Mobile app developers have benefited handsomely from a wave of data analytics innovation in recent years, which has made available behavioral data and insights that lead to improved free-to-paid conversion and monetization. In many ways, desktop developers have been left hanging, with little to no similar tools available – which is surprising given the desktop software application ecosystem is still 10 times larger than any other native mobile platform in terms of revenue. MarkedUp is launching out of Los Angeles accelerator MuckerLab today to change this specifically for the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 platforms.
“When I worked at Microsoft, I had a chance to work closely with dozens of app developers who were porting popular iOS and Android titles to Windows Phone and Windows Desktop,” says MarkedUp CEO and founder, and former Microsoft Developer Evangelist Aaron Stannard. “Absolutely none of them had found a viable analytics solution much less a solution that provided them the analytics and information they need to sustainably monetize their apps on any platform.”
Stannard’s problem with most mobile analytics services is their focus on optimizing in-app ads for developers of free apps. MarkedUp instead focuses on premium native apps – both desktop and mobile – aiming to drive in-app purchase, trial conversions, and subscriptions. The company believes its service is unique as the first analytics platform to support both desktop and premium mobile applications.
“Our ultimate vision is to make the process of monetizing desktop apps like monetizing Web apps,” says Stannard. The company is targeting the long tail of developers initially, who typically offer desktop apps priced between $20 to $50 via a trialware distribution model.
Many look at desktop software and say that it’s a thing of the past. But the reality is that there is likely a convergence of platforms taking place where a single operating system, and thus a single version of each piece of software, will soon operate across a wide variety of devices form factors from smartphones, to tablets, to PCs. Like it or hate it, this is the one thing that the Windows 8 franchise likely gets right – or at least attempts to. Apple is demonstrating a similar belief via the increasing convergence of OSX and iOS. In this kind of world, a multi-purpose analytics platform like MarkedUp will be right at home. The company anticipates to supporting OS X and possible other desktop platforms in the near future.
MarkedUp is launching into public beta today, after months of working privately with Microsoft BizSpark and Generation App program developers. The solution is currently free for all users, and likely will be through Q1 of 2013. Subsequently, each app will be able to collect its first 1,000,000 data points per month for free, and then will pay $99 per month for each subsequent million data points. The first 500 developers to register for MarkedUp will receive a free two-year license to use the service regardless of data.
Stannard developed the initial framework of MarkedUp at an LA StartupWeekend in February with co-founder and “multiple Windows Phone, AT&T and Nokia hackathon champion” Erik Medina, who is currently in undergrad at Cal Poly Pomona. The pair subsequently joined the fall 2012 class of MuckerLab, which will graduate in January, and have grown their small team to four. The startup has yet to raise any institutional capital, beyond MuckerLab, and is currently operating on a “jumbo-sized friends and family round,” according to its founder.