Appconomy’s Steve Guengerich is not from Austin, but he says he got here as quickly as he could. He came in the 1990’s, moving his company from Houston when it was ready to go public. Now his latest venture puts him at the center of the mobile apps economy – which he has christened the appconomy.
Appconomy builds platforms for mobile app developers, and works directly with some customers, building apps to solve specific business problems. California’s Firebrand Media uses an appconomy app to allow advertisers to push special offers to their customers. Austin’s Freightwatch International called on Appconomy to develop an app that helps the company keep track of high value freight for clients. But Guengerich says Appconomy is not strictly an app developer, but instead is a provider of platforms that can be used to develop and monetize apps. Appconomy’s advantage, he says, is its ability to create tools that can succeed across devices and across borders. “If you go to China,” says Guengerich. “there are language issues, there are commerce issues., there are no proven successful apps.” But Guengerich thinks Appconomy may be ready to change that, largely because one of the company’s founders, Steve Papermaster, has longstanding business relationships in China dating back to his time as a member of former President George Bush’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
Appconomy has clear global ambitions, and a sharp local focus. When asked what he’s most excited about for his company, Guengerich immediately mentions Austin Startup Week, scheduled for September 6 – 10. This event will bring together startups, developers, marketers, job seekers, investors and tech enthusiasts from around the country. Guengerich hopes the event will attract new talent and money to Austin. Appconomy is looking to hire several new developers during the coming months. “We think Austin is a place that ought to continue to be a real mobile powerhouse of a city,” he says. One of the highlights of the week will be “open office hours” with Austin venture capital firms Capital Factory and Silverton Partners at the Austin offices of Silverton Partners on Friday, September 9.
Appconomy looked beyond Austin for its initial financing, receiving a $1.5 million “heavy angel” investment from Silicon Valley’s True Ventures. The company started out by working to establish itself as a thought leader in the “appconomy.” Now Guengerich says he sees the appconomy world divided into 3 distinct markets: content, community, and commerce. Commerce, he says, is the area where the most opportunity remains.