Spanish startup Mobincube has closed a €700,000/$946,000 seed round for its drag and drop, web-based app builder which lets non-developers build their own mobile apps using a series of templates. The round was led by early stage VC firm Inveready. Others investors include the VC arm of Spanish commercial bank, bankinter – which has previously invested in PayPal, one of the third party services Mobincube integrates into its offering – and angel crowdfunding platform The Crowd Angel.
The startup said it plans to use the funding to “accelerate” its efforts in the U.S., with plans to open an office in Silicon Valley this year, and also to step up its competitiveness worldwide. The app builder space is a relatively crowded one, but with mobile users’ insatiable appetite for apps there’s plenty of room for multiple players to try their hand at making it really easy for non-techies to get technical. Rival app builders include TapCanvas, Yapp and ShoutEm, to name three.
The Valencia-based startup mainly targets its tools at non-developers. Users choose from a variety of template elements to create an app — from basic stuff like navigation bars and forms, to comms elements like calls and SMS, to content like Google Maps. Drop-down menus then allow the creator to specify additional functionality for each app element.
App builder elements Mobincube lists on its website as coming soon are social network integration; embedded audio and video; and augmented reality.
Despite a marketing focus on folk who can’t code, the startup also claims its tools can help developers increase their work rate by speeding up the time it takes them to build apps (albeit, the relatively quality of the apps you can churn out using a ‘cookie-cutter template’ method are unlikely to match the polish of an innovative app lovingly crafted in native code by a skilled developer).
Another flagship feature of Mobincube’s software is the ability for builders to publish their app across multiple platforms, with the software automatically generating the code for the desired platform so it can be submitted to multiple app stores. Supported platforms are iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone. Mobincube can also be used to create HTML5 Web Apps.
The startup has been around for several years and said today it has 115,000 users who have published more than 18,000 apps. It pegged its monthly growth rate at 30%, and added that it is generating more than one million new downloads per month. Its business model is a mix of advertising (taking a 30% cut of revenue from in-app ads) for users of its free offering, and a choice of two paid-for publishing offerings for “premium” customers.
In terms of its international spread, Mobincube said the majority (65%) of the apps published using its tools are developed in English, with around a third (30%) of its customers based in its home market of Spain.
Commenting on the funding round in a statement, Ignacio Fonts, Managing Partner of Inveready said: “Mobincube fits perfectly our strategy of investing in companies with growth plans based on fast internationalization.”