A new program at one of Kansas City top mobile tech firms plans to build dozens of mobile apps for as many as 70 startups around the nation.
Kansas City-based Pinsight Media+ recently launched its “Rollout” program, which will develop a firm’s Android or iOS app — for free — with the intention of it generating revenue. The app’s advertising or data revenue will go to Pinsight until development costs offset, at which point the two organizations can evaluate their partnership.
As part of the program, Pinsight will inject its ad monetization and distribution services into the app, aiming to generate both revenue and users. The startup retains ownership of the app and the data collected via the technology.
Brian Smith, Pinsight’s director of product, said that Rollout is a win-win for Pinsight and startups hoping to offer a revenue-generating app.
“Startups have these amazing ideas for applications but they focus on how to build the app and technology — not necessarily on how to monetize it,” he said. “We bring value to small companies by helping their development get started and in return they get our monetization technologies.
A subsidiary of Overland Park-based Sprint, Pinsight already has worked with several firms at the Kansas City-based Sprint Mobile Accelerator. Pinsight helped develop the app “Sick Weather,” a startup graduate of the Sprint Accelerator that offset its development costs in about 30 days, Smith said.
Startups can spend upwards of $100,000 and the better half of a year developing a mobile app, Smith said. And in addition to those expenses, building an app generally requires a team of talented techies — at minimum a developer and designer — to yield a quality product.
Given current trends, a distinctive and effective mobile product is more important than ever for startups. Nearly two-thirds of Americans are now smartphone owners, according to the PEW Research Center. Neilsen also found that the time a person spends with smartphone apps per month has increased dramatically, from about 23 hours in the fourth-quarter of 2012 to 37 hours in the fourth-quarter of 2014 — a 63 percent boost.
To tap that growing market, Pinsight will be going on a nationwide tour to push its Rollout program. The company will travel to Austin, Boulder, Seattle and San Francisco to meet with startup founders in more than 70 business accelerators. It also will be welcoming local applicants from Kansas City.
Smith said while Rollout is not an entirely new idea, the company employs a different tactic to create long-lasting partners.
“The model of giving developers something for free in order for them to use your ad (software development kit) isn’t a new model,” he said. “What we see as a new model is specifically targeting early-stage companies and saying ‘We’ll help you get started if you stick with us.’ By creating that relationship early, you create a partnership that lasts three or four years.”
Smith said that Pinsight must be choosy with the firms it selects for the program, as not all app ideas lend themselves to revenue-generation. To apply, click here.
“We have to be somewhat selective about who we accept,” he said. “We need to be able to get our return on investment. There’s no shortage of people applying. … There are a handful of businesses that are local that we’re talking with now.”
Founded in 2012, Pinsight has a history of making quality apps. The company developed the popular CBS Sports app, as well as OneWeather, Baconreader, Starshop and Tweetcaster.