Company name: The App Factory
Founder: David Carter
Date started: March 2010
Tell us what your business does:
The App Factory is a mobile application development business. Along with building applications for our clients we also have our own portfolio of applications. Worldwide we are a well-known developer on the Android platform, having brought over 70 of our own applications to that platform alone. We build applications for the following platforms and devices: iPhone, iPad, Google Android, Blackberry, Nokia, Palm, Samsung, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and Amazon Kindle.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I had heard of applications on the iPhone that had downloads in the thousands for $0.99 per download. When you do the maths you can tell it is a way to make money and in the long term a business based around that. At the start it was simply a way to make some money, as things grew I began to build a business around it.
What were you doing before starting up?
I’m currently a student at Manchester College, coming to the end of my course. I have, in the past, worked at a waiter, cleaner, and office temp. From these jobs I acquired the money needed to start the business.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
The ownership attached to running my own business appealed to me greatly. I have a greater choice of what I should spend my time doing, which is obviously an appealing factor to anyone.
What planning did you do before you started up?
I spent some time looking through the most popular applications on all mobile platforms. This gave me an idea as to what would sell well, and generally what appealed to people the most. I think it is very important however to just get started. Too many people spend all their time saying ‘I’m going to....’ or ‘once we do this....’ without ever actually getting down to it. Planning is vital but it is only the preview to the main event, which is actually doing something.
Where is your business based?
I run the business from my bedroom. At the moment I love my work so I don’t really see home and work life as separate, which can be a good and bad thing at times. I aim to spend a set amount of time working each day on the business, then a set amount of time with my family.
How have you promoted your business?
Thus far I have done little promotion. Companies such as Apple and Google who carry our apps on their devices tend to do great jobs of advertising our apps themselves. However as the business has now developed, we are looking at new promotional methods which look positive.
What about staff?
I initially employed college students, however as the complexity of the applications increased I had to seek out professional developers. I enjoy working with others in my business. I learn a great deal from those who work with me. Without their help my business, without a shadow of doubt, would not exist today.
What has your growth been like?
I started 2 months ago with no development experience or knowledge of the area. All I knew was people download applications and paid per download. From this I have created, to my knowledge, the second largest portfolio of applications on Google Android powered phones – the number one company is a large software organisation based in Los Angeles. I now have client work from very well established companies within the UK and abroad. Growth has been amazing, especially considering I have done this while in full-time education.
What was your first big breakthrough?
The day a senior manager at a FTSE 100 company invited me to lunch to talk about my business was a turning point for me. I realised I must have grown this into something fairly impressive if it was catching that kind of attention.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
For anyone reading this they may think I’m a technology person, but really I have no attachment to a particular industry. In the future I’ll probably try things in other sectors. I’m always keen to learn about new business models and therefore it is hard to say where I’ll be in five years’ time. In terms of an exit for The App Factory I currently have nothing planned as I’m very much still building it.