I’m here at the Mobile 2.0 Europe conference in sunny Barcelona and today had a great conversation with GetJar founder and CEO Ilja Laurs which I recorded and uploaded to our YouTube channel. GetJar, in case you don’t know, is a platform and device-agnostic central marketplace for mobile applications which Laurs bills as the world’s largest independent, open application store. The company is backed by $6 million in venture capital from Accel Partners and flirts with running a cash-flow positive operation.
GetJar hosts over 45,000 applications, supports a community of more than 200,000 mobile app developers and sees over 36 million downloads of applications a month, with some of the top developers seeing downloads numbers ranging up to 20 million per unique app. Besides this enormous distribution scale, the two main other reasons mobile developers would decide to put their apps up in the GetJar marketplace, Laurs tells me, is that the company offers a range of services like stats, analytics, a beta testing environment and tools for distribution as well as a set of tools that enables developers to monetize their apps more efficiently. GetJar is currently testing a pilot program for in-application advertising together with some developers, and aims to release this solution publicly in the near future.
Asked which platform he would choose to create apps for if he were an independent mobile app developer with limited resources, Laurs remains diplomatic and says a lot depends on the business model, target audience, type of application and what kind of developer you are.
I was also curious about the effect the rise of all the different application stores from handset vendors and mobile operating system makers has had on GetJar as a destination site that pre-dates all these platforms by a margin. Laurs tells me the introduction of Apple’s App Store had an overall positive effect on the GetJar network, doubling its growth in a very short time, because it raised awareness about centralized application marketplaces in general and validated the mobile app development industry to a certain degree. Long term, he admits that there are negatives to the app store hype too, obviously the most important one being the increased competition.
Check out the video if you’re curious in finding out which devices Laurs uses and what his personal favorite mobile application is.