AppRedeem, a Mountain View-based startup that aims to offer mobile app developers innovative, effective solutions to driving app installs and engagement, announced today that it has raised $700K in seed funding from SV Angel and Blue Run Ventures. The startup plans to use its infusion of capital to expand its engineering resources and to accelerate its development onto other mobile platforms.
In conjunction with its funding announcement, AppRedeem is also launching a free mobile app that allows users to earn real world, offline rewards and merchandise for using and reviewing mobile apps promoted in its AppRedeem app. The app is available on iOS and Android.
Co-founders Sheffield Nolan and Frank Mattox started AppRedeem after building and launching several top 10 iPhone apps, because even in spite of a few hit apps, they kept coming back to the fact that advertising is expensive on mobile platforms and thus limiting — so like any good entrepreneurs, they became determined to find new ways to advertise.
And because they knew that people love to get real, live rewards (actual merchandise), they launched an early service that offers users a list of promoted applications to try. When users install, use and provide feedback on these applications, AppRedeem rewards users with AppRedeem points. Then, as the circle goes, those AppRedeem points can be converted into real rewards, like Amazon and iTunes gift cards, for example, or PayPal credit.
Not only can users just rate apps by ye olde star system, they can also write longer-form reviews on the apps they try. Users get more points according to how much time they spend playing with and analyzing the app. And, if others comment on that review and “vote it up”, more points for the review’s author. Obviously, the more specific the reviews are and the more they stay away from stuff like “omg this app totes sux, lulz!”, the more constructive that information becomes for developers and app designers. And users also get the satisfaction of knowing that their contributions are going towards making their favorite games and apps more playable.
For developers, it’s long been difficult to quickly get to take the pulse of their audience to see how they’re liking a new app or a new version, but AppRedeem makes that possible — and rewards its users with cool stuff.
AppRedeem is also looking to differentiate itself from well-funded Tapjoy, which offers monetization and distribution services for social games, mobile apps, etc. “We want to drive true user engagement”, Nolan said. “We’re not looking for a bunch of false downloads, we want real people engaging and being rewarded with real products”. Gilt Groupe and Groupon are two of AppRedeem’s early clients, and Nolan said that all the apps that the startup will offer up for review come through one of the app stores, and they will also be running analysis on their apps to ensure clients and users that there are no pirated apps making it into the system.
AppRedeem’s approach seems to be a good one not only for users but for app developers and publishers, giving them a more effective, economical route to drive installations and engagement within their apps. Always a good thing.
For those readers looking to get an early taste and a few AppRedeem bonus points, go to the signup page here, create a free account and install the web app. Once you do, you should be prompted to “Enter bonus code”. Enter the top secret command: “techcrunch”, and fame and glory should await (also 50 free points).