Featured Startup Pitch: PopAppFactory is focused on creating engaging and educational mobile apps for kids, and reaching a broader audience
Elevator Pitch: PopAppFactory creates educational digital toys for kids.
While developing iPad/Android games for kids, we make a strong accent on the educational aspect and aesthetic component. It is rather challenging not to make a game for a game’s sake, but to develop and improve various cognitive skills of a child.
Being parents ourselves, we pay significant attention—as most child psychologists and pedagogues do—to early childhood development. Mobile gadgets are used in increasing frequency as the educational materials in a tablet are more colorful and interactive.
Our apps are intended for children from two years to 12, and they can be divided into two sub categories: 2-to-6 and 6-to-12 years. Besides being beautifully designed and qualitatively sounded, they teach real things like: mathematical basics, the ABCs, cause and effect, problem solving, identifying of colors, shapes, and patterns, logic and reasoning, memory and attention, etc.
Most of our applications had success in the App Store even without investing in marketing at all. Yet we’ve developed games based on a rather frivolous knowledge of educational methodologies, relying more on our kids’ preferences and needs in different development phases. But now we plan to make a more in-depth study of kids’ mental development to create applications that would help children, their parents, and even teachers to correct or improve skills and help to process relevant educational materials.
PopAppFactory was founded in 2009 as a software outsourcing company developing custom mobile applications for iOS, Android and Blackberry. Eventually, we realized that most of our clients wanted fast and cheap solutions instead of qualitatively designed applications. We’ve always strived to make applications of decent quality that are easily maintained and improved. Beautiful pixel perfect graphics was also a must for us.
As soon as a sufficient budget was accumulated, we started our own development. Choosing a niche, we were amazed by the trace amount of good apps for kids and decided to fill the gap. The first app, Mosaic HD (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mosaichd/id421126665?mt=8), was rather successful: ‘Creativity’ category in one market, ‘New and Noteworthy’ in two markets, and it’s still holding respectable positions.
Now there are 19+ apps, developed by a close-knit team working full-time on game implementation. We’re releasing about one app per month, and have already scheduled releases for the year to come.
We do only online marketing, trying to distribute our message through versatile channels:
There are tons of app review websites over there. We do our best to cover all free of charge opportunities and order one or two expedited reviews each month. Then we analyze whether the resource was worth it.
Result: This strategy gives only a slight increase on installs.
Social media marketing – Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest. The biggest attention is naturally paid to Facebook due to the great amount of parenting pages and educational organizations. However, you always risk to be banned for spam by writing them directly through Facebook about the latest actions, discounts, or giveaways.
Result: We have almost 3,000 followers, but it doesn’t influence that much on the sales.
Reaching out to our audience through parenting portals. We search for technology geek moms, who like playing iPad games with their kids, therefore educating them. We ask them to review our apps or mention them in their blogs.
Result: This strategy gives more responses, but there are too many moms out there to write each a personal mail.
Reaching out technology bloggers. Every news portal has a technology blog, where from time-to-time journalists post reviews to the apps they consider the best.
Result: For now this is the most interesting marketing opportunity.
Some statistics: According to the data from different countries, about 58-to-83 percent of children 12 and under play tablet games, 53 percent of them use it for educational purposes—and their numbers are constantly growing. Educational apps take second place among the most popular categories after entertainment games. About 70 apps are added to the App Store each day, and about 5,000 educational apps are already available on Google Play. An average parent buys about eight apps for his kid. Nine-of-ten parents highlight that educational value is the most important criteria while choosing an app.
Technology in education is becoming a trend now. In some countries, they’ve started replacing textbooks with tablets, at least partially. For us the app, in the Educational category, is a success if it reaches minimum 100 installs a day. Our goal is to reach this number.
How We Differentiate From the Competition
In Ukraine and even in Russia we don’t have serious competition, though we never considered them to be our target markets. Moreover, we were orienting on the market leaders and improving our professional level with each application released. At the moment, we can pinpoint seven companies that we consider to be our competitors. Each company in this niche, however, can gain considerable success by making good apps, as the competition is rather constrained and depends more on users’ tastes.
PopAppFactory is a dynamically growing, young and creative team of technology-savvy professionals that constantly keeps abreast of market fluctuations and users’ needs. We like experimenting; we’re flexible and open to new challenges and opportunities.
In the category of Educational games for kids from two years, in-app purchases and advertising is unpopular, unethical, and even harms a company’s status. That is why our income depends on the quantity of apps sold only.
Another tidbit is making bundles with several lite version apps. Therefore, users have the possibility to try a few apps and buy a full version of the one they liked best.
We are first-class developers able to design noteworthy products. At the moment we are facing a deadlock in marketing—don’t know how it should be done right and don’t have a great budget for it. Our company is searching for a publisher or investor who has experience in this particular niche and will teach/help us in making successful marketing campaigns.
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Founders: Elena Avramenko, Ivan Misuno
Headquarters: Kiev, Ukraine
Year Founded: 2009