappible?

Tappible has a strong mobile platform and Tappible CEO and founder Eli Mandelbaum was impressed with our technology.

Thanks To Moshe for his time.You can check out youAPPi 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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