Mobile startup Appington today announced its $1.2 million seed funding round, which founder Risto Haukioja says will be used to help the startup better deliver on its goal of making it easy for mobile developers to incorporate voiceover in their apps. Voice, according to Haukiojia, is often overlooked in favor of interstitials and video demo tutorials, but it’s a key way to convey meaning without interrupting or boring a user, and that leads to better engagement.
What Appington does is “take apps out of the silent movie era,” but providing an easy way for devs to add voiceover narration through an SDK. Basic users can send out their own recorded voice messages to users at predetermined points throughout the pap, explaining key gameplay elements, for instance, or offering promotion opportunities. More advanced subscription plans even offer professional narration provided by Appington’s partner, a company Haukiojia says is among the leaders in the world of professional video game voiceovers.
Appington claims that voiceovers can increase engagement significantly, and average revenue per user can go up by as much as 50 percent on average. Single-day engagement with Bingo Bash, a casino app, has helped engagement climb by 32 percent, according tot he company’s own data. Looking around for what to do next is definitely not fun for mobile users, but voice is just one of many options. It’s also usually expensive and hard to produce. Appington lets developers worry about developing, however, according to Haukiojia, and takes care of the trickier parts itself.
“We’re trying to make the adoption of voice as easy as possible so that developers themselves would not have to learn so much about audio production and voice production as we have,” he said. “Typically if a developer would go and do this on their own, they would go and do one voice prompt, and based on what we’re seeing and the experience we’ve had so far, you actually start with one version of a prompt and then you iterate from there, and that can have a big impact on engagement.”
Appington’s funding comes from ex-Facebooker Matthew Welty, Unity Ventures and Tandem Capital (whose accelerator program Appington participated in), and will aim to help the startup expand its initial pool of beta testers, and hopefully make the product available free via open beta within the next 45 to 60 days. After that, the company hopes to continue to refine its paid product, and add in premium features over the next year or so for customers with more advanced needs.
Gaming is just one use case, according to Haukiojia, and the one that most readily springs to mind, but the market is wide open in terms of the types of apps that could benefit from Appington’s services, he says. Everyone is looking for ways to boost engagement after the download at the moment, so Appington may be well-positioned to capitalize on that.