What does appScatter Group PLC (LON:APPS) do? Well, the clue is in the name.
It operates a is a scalable business-to-business (B2B) software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that allows paying users to distribute their apps to, and manage their apps on, multiple app stores.
Just in case you've been under a rock for the last 20 years, I should explain an “app” is a software application, and the term typically applies to programmes that run on mobile communication devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
The company's centralised platform enables app developers and publishers to manage and track performance of their own and competing apps across all of the app stores on the platform.
The platform went live in November 2017
The app distribution platform only went live in November 2017 and rustled up revenue of £1.9mln before the calendar year was out.
Its first paying customers came on board during the period and by the end of May 2018, it had 16,835 registered users, of which 2,238 are licensed users of the appScatter platform. Included among their number are blue-chip names such as Allianz, Deloitte and Ran Group.
AppScatter tracks one billion unique app web addresses (URLs) from 10mln apps by 2.2nln active app publishers.
The platform supports 75 mobile app stores for distribution and reporting while tracking and collecting data daily from 25 app stores in 150 countries.
The management of large quantities of data is core to the business model of appScatter and the plan is for the company to make money from the billions of app data points it has been collecting on a daily basis since 2014.
Factoring and cyber-security
Appscatter also wants to set up a factoring service for app developers to help them get paid quicker,
Apple, for example, takes 90 days to pay.
A number of its larger customers meanwhile have asked for a product to assess cyber-security risks for apps and databases, which is a new avenue for the company.
Chief executive Philip Marcella says the idea behind appScatter came from his own and his team’s experience of developing almost 400 apps and having to monitor how they were performing.
Indeed, he says the decision to form appScatter resulted from an internal version that had already been a hit with his own clients.
Big misconception about the dominance of Apple and Google
The big misconception is that all apps are bought through Apple and Google, he adds.
While the two tech giants do account for a meaty 49% of the market currently through their hugely successful app stores, there are upwards of 500 other places you can buy apps.
AppScatter’s business is to put a developer’s apps into as many of these online stores as possible and provide the data on how they are performing.
Mobile networks such as Vodafone all have their own stores including MTN, which in Africa alone services 22 countries.
Device makers such as HTC, Samsung and LG also have app stores built into the smart TVs they make. Even online giant Amazon has its own app store.
AppScatter raised £9mln when it floated at 65p in September 2017 and the shares are now languishing just above 50p, but institutional shareholders were happy to pay 70p a share in June when the company raised £3mln through a share placing, and that was when the company's shares were available at around 58p a pop.
Once the company starts to convert subscribers to the platform into paying subscribers, expect the share price performance to perk up.
Growth through acquisitions
Part of the group's plan is to augment organic growth with acquisitions, and it recently completed the purchase of a company it knows well: Priori Data.
“We are already collaborating with Priori on several new high-profile clients - with growing interest in the abilities of the enlarged group from key potential enterprise customers,” Marcella said at the time of purchase.
Berlin-based Priori runs an app data intelligence operation and combined with appScatter’s existing service will enable the performance of millions of apps and billions of devices to be analysed.
By combining the data from both companies, it is hoped that brands, app publishers, advertising agencies and mobile networks will be able to conduct more targeted demographic campaigns.