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Seed Capital From Angel Investors: Paul Olliver, Wider Wake Networks (Part 7)

Posted on Saturday, May 29th 2010

By guest authors Irina Patterson and Candice Arnold

Irina: Any interesting stories about the companies you invested in?

Paul: Back to appssavvy, they’re really a case study deal for us. That’s exactly the way in which we like to work.

Steve: appssavvy started out with an idea when Facebook opened its platform to third-party developers. So, if you are familiar with Facebook, you may see apps like “Mafia Wars” or “Circle of Moms” or “Farmville.” All of these are applications that are built on the Facebook platform, to engage and entertain Facebook users. There are upward of 300,000 different apps on the Facebook platform today.

So, what appssavvy saw was an opportunity to connect big brand advertisers with these applications. Most of these application developers are small companies, like only two or three people. Those small developers can’t call Coca-Cola and say, “Hey, you should advertise in my product.” And that is what appssavvy does.

They have the relationships with the ad agencies on Madison Avenue and the relationships with big brands like Coca-Cola, Nestlé, Kimberly-Clark, Procter & Gamble, and Sony. And they basically have gone to these advertisers over the past two plus years now and educated them about the opportunity to advertise in social media by actually integrating their brand messages into the apps experience. They’ve expanded into the iPhone, so now you can see that brands like Power Bar or DonQ Rum are integrating their brand messages right into iPhone apps.

Irina: What is the actual experience, give us an example?

Steve: For example, appssavvy just recently did a campaign with an iPhone app called Ski Report. The applicaion, Ski Report, gives you any mountain you want and the ski conditions. And what appssavvy did is they brought in PowerBar, a Nestlé brand and an energy bar company, and they integrated PowerBar into the Ski Report application experience. So that when the Ski Report loaded, you had a PowerBar experience in forms of various content that was added to that skier’s or snowboarder’s experience, such as nutrition you need to have on the mountain to get the most out of your day. And then appssavvy also brought in other cool things that the PowerBar brand represents, like the sponsorship of skiers and snowboarders, so you could actually watch videos of a skier or one of the snowboarders that they sponsor and the tricks that that person does and that sort of thing. So, it’s just like adding value to the application without detracting from the experience like, no more, Hey click on my banner and go someplace else.

Irina: Excellent. So, it’s like a product placement inside an application, right?

Steve: That’s a great analogy, yes. Obviously it’s a lot more thought out in how that brand can actually add to the experience, but that’s a great analogy.

Irina: So, how much revenue do they generate? Is it above $1 million?

Paul: Oh, way above $1 million but it’s a privately held company so the company would have to release that.

Steve: I can’t give you an exact revenue number but I can tell that in October of last year – about a year and a half into the company’s existence – they reached profitability, and Paul said earlier that they grew from two people and they’re just about over 40 now. So, that kind of speaks to the kind of revenues that they’re doing.

Irina: Where are they based?

Steve: They’re based in New York City.

This segment is part 7 in the series : Seed Capital From Angel Investors: Paul Olliver, Wider Wake Networks
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