Applifier is a new Finnish startup that was pivoted from Everyplay, which was originally a social games developer. Applier is a cross-promotion network of independent social application developers on Facebook. It’s user base has blow up over night and gone from zero to 55 million users in four months. The service currently represents over 100 social games and applications, and reaches more than 55 million monthly active users (MAUs). According to the company, it reaches more Facebook users than any social game publisher, except of course Zynga.
Everyplay, the Applifier parent company, was coming out with a town building game for Facebook in March 2010 when they started to explore how they could boost their up-and-coming game. They didn’t have any venture funding and couldn’t afford straight up CPC/CPI campaigns and the deals offered by existing distributors didn’t work for them as they would have amounted to betting the company without much in the way of guarantees.
That’s when Jussi Laakkonen, the CEO, started to talk to fellow developers and everybody was saying “yeah, it is really that bad [what’s currently out there]”. This was when they got the idea of cross-promotion among independent developers. Laakkonen decided to put one of their engineers to hack something together and see if what would come out.
Once they got the Beta, Laakkonen reached out to a bunch of people he knew. Some of them had already thought about doing something similar, but since Laakkonen had already something put together, people chose to join Applifier. Nabeel Hyatt of Conduit Labs was a crucial partner on getting the initial thing going as he closed several of those deals. He also appeared as the early face of the project.
Applifier launched with 6 apps totaling around 3 million monthly active users on April 26th this year. By end of May they had hit 10 million MAU. By end of June the figure was 26 million MAU, and already in late August they were seeing over 50 million monthly active users.
As user acquisition cost on Facebook rise rapidly to over $0.50 per U.S. user, Applifier has been a wanted resource and already delivered over 10 million free clicks to its members. Applifier earns a commission on the clicks that get exchanged through its network. It’s similar to an ad-link exchange, where a member that sends 100 clicks out receives 100 clicks back minus Applifier sells the clicks earned as its commission on a Cost-Per-Click and Cost-Per-Install basis.
Laakkonen describes Applifier as “by developers for developers, where the bulk of the traffic is completely free. We take a small cut of the clicks exchanged and we are growing simply because people love what we do.”
After pivoting Everyplay into Applifier and ambushed by the sudden growth Laakkonen’s challenges have taken a different form. It’s challenging to find a high growth model, but its even harder to execute on it and scale the venture into sustainable business. Being based in Helsinki Finland, Applier is struggling to find high quality employees as its on a hiring frenzy to keep up with the demand of its product. We will see whether they can lure employees from other countries to relocate to Finland like Podio has been able to do in Denmark. They are also in the process of setting up an office in San Francisco – operating on two very different time zones does not make the company building any easier for Laakkonen. Currently they are eagerly looking for quality senior server and front end developers, a UX designer and a talented product manager. If you haven’t worked for a high growth company and would like to try it out, this might be your ticket if you fit the bill. See more about the open positions here.