The Apps Alliance team took to Silicon Beach last week for our Los Angeles App Strategy Workshop. Hosted at the Loews Hotel in Santa Monica, our workshop gathered 250 app developers and startup founders in the Los Angeles area to talk about building app businesses. For this workshop, we specifically focused on startup companies, highlighting some of the amazing startups in LA. The event’s agenda was packed with more than 20 industry leading speakers - from experts in app marketing and monetization to successful entrepreneurs ready to share their stories. We can’t wait to return to this sunny startup scene!
Here are a few key takeaways from our Los Angeles App Strategy Workshop:
Develop Your App to Get Discovered
Our first panel - including speakers from OpenX, Google, Millennial Media, Quixey, and Pollen - discussed the art of app entrepreneurship. While the group covered many strategies for building an app business, the discussion focused on optimizing your app for search and virality. Deeplinking - one of the industry’s hottest trends - can improve your organic growth and referral programs, helping you drive growth in the early days of your app. With deep links, you can drive users to specific parts of your app via search and marketing instead of breaking the user experience.
Keep Your Users Happy and Monetize with Native Ads
The next session featured a deep-dive discussion on native advertising. I sat down with Jason Lepore of Demand Media and James Kung of AdColony to discuss how Demand Media leveraged native video advertising for their updated Cracked mobile app. Demand Media chose to include native in-feed ads, so users will see ads while scrolling through a feed to find stories to read. These ads allow for Demand Media to monetize the app without using disruptive banner ads or intrusive interstitials. AdColony’s native in-feed video ad unit was the perfect solution for helping Demand Media preserve their user experience while allowing advertising in their apps.
Build a Strong Team and Solve a Problem.
For the third panel, successful LA-based mobile startup founders - from MEDL Mobile, Mobile Deluxe, PathSense, and Scopely - shared their stories and key lessons they learned along the way. While the panelists disagreed on some points, two things remained true throughout. First, the founders emphasized the need to build strong teams. You won’t be able to do everything yourself, and hiring the right people can shape the success or failure of your business. Second, each of these entrepreneurs identified a problem and used mobile as a solution.
“The biggest piece of advice for entrepreneurs is focus,” says Dave Swartz of MEDL Mobile.
When Raising Capital, Understand What Your Company Does and Have Clear Goals
Next, we learned about raising capitol from VCs and startup experts from Mucker Capitol, Technicolor, WSGR, and ICM Partners during the CTIA Investor Panel. The panelists unanimously agreed that having passion and ambition is important, making sure you have a path and metrics to reach your goals is imperative for generating investor interest. Understanding what your company does and an understanding of the market you’re getting into will help you be a better businessperson.
As an Entrepreneur, You Don’t Have to Carry the Weight of the World on Your Shoulders
Finally, Ben Huh of Cheezburger, our keynote speaker, took the stage. Ben walked us through the past several years of his life as an entrepreneur, pulling out key factors in his success. Through a candid (and very funny!) presentation, Ben pointed out the need for entrepreneurs to be realistic about who they are and what they’ve set out to do.
“The greatest lie ever told to entrepreneurs is you hold the world on your shoulders.” Ben said. “I had to learn to delegate and give the team the tools they needed to grow.”
Ben emphasized the importance of asking others for help. Not only should you have a strong, reliable team, but seeking out mentorship from proven entrepreneurs can bring you to the next level. Address your fears head on, and identify your best assets, then put them to work.
Startup Showcase hosted by Millennial Media
Our event concluded with a series of pitches from LA’s next generation of mobile startups compliments of our Networking Reception sponsor, Millennial Media. Check out some of the up-and-coming companies we found:
Recipe Cloud - Recipe Cloud is the new social cook book. Use it to discover, organize, and share your favorite recipes.
Vyu - Get the latest on everything TV—news, gossip, videos, and social feeds—all in 1 place. Follow your favorite TV shows & actors, discover what your friends are watching, and share your vyus with the world in a snap!
Period Tracker (SevenLogics) - Period Tracker is a classy, pleasant, and discrete interface to track your periods, daily moods, health symptoms, notes, and even the weather, so you can see how they correlate to your cycle days.
Lootsie - Lootside is a mobile rewards platform that allows users to gain points and reap rewards. Developers can increase revenue and engagement and cross-promote apps by rewarding their users.
Thank you to all those who made our trip to LA a huge success!