We have seen in the last four or five weeks a massive upturn in traffic and that traffic, in turn, has resulted in an increase in our revenues, which are fully automated. So, we are in a lot better position than many companiees
Philip Marcella, chief executive
Airnow, the company formerly known as AppScatter, has had an interesting and busy couple of years.
The change of name followed the acquisition of Airpush in late 2019 – a deal that moved the group a step closer to being a one-stop-shop for app developers and publishers.
Last summer, Airnow entered into a £40mln investment agreement over a three-year period with Global Emerging Markets, the US$3.4bn Luxembourg-based investment group.
The funding, which expires on the earlier of three years or when GEM subscribes for securities in the capital of Airnow with an aggregate value of £40mln, provides the company with the financial flexibility to accelerate the growth of its existing app management business ahead of its planned return to a London listing.
“Airnow has made considerable progress in recent months and the ability to draw down on these funds will significantly accelerate the growth potential of the business,” said chief executive Philip Marcella.
The company said in the summer that it was trading at break-even and at the current revenue run rate expects to make US$5mln in annual profits.
The Airpush marriage has propelled the company to a new level, not just financially, but operationally too.
The enlarged business is home to more than 1.3mln developers and publishers, giving the company access to more than 250mln devices through its firmware updater.
The group has long-term blue-chip clients such as Amazon, Uber Eats, Domino's Pizza, YOOX, Net-a-Porter, LabCave Games, Bosch and McKinsey.
“Both Airpush and appSatter had the same goal – to create a one-stop-shop for app developers and publishers to manage their apps,” said CEO Marcella. “I think we are starting to achieve this.”
Practically, this means the company provides distribution and monetisation services for developers and publishers as well as security and data services.
The Airnow Data division was launched to help developers better track how their products are doing, offering a quality of information on the app ecosystem that “few companies around the world can compete with”.
It provides clients with six years’ worth of continually updated data, with a wide range of metrics including downloads, revenue, daily active users, monthly active users, ARPU (average revenue per daily active user) and retention.
Partnerships aid growth
Where it can’t buy-and-build it will organically grow new offerings for a hungry client base.
And of course, there are partnerships such as the agreements it has struck with the payment services platform, Bango, and the digital marketing agency Interarrows, which is taking Airnow into Japan.
While traditional bricks and mortar businesses have struggled as the coronavirus lockdown has stifled economic activity, Airnow is positively flourishing (though Marcella appears somewhat abashed by the firm’s fortunate predicament).
Its workforce was mainly home-based before the outbreak, while the move to a more restricted, sedentary lifestyle has seen an upturn in demand for smartphone and tablet applications.
Conducting meetings online saw a predictable surge in demand for Zoom last summer, though the number is staggering with a month on month 751% increase in downloads via Apple, according to Airnow’s own data, with face-to-face social network app, House Party, with downloads on the Google Play store up 1,500%.
“We have seen in the last four or five weeks a massive upturn in traffic and that traffic, in turn, has resulted in an increase in our revenues, which are fully automated,” said Marcella. “So, we are in a lot better position than many companies.”
Airnow’s year has been one of value creation. Its shares were delisted at 17.2p and funds were raised subsequently at 26.8p. After a one-for-five share consolidation they were valued in summer 2020 at 134p each.
With 80mln shares in circulation, that made the firm worth £107mln. Where it goes from there is anyone’s guess given the febrile state of the markets; however, those looking for a corona-resistant investment could do far worse than look at Airnow.