AppDirect, a platform that allows businesses to find, buy and manage web-based applications, has announced that it has closed a $3.25 million round of seed funding to hire engineering talent and expand its network overseas. The round was led by iNovia Capital with Stingray Digital contributing.
You probably haven’t heard of AppDirect yet, but it’s an interesting business. AppDirect is creating a marketplace for marketplaces, or a marketplace-as-a-service. (That’s “MaaS” in cloud-speak.) What does that mean? The startup is essentially building a network of branded application marketplaces it hopes will become a central hub for providers, developers, and business app users.
So, for example, AppDirect’s platform provides businesses with a single place to subscribe to applications, provision access to their colleagues, and pay just one monthly bill for all of their app subscriptions. Thus, AppDirect is positioning itself as a kind of all-in-one consolidating tool for enterprises who want to use cloud apps, but struggle to manage the many moving parts of their SaaS tools and find apps that are relevant to their business.
Using AppDirect’s API, developers can list their apps in any of the white-labeled, AppDirect-powered marketplaces that will be built around its platform. Bell Canada, a large Canadian telecom company, is AppDirect’s first notable partner. The Canadian telecom giant recently began using the startup’s platform for its Bell Business Apps Store, which aims to connect its SMB customers with the right cloud services.
The clincher in all this, of course, is the platform’s built-in recommendation engine, which serves businesses with the most relevant apps for their specific needs. The recommendation engine will be very handy to enterprises looking to discover new, applicable apps, as the engine will allow them to browse results in a detailed listing by function or industry. Users can also compare apps on a range of metrics, as well as access documents, videos, and demos to deep dive into each application.
It’s an intriguing idea, to be sure, but we’ll see whether or not there’s room for another -aaS in the cloud space. Marketplace-as-a-service does have a nice sound to it, though, doesn’t it?