Apptopia Hopes to Bring Broker Flair To Mobile App Marketplace

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develop anything closely related to or resembling the application that they just sold.

When a transaction occurs, Apptopia charges the buyer’s credit card and holds that money in an escrow account. The seller must provide the code within two days, which Apptopia keeps in a secure, cloud-based location. Apptopia then manages the process of informing the Apple iTunes store or Android marketplace of the transaction and getting the necessary approval. Once that’s confirmed, the seller gets his money, the buyer gets his code, and Apptopia takes its 10 percent broker’s fee.

Apptopia has raised $115,000 from New York firm Expansion VC, and Kay and co-founder Sapir are bootstrapping the rest. The Apptopia marketplace is set to launch sometime in February, but the company is already accruing a group of buyers and sellers. (App developers can get in touch via a form on the home page, and Kay says he will help guide interested buyers through the current inventory.) The company has already brokered the sale of one mobile app for $15,000, and expects apps will sell for between $1,500 and $75,000, Kay says.

So who would be interested in this new marketplace, other than developers who don’t want much involvement beyond building an app? Buyers include business-minded people who don’t have any developing skills but have the product marketing knowhow that could help an app grow, says Kay. Apptopia is even building partnerships that connect these buyers with other companies looking to help mobile apps make more money through means like ads or affiliate marketing, to give the brokered apps life beyond the initial Apptopia transaction.

Even Fortune 500 companies have expressed interest, says Kay. They’re looking for a way to build out their mobile strategy, and can select and purchase an app on Apptopia that fits with their brand or product. For example, he says, a company like Energizer Battery could ultimately shift some of its TV advertising spend to buying a crop of flashlight apps via Apptopia and labeling them with its brand and logos. Brands could ultimately amass a portfolio of related apps, selecting the ones with the best code and user interface, and hire a short-term consultant to combine them into one comprehensive system, Kay says. Apptopia plans to create a division that caters specifically to these big company clients, he says.

And how will Apptopia keep hackjob apps from flooding its marketplace the way they have the iTunes app store (the reason a search for “flashlight” yields more than 150 results)? To help ensure it is attracting only serious sellers to its platform, the company plans to charge a listing fee of at least $50. “It’s not as much to make money, but to keep bullshit out of the market,” Kay says.

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