InMobi, one of the poster-boys of the Indian startup scene has just acquired Metaflow, a UK based company that specializes in app management and distribution solutions. This is InMobi’s second acquisition in the last few weeks, having acquired silicon-valley based MMTG labs earlier in July. With the addition of these two companies, InMobi has strengthened its product portfolio, with a solid offering in app management and distribution tools.
Metaflow specializes in distribution of Android apps beyond the Google App store. There are 100s of other app stores outside the Google/Android system that host android apps that are available to end users. These are all legitimate (not pirated) app stores, that are run by mobile operators like Vodafone, Airtel, Aircell and a ton of others from across the world. Handset manufacturers like Samsung, HTC etc. also run their own app stores, as do some developers like Opera. If you’re an Android developer, you can imagine that distributing your app to these 100s of app stores around the world, setting pricing in local currencies, collecting money through paid downloads and advertisements is a very cumbersome task for the app developer. Metaflow solves this problem by automating the packaging and distribution of APKs to more than 350 app stores around the world.
MMTG labs, the creator of appgalleries.com and App Bistro among other distribution products specializes in the creation of white-label app stores. These app stores can be hosted by anyone – Blogs, Review sites and really anyone else that is willing to put in the effort to curate and review apps. Content creators can use MMTG’s solution to create customized app stores – with hand picked apps from the iTunes app store, Android, Facebook and HTML5 app stores – to create a one-stop shop for apps across all platforms with a unified frontend.
With these two products, InMobi is making a strong play to own the distribution of apps, helping app developers reach more users across more markets. Efficient distribution of apps is a massively big problem for app developers today. There are lots of quality apps beyond the top-25 lists on Android and iOS, and these developers will have a better way of reaching users through InMobi. InMobi has a chance to put together a killer product that thousands of app developers will need. A combination of advertising-based monetization, SmartPay-based pay-per-download, app distribution and app discovery capabilities create the whole package that can be a very useful tool for the vast majority of app developers that are looking towards non-traditional ways of reaching newer users across the world.
This is a fantastic move for InMobi. Last year, InMobi had acquired Sprout, the HTML5 / Rich-media authoring tool. With Sprout, InMobi has done a good job pushing into the premium, rich-media based mobile advertising market. With it’s bold play with distribution solutions, InMobi has the chance to solve a big problem that app developers face. InMobi itself has been the constant source of acquisition rumours. With these additional tools in it’s portfolio, InMobi has just made itself a far more attractive target for a big-ticket acquisition. In the meanwhile, InMobi continues to demonstrate strong growth in the mobile ad market, growing in developed markets and consolidating its position in the Asian and African markets.