Leaf, the Cambridge, Mass.-based company that offers a point-of-sale solution based on its own Android tablet for small- to medium-sized businesses, announced that it will soon launch an app store for its service. The company, as its CEO Aron Schwartzkopf told me earlier this week, aims to build an ecosystem for offline merchants that allows them to connect to their consumers at the point of sales. The best way to do this effectively, he believes, is to create an open platform that combines the usual point-of-sale features like sales and inventory management with analytics and, now, an app store that allows third-party developers to hook into Leaf’s backend and create apps for its tablet.
Thanks to its open nature, the Leaf, as Schwartzkopf told me, wants to “get rid of the segregation of all the different devices and platforms” that you can currently find in any given small business (and especially in restaurants). The service is vendor agnostic and allows merchants to choose their own payment providers, loyalty programs and other core features they need to run their businesses.
The new app store will feature about 10 apps at first and launch later this spring. At first, the store will be stocked with apps from the likes of PayPal and LevelUp, as well as a number of reservations systems and mobile ordering services. During the beta, the store will remain closed to outside developers, but the company plans to launch its full developer platform later this year. Then, developers will be able to create everything from payment apps to HTML5 apps that run in its merchant backend and Android apps that run right on the tablet.
“As we’ve seen in other mobile app marketplaces, there are talented and creative developers out there, and we’re excited to see the innovations they can bring to the small business community on top of the Leaf platform,” Schwartzkopf said in the company’s announcement today.
Last year, Leaf raised a $1 million seed round and has since launched its tablet and expanded the scope beyond just providing payments.