#Asia Welcome the rise of the indie: how this startup holds its own against a giant


Aptoide has created a platform that could be Google’s biggest headache



It was a summer project between two friends that grew to become a 65-strong team with offices in three different countries.

Aptoide was initially launched in 2009 as a project to develop a marketplace in the Android platform. Headquartered in Portugal, the company was incorporated in 2011 as a spin-off of open-source company CM Software.

The aim of Aptoide is to create a community-based platform where developers, integrators, and tech companies can create and manage their own app store, with the express goal of providing quality apps to an increasing number of people.

The question, now, is how this platform went on to become the third largest app store after Google Play and Amazon?


Accommodating emerging markets

One of the biggest factor that differentiates Aptoide from other app stores like Google Play is that it does not require users to log-in to download apps. The high adoption of the app store in emerging markets like Southeast Asian countries is testament to that – it is in these countries where it is highly likely that the smartphone is the first device a user buys and therefore have no previous need of an email address.

Also read: Infographic: Mobile technology trends for 2017

There is also the factor of unavailability of apps in Google Play. In a region where there are factors that can hinder the use of popular apps, there is a market for third-party or complementary apps. Think Tubemate, an app that lets users download YouTube videos, which is popular in markets where internet connection is spotty at best.


Making purchasing easy

Credit cards are the name of the game for  app purchases. Google Play, as with other app stores, requires credit cards, which excludes markets where this payment option is not readily available or is not generally used. Aptoide’s answer to this is by making a range of payment options available – credit cards are used but so are localised payment systems.

Developers are even encouraged to integrate their own payment platform, a capability that allowed Aptoide to monetise in countries that Google Play was not able.


Enabling independent developers

One of the main drivers of Aptoide is the founders’ passion for technology. CEO Paulo Trezentos has a background in IT and has studied and taught  computer science. COO Alvaro Pinto enjoys developing technology and digital content. Both are part of the board of ESOP Association, an association that defends and promotes open source- based projects.

Also read: What are the top 10 tech trends that will dominate 2017?

With this predilection for supporting independent entrepreneurs, Aptoide was designed to make it easy for developers to create, upload, and sell their Android apps free and without constraints like special integrations or exclusivity requirements. Developers can simply create, upload, and start monetising, integrating into an in-app billing that gives them the added advantage of advantage of selling and earning from their apps to markets where Google Play cannot reach.


Customising for partners

Aptoide has delved into B2B partnerships, currently enabling over 60 partners to create and manage their own app store with the apps provided by Aptoide.

The company’s technology enables partner companies to customise their app store and has a flexible back-end office that lets them manage their store autonomously.


Amping the social factor

Riding on the popularity of social media, the Aptoide app store has incorporated some aspects of the most popular social media platforms. The social timeline, for example, is similar to the Facebook timeline and shows the latest activities within the app store, allowing users to keep track of their apps’ updates as well as their friends’ updates.

Also read: Facebook is slowly accepting its new role as the most powerful media company in the world

Users can also create their own app stores – basically a “playlist” of their favorite apps that they can share with friends. This feature paves the way for users to discover new apps by browsing through app stores of other users.


Aptoide in 2017

While they have been enjoying success in emerging markets, Aptoide admits that developed and mature markets require a different approach. These are the markets where the mobile user base is not growing and where Google Play is already pre-installed in their devices.

For developed markets, Aptoide plans to leverage on the social character of the platform. No, they are not a replacement for Google Play in these markets. Rather, they are an alternative, one that allows users to interact with others and share their app stores.

Also read: Why competition is a good thing for your startup

Currently, Aptoide is working on improving the platform and adding other features such as Virtual Reality and TV App Stores as the company continues to expand in emerging markets and move to enter developed ones.

With these developments, and the over 1 million global users and over 3 billion downloads, one can only wonder how much bigger Google’s headache is going to be.


To experience Aptoide, download here.

Disclosure: this article was produced by the e27 content marketing team, sponsored by Aptoide.

The post Welcome the rise of the indie: how this startup holds its own against a giant appeared first on e27.

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