Easy app creation, outside of the land of Ruby and Python, has become a huge phenomenon in the last year. And the latest company to join the fold,AppArchitect, is launching straight from our Disrupt NY stage.
AppArchitect lets you build custom iPhone and iPad apps using a simple drag-and-drop interface. That’s right — you need zero coding experience to build your own iPhone app. It’s a brand new world.
Once you log in to the AppArchitect system, you’ll be asked whether you want to make an iPad or iPhone app. From there, you head straight into a dashboard complete with a Screens tab, Library tab with default background and picture options, and a Properties tab where you can handle styling. You can drag and drop backgrounds, images, add text, maps, or links.
From there, you can test and review your app before submitting it to the App Store for approval.
According to co-founder Ilya Zatulovskiy, AppArchitect is unique within the competitive landscape because the app gives you the option to do your own thing, without any templates to get in the way. Of course, you can always choose to use a template if you’d like, but people who want to get really creative have the freedom to expand outside of the template format.
In fact, one of the few apps you probably couldn’t build within the platform would be a game. “The platform is fully extendable,” said Zatulovskiy. “Since each plugin is written in Objective C, any feature requirements can be implemented via our SDK.”
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The idea for AppArchitect started at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon in 2011, where the first lines of code were written. Since then, the company went through the DreamIt Ventures accelerator and so far raised a total of $325,000 from Actinic Ventures, BHV, DreamIt Ventures and angel investors, with plans to raise another round soon.
The app creation industry has been blowing up lately. Services like Appy Couple and Yapp have been focused on niche use cases, such as weddings or events. On the other side of the spectrum, Kleverbeast is using similar drag and drop tools to build all kinds of personal apps in a snap.
However, AppArchitect is one of the first services to offer web-based tools without any of the limitations of a template-based system. The company has been in a private beta for the past 4 months with over 400 testers using the service, but today it’s open to everyone.
At launch, the AppArchitect service will remain free for the first few months. The business model includes a publishing fee to send the app to the App Store, and potential for subscription services for apps that use push notifications, backend services or analytics.
Professional monthly plans that offer access to everything for a flat monthly fee are also in the works.
For now, AppArchitect is only available for iOS but will expand to Android and other platforms soon.
Q: Who are you selling this product to?
A: We want to focus on design agencies and marketing firms who already have existing clients. We see ourselves as fitting in with the same group of people who use PowerPoint and PhotoShop.
Q: In the past few years I’ve seen similar presentations. How do you differentiate?
A: We want to partner with the leading companies that already have relationships with existing customers. Museums and galleries are a big focus for us, as we already have partnerships with 100 museums in eight countries. We want to leverage industries that have little technical experience but relationships with big companies.
Q: What’s the pricing structure?
A: It will be free for the next few months. You can use the Express package, which lets us publish for you under our account. There are also Professional packages that lets you publish under your own account.
Q: What is the consumption experience?
A: It’s a browser software as a service. (he seemed to misunderstand the question)
Q: The falls into the service as a software company. We tend to have trouble investing lots of Venture in companies like this because it’s difficult to scale. That said, how do you feel about taking outside money?
A: It’s all about making big bets on what you think will be the next big thing. Years ago, the people who built web publishing platforms had huge exits. If I believe in mobile, I think AppArchitect will be a big opportunity for our company and the industry as a whole.
Q: How is the platform evolving?
A: We want to extend it to other developers to build on top of it. We want to make sure there is a community of developers offering up a huge number of templates and themes.