Today Montreal-based ooomf announced it has raised $500,000 in seed funding led by Real Ventures, with participation from BDC Venture Capital and several angel investors. The startup, a graduate of Montreal’s Founder Fuel startup accelerator, is also debuting its social app discovery platform in public beta today. The company wants to help users find the next big app before it’s available on app stores through their online platform, as well as their upcoming iPhone app.
Ooomf started as a widget for ecommerce businesses to use during the checkout process, and then the company pivoted to an online referral tool similar to Refer.ly, which provided users with rewards in exchange for promoting content on their online social networks. Then after joining Founder Fuel in February 2012 they pivoted to a way to create a landing page for an app, similar to a Launchrock landing page for startups. They presented the new direction at a February Startup Weekend event, launched the tool in April 2012, and added 1,400 app developers in the first month of its release.
Founder Mikail Cho said that after debuting that landing page tool, they wanted to expand ooomf to help users find cool apps, and help developers market their apps both pre- and post-launch, which is why they’ve refocused to a platform that lets app developers showcase their apps, and to get feedback from followers. ”Our goal is from idea to in the app store we are helping developers market their applications and users to discover the best apps for their phones.”
Cho said ooomf has three main features: letting users participate in the app creation process, helping people discover apps that are coming soon, and helping uncover apps that have fallen out of the top 25 in the App Store. Developers can showcase their app on a public-facing app promotion page, adding descriptions, links to download if it’s already available, and multimedia like screenshots and videos. Each developer can also create a page where they can showcase all the projects they’re working on at any given time, and they can request feedback from the community, getting them to vote on icon designs, logos, etc.
The upcoming iPhone app will lets users view apps by their release date, or the most popular based on user feedback. Users can view demo videos, early screenshots, and save an app to their favorites to track its progress. The app sends users push notifications when apps in their favorites are available for download. Cho said the app will likely be available sometime in the fall. And while right now ooomf focuses exclusively on iPhone apps, the company will be expanding to iPad and Android down the line.
The company plans to monetize by allowing developers to pay for featured placements (right now the platform highlights an app of the day and developer of the day), and while all developer accounts are free right now, they’ll be offering pro accounts with additional features including analytics and other developer tools which will be added in the next few months. The company is also an Apple partner, and makes a commission when they send users to download apps.
There are many startups tackling app discovery, from Chomp, which was acquired by Apple in February 2012, to Discovr, which also tackles people and music discovery, and AppHero, which added $1.8 million in funding in July 2012. There are also daily app recommendation tools like App of the Day, founded by AppHero founder Jordan Satok, and App-o-Day. Cho said ooomf’s key differentiators are its focus on pre-launch and coming soon apps, and the community participation.
In terms of how they’ll attract users and developers in a sea of app discovery tool, Cho said the main plan for growth is partnering with app developers – Startup Weekend is now testing ooomf with apps built at 15 events in North America, and the company has also partnered with developer network The Application Developers Alliance, and mobile app data provider Appitalism. ”These partnerships are really important for us because we are trying to find people with great ideas for apps, right from the idea point,” he said. “Once somebody has an idea for an app and they’re about to build it, that’s when we want them coming on ooomf.”