Lately, in the entrepreneurial and tech-centric media, there’s been some discussion on whether the app boom days are over, especially in light of the ever-climbing CAC costs reported by tech startups. We asked investors based in the Middle East, from angels to VCs, to talk back and give us their views on whether startups in the app space still have a chance to make it (and get looked at seriously for capital).
THE Q What is your opinion on the idea that the app boom has already gone through a life and death cycle, and that it’s now an overly optimistic (and unlikely) area for entrepreneurs to succeed in?
"This opinion is exaggerated. Today there are over three million apps available on both the Android and Apple app stores, with thousands being launched on a daily basis. This boom has made it difficult for entrepreneurs with new apps to get noticed amongst the large array of options. Users tend to use up to six apps on their device on a daily basis, and this usage is driving app developers to provide more holistic experiences (an ecosystem of sorts) through their offering. Entrepreneurs are trying to get the attention of the user and keep them on their app, and today, messaging apps are the first to provide extra services on their platform (e.g. booking an Uber, ordering food, playing games etc). This trend is likely to continue and apps need to start looking at plugging into existing app ecosystems in order to get distribution/drive market share.
Locally though, there are still plenty of opportunities to build local apps that solve for local problems. Apps provide the most effective medium for users to order food, request limousines, bank and book travel services. As more local services become digital, the app will likely be the user’s ideal way of interacting. In addition, there are many opportunities to build apps that are focused on enterprise vs. consumer, especially as businesses start to look for more cost-efficient ways to do things in light of the current economic downturn. So, in summary, think of local problems that can be solved through the use of mobile apps, and come up with unique ways to market your app locally.”