Rockstart Guests: SellanApp (+ Let’s Play, Taggy, WildCard)
**Rockstart HQ is always buzzing with people – some startups come over simply to have lunch, others visit to have a chat with our team or meet the startups. With so many interesting people coming over at a regular basis, we decided to highlight a few of them in the “Rockstart Guests” series.**
We noticed a tall guy with a beard and the look of a visionary sitting at the Rockstart Café, co-working and meeting space for startups. Soon we realized it’s Milan van den Bovenkamp, co-founder of SellanApp.
For those who do not know yet what is SellanApp about: imagine you have a brilliant idea for an app, but lack the technical, promotional or design skills to make it happen. Here’s something you can do: submit your app idea on SellanApp and get it crowdfunded. The platform also helps users find the right people to help build their projects.
Milan – the tech nomad
Milan introduces himself as a person who “connects people and empowers them through apps and communities.” Next to managing SellanApp, this busy bee is also working on a number of exciting side projects including:
>>Taggy – a game app that you can play in real life: you go, look up for friends at their offices or homes and you tag each other in real life. “It is a way to connect people through group play”, says Milan.
>>Let’s Play – a matchmaking app for people who like to play sports together: it connects you with locals that have an interest in similar sports.
>>WildCard – Milan hacked it a couple of weeks ago at The Next Web conference. It’s a tool with which connecting at conferences is made easy, “it’s like a Tinder for business”, as Milan puts it: “You swap through the list of people, looking for a match and later talking to each other.“
The fascinating thing is that he’s not developing these from his own office- in fact he doesn’t even have one. Milan lives a nomadic lifestyle, meaning that he travels around and works from different co-working spaces and cafés in the world.
How do you help app makers with SellanApp?
Basically, we help people who have an idea for an app, but lack the technical skills to design it, fund it, develop it, publish and promote it. It’s similar to the way that book publishers help writers: they collect stories and help writers print the book, distribute and promote it. The writer gets a share of the revenue.
Great app ideas can come from anyone, not just the people who know how to design and code. Developing an app requires time, energy and love, but that is all worth it. For example, I founded and funded Taggy using my own SellanApp platform while also working for SellanApp itself. It requires some work, but not all of your daytime. It’s not a startup that you you’re building, it’s an app.
What makes SellanApp unique compared to other crowdfunding platforms?
We do more than just crowdfunding apps. We consider ourselves a publisher, because we connect users with all the parties involved in making an app. Crowdfunding platforms only connect users to the crowd- we connect them with developers, designers and promoters, and that makes us unique in the space.
How did you come up with the idea for SellanApp?
We had a lot of friends in our network that had an idea for an app and walked up to a developer saying “Hey, I’ve got this idea and if you build it, we can share the revenue.” But that’s really a faulty system, because the developers start building before they even know if the app is going to be successful. What we did with SellanApp was to create a validation plan for apps, so that people – the crowd – could prove its success: if enough people help to funding the app than it should be a good idea. Developers should start building apps after this validation, not before.
As a result, the developers love us because they get paid up front, and… they get paid! They also get a share of the revenue. Less, of course, as they take less risk.
People with app ideas also like us because they don’t need to quit their jobs to launch an app. They can invite their family and friends to invest some money in their idea. That was not possible before.
What are you doing here at Rockstart?
I really like to spread my wings, go and work anywhere. I’m also blogging about my tech-nomadic lifestyle – I’m working from different places in around the world. All I need to do is open my laptop somewhere and connect to wi-fi. It’s fun here because I know a lot of people from Rockstart and I know that I can add value to the projects here. It’s a great way of living life. I can exchange value without exchanging money. I visit different coworking spaces, as well as advertising agencies and cafés. It’s sort of a coffee space here [the canteen] and what I’ve read somewhere a while ago was that coffee houses in cities are really a pool of creativity and innovation. This meeting space is one of those spaces.
So we can find you in a different spot every day. Have you ever had your own office before?
Yes. Having an office is great, but can also be really boring. I like to travel and just go anywhere. I’ve been to London, to New York, and recently to Virgin Islands. I went there not only to work, but also to chill and enjoy life. It’s a great way of working.
How can an app be made successful? Can you give us some advice based on your experience with SellanApp?
The most important thing I always keep repeating is that you should really add value with your app. Talk to your users. If they can’t see the benefit of an app, they will not download it – simple as that. If they do see the benefit and added value, they will try it out. Start talking to your users early on. It is the first question I ask people with app ideas – did you talk to a certain user group, did you talk to your friends? If they are not using your app, go talk to someone else. Find them on the web, on the street, anywhere. It’s sort of the lean startup approach (I never read the book but I get asked to give workshops about it constantly).
Also, I think crowdfunding is a great way to value your idea. We did that early on as well with our own startup.
What was the craziest idea you’ve seen on SellanApp, in a positive sense?
Any app idea that people have is the craziest.
One of these crazy ideas I ran into was SaveDrives, one of the first apps on our platform. It’s basically a dashboard cam app. People would pay about 100 euros for a dashcam, but this app only costs 2. We didn’t even spread the word about it and it already has around 25k downloads. That’s one of the crazy ideas that could really solve problems in the future, considering that a dashcam is really important in terms of insurance, leasing, etc., because it tracks your rides. When something happens the app calls emergency services. It’s a great and simple app, and I’m looking forward to see it growing in the future.
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