EU App Economy Study Presents Interim Findings and Innovation Challenge Winners

Leaders from the app development community in Europe gathered in Berlin recently to discuss the current state of the EU app economy, along with innovative ideas for the future. The event featured keynote talks and hands-on tutorials by CEOs and co-founders from a variety of successful app companies who advised app companies on how to grow their businesses. Interim study results were also presented which showed that almost a third of larger European ICT companies hired at least 10 app developers this past year, with at least a 5% growth in app developer and app support teams expected by about a quarter and a third of the companies respectively.

The Eurapp study, launched by the European Commission as part of its Startup Europe initiative and being carried out by Gigaom Research and the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUI Galway, is currently surveying startups and larger ICT companies to model and profile the EU app economy. App startups are being encouraged to make their voices known by completing the survey and giving their opinions on the EU app economy. Early results from these surveys were presented by Gigaom VP David Card at the workshop in Berlin.

From the perspective of larger IT companies in the EU, two thirds of the 500 surveyed were developing apps for their customers, while over half were also developing custom apps for their own employees. Nearly two thirds said that they developed apps in house, and a half said that they have outsourced app development to third parties. The primary target continents are Europe, North America and Asia, and while around 70% of companies develop for Android and the same again for iOS, almost 30% develop for other phone platforms.

In terms of job hiring, nearly 30% of companies hired at least 10 developers this past year, with a quarter of those surveyed expecting to grow their developer teams by at least 5%. An almost 1:1 ratio in terms of developers and support staff was observed, with a slightly higher expected growth for support staff in the next year.

Also as part of the Eurapp project, two innovation challenges solicited proposals to address issues with funding and market conditions in the EU app economy, following stakeholder interviews and an earlier workshop which identified these as the two major bottlenecks. Out of almost a hundred innovative ideas, a shortlist of 10 proposals were selected to present at the workshop.

The winning solution in the funding challenge was Cianán Clancy’s proposal for a European App Centre. Donald McCann won the market conditions challenge for his multi-strand proposal that incorporated an app conference, contest, online channels, marketing/business development kit, and jobs board.

Some of the other presented proposals included:

  • Matchmaking app developers with sponsors in a format similar to movie patronage events,
  • A reality TV show where apps would be judged in a popular talent competition format,
  • Bootcamp training programmes and app research hubs in targeted cities,
  • Coaching academy for app startups with attractive investment terms,
  • New online services and incubators for team formation of co-founders and advisors with complementary skills,
  • An app entrepreneurs-in-residence scheme for big EU organisations, and
  • An app request-for-quotations and tendering service.

Another aim of the workshop was to guide attendees on strategies to ensure success, with tutorials and talks from marketing / app engine optimisation specialists, cross-platform developers and company founders. Presenters included the CEO of Mubaloo, one of Europe’s largest app development agencies, and the co-founders of Xyo, Appency, Glimworm, MobileGroove Media, Suite 48 Analytics, Xyglo, along with technology leads from VisionMobile and Jimdo.

The final Eurapp workshop will be held in Brussels, provisionally scheduled for 13 February 2014, where a roadmap of policy actions for the EU app economy will be discussed.

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