Austria’s App Radar acquires Spanish competitor TheTool to be the one-stop-shop for app marketing products

App Radar

Austria-based App Radar is an app marketing company that focuses on organic and paid user acquisition and lets companies combine self-service tools with managed services for app marketing. The company has recently announced that it has acquired its Spanish competitor TheTool.

Although the financials of this deal were not disclosed, according to App Radar it is a six-digit deal. 

The tools of the trade

TheTool is a performance-based Mobile ASO tool for iOS and Android apps. It enables users to easily track and optimise their app marketing strategy, increase downloads and grow their business.

Created by PICKASO, the leading App Marketing and Mobile Growth agency in Spain, TheTool specialises in data insights for app marketers. Its customer base, which comprises more than 400 customers, will be acquired by App Radar. 

“Their suite of products is the perfect complement to what we have built at TheTool. By combining these solutions App Radar is going to have one of the most complete app marketing offerings available,” says Daniel Peris, the Co-Founder and CEO of TheTool.

The European app market on the radar 

Founded in 2015 in Austria by Thomas Kriebernegg and Christian Janesch, App Radar provides self-service tools and managed services that drive organic and paid user acquisition to companies including Rovio Entertainment, Wargaming and DEGIRO across 160 countries.

“Its features have been designed around a clear UX developed in line with feedback from marketers. As a result, it is the only platform that works hand-in-hand with their workflows. This allows marketers to move between research, analytics and editing all inside one solution rather than having to run multiple solutions,” says the company in its press release. 

According to the company, this acquisition is an assets-only deal that will expand App Radar’s presence in Europe and enable the app marketing company to offer a range of new features to its clients. It is one of the first major acquisitions of an App Store Optimisation Tool in the industry, claims the Austrian company. 

The acquisition follows App Radar recording a second straight year of turnover doubling. “This deal is a huge step in App Radar’s journey. It will enable us to significantly expand our product offering and provide us with a stronger footing in the European app market,” says Thomas Kriebernegg, CEO and Co-Founder of App Radar,

“Our goal is to become a one-stop-shop for app marketing products and TheTool’s range of excellent app analytics services is an important piece of this puzzle. We plan to build on this achievement by further expanding our reach in Europe – particularly the UK and Germany – and doubling down on product development,” he adds. 

Backed by Austrian’s leading VC network eQventure, App Radar’s customer base includes iTranslate, Kolibri Games, Wargaming, DEGIRO, Rovio Entertainment, among others.

Startups – Silicon Canals

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6 Tips To Avoid Being Blindsided By A New Competitor

ahead-of-the-pack-businessmenEvery entrepreneur and business executive knows that continuous innovation is required to survive, but most struggle with this more than any other challenge they face. They know they need to act proactively, but still are often blindsided by a new competitor coming out of the blue with a future they never imagined. Innovation driven by the next crisis is not leadership.

I remember the classic book, “The Three-Box Solution: A Strategy for Leading Innovation,” by Vijay Govindarajan, one of the world’s leading experts on strategy and innovation. He succinctly outlines the key behaviors that I believe every business leader must focus on, to drive innovation without waiting for the next competitive crisis:

  1. Avoid the assumption that current gifts will keep on giving. This is a trap of the past to be avoided at all costs. The best leaders selectively forget the past, and are constantly on the lookout for the future’s raw material of new ideas. They overtly set out to create the future as a mission distinctly separate from their performance engine of today.
  1. Be alert to “weak signals” of non-linear shifts and trends. To do this, leaders must eliminate the noise of obsolete ideas and activities, by creating protective structures, including dedicated teams focused on innovation. They need to regularly listen to a few mavericks and outsiders who routinely generate nonlinear ideas and trends.
  1. Create the future as a day-to-day business process. The future needs to be treated as today by a team and a process that is insulated from interference, but empowered to draw on necessary performance engine resources. The trick is not to sweep everything aside, but to balance relevant aspects of now while making room for what is new.
  1. Sponsor experiments and measure like new investments. Experiments on today’s revenue engine necessarily focus on short-term financial goals. Experiments on future ideas should be measured like investments, and judged on longer-term potential, allowed to iterate, and focused on learning and adapting quickly. Both are always recommended.
  1. Constantly build new skills to be resilient in the face of change. Ensure your firm’s fitness to act on new opportunities, and develop an evolving sense of where the future lies. A business that relies on static skill replacement is falling behind, and ripe for the next competitive crisis. Build a process also for divesting those who have lost their value.
  1. Invest more energy in the “horse you can control.” Most executives admit to spending huge amounts of time and energy on issues they can’t control, including the economy, regulatory changes, and competitor moves. The best leaders spend more time on their own processes, skills, and hard decisions on what to keep and what to divest.

Govindarajan recommends a simple and practical “three box” framework for allocating time, energy, and behaviors in the proper balance to foster continuous innovation. These three boxes include managing the present, escaping the traps of the past, and generating breakthrough ideas. This is the only way to exploit change and let go of old ideas, while still profiting from the present.

He relates actual examples of how major companies, including GE, Hasbro, and IBM, have used this framework and strategy to selectively let go of the past and remake themselves on a regular basis to stay vital and competitive. On the other end of the spectrum, technology startups also really need this mentality, since the rate of change there is rapid, and competition is so intense.

Thus, I believe the approach actually works and applies to leaders at all levels – from a small team startup entrepreneur, to a business unit leader in a larger organization, to the chief executive of a multi-national conglomerate. It allows any leader to actively invent the future, rather than consistently be reacting to it. How much of your time is currently spent in crisis reaction mode?

Marty Zwilling
Startup Professionals Musings

VC of a potential competitor reaching out to us

How to handle an inbound request from VC who invested in a potential competitor? Says, "interesting concept, would like to know more" sorta thing.. Are there any caveats we should be aware of? What level of details should we share? Or am I overthinking???

Additional context: we are at MVP stage, just launched 1st version 10 days back.

Edit: We are first-time founders without a proven track record. AFAIU, VCs who even invest in seed scale look for the founder's background and we may not fit well in their framework. So, I don't think the conversation could lead to a fund-raise at this moment. Again, that's what I think and so may be wrong. Need advice/suggestion on it.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Mobile testing platform Kobiton raises $14M, acquires competitor Mobile Labs

Atlanta-based Kobiton, a mobile testing platform that allows developers and QA teams to test their apps on real devices, both on their own desks and through the company’s cloud-based service, today announced that it has acquired Mobile Labs, another Atlanta-based mobile testing service.

To finance the acquisition of its well-funded competitor, Kobiton raised a $ 14 million extension to its $ 5.2 million Series A from its existing investor BIP Capital and new investor Fulcrum Equity Partners.

As Kobiton CEO Kevin Lee told me, we shouldn’t take that as the acquisition price, but it’s probably a fair guess that the real price isn’t too far off. The companies declined to disclose the exact price, though. Mobile Labs, which was founded in 2011, had raised about $ 15 million before the acquisition, according to Crunchbase. The last time it raised outside funding was in 2014. Kobiton and Mobile Labs do not share any common investors.

Kobiton CEO Kevin Lee. Image: Kobiton

It’s interesting that Kobiton, which launched in 2017 and which may seem like a smaller player at first glance, was able to acquire Mobile Labs. Lee argues that one of the reasons Mobile Labs decided to sell is that while his company has long focused on using machine learning to help developers build the tests for their apps — and the open-source Appium testing framework — Mobile Labs had fallen behind in this area.

“They were a little slow to invest in [AI] and I think they realized — and the rest of the market, I think will realize it — if you don’t invest heavily and early, you kind of get behind the eight ball,” Lee told me.

He also noted that there are a lot of obvious synergies between the two companies. Mobile Labs has a lot of clients in the gaming and financial services space, for example. A lot of those clients are relatively new to mobile, while Kobiton’s existing customer base is often mobile-first.

“They’ve been around for 10 years and [have] a lot of partners, a lot of stuff outside the U.S.,” Lee noted. “They have mainly focused on what I would call large established enterprises in regulated industries or industries that are really concerned about IP protection — so behind the firewalls — where they really succeeded well.”

Those Mobile Labs customers, Lee said, were also looking for AI/ML-based testing solutions and the acquisition will now allow the two companies to layer Kobiton’s technology on top of the Mobile Labs solution. There will be an upgrade path for these customers and they’ll be able to do so at their own pace. There’s no plan to sunset Mobile Labs’ existing services for the time being, though some of Mobile Labs’ individual brands may change names.

With this acquisition, Kobiton will more than double the number of its U.S.-based employees, though that’s in part because a good portion of the company’s team is based in Vietnam.

Startups – TechCrunch

Second-hand fashion consolidation: Lithuanian unicorn Vinted acquires Dutch competitor United Wardrobe

If a business model has to be successful, it has to evolve along the lines of the current market trend and technology. Right now, the fashion industry, a hotbed for innovation, is looking to capitalise on two trends – sustainability and digitalisation, owing to the economic situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Resale market industry on rise

Talking about sustainability, second-hand fashion has been playing an integral role in reducing the massive carbon footprint of the fashion industry. According to the UN, the fashion industry is the second-biggest consumer of water and is responsible for 8-10 percent of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

The second-hand market, especially for clothes, has been on the rise for sometime fuelled by various factors along with the desire to be part of the long-term solution to fashion waste. As per the report, the resale market industry is projected to more than double in size by 2022. 

Acquisition

Dozens of startups have already mushroomed to tap into this billion-dollar opportunity in selling pre-owned branded and designer apparel. Headquartered in Vilnius, Lithuania, Vinted is one of the biggest companies in Europe dedicated to second-hand fashion and is Lithuania’s first unicorn. Recently, the online C2C marketplace acquired United Wardrobe, the largest second-hand fashion platform in the Netherlands. 

Second-hand clothing is the new norm

With the acquisition, both the companies now have a member base of 34 million buyers and sellers across 11 countries in Europe. Together they will continue their mission of making second-hand clothing the new norm – and the fashion industry more sustainable as a result. Following the acquisition, the founders of United Wardrobe will take on leadership positions within Vinted. Besides further growth in the continent, Vinted is also looking outside Europe.

United Wardrobe

Founded in 2014, United Wardrobe is the leading marketplace for buying and selling second-hand fashion in the Netherlands. Sjuul Berden, Thijs Slijkhuis and Thijs Verheul launched United Wardrobe out of university after Berden saw his younger sisters struggle with overflowing wardrobes.

With an investment of €1M led by Peak Capital in 2017, United Wardrobe further established its market in the Netherlands and expanded into Belgium and France. Currently, they serve around 4 million users. 

Vinted

On the other hand, Vinted was founded in 2008 in Lithuania by Milda Mitkute and Justas Janauskas, and joined by first investor and COO Mantas Mikuckas in 2011. Right now, the company serves around 30 million users spanning 12 markets: France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Luxembourg, UK, and the USA. 

Raised €221M funding

To date, Vinted has raised $ 260.3M (approx €221M) from five leading venture capital firms: Lightspeed Venture Partners, Accel, Insight Venture Partners, Burda Principal Investments, and Sprints Capital. The European startup is headquartered in Vilnius, with offices in Berlin and Prague. The company currently has over 500 employees, and is led by its CEO Thomas Plantenga.

Main image credits: United Wardrobe

Startups – Silicon Canals

Competitor Angry Calling Us Shady

I find a post from my competitor a bit insulting I have to admit, in fact I believe this is a clear case of Business Defamation. Yes it's true, based on advice I got I used a marketing tactic to target their customers to see if they would be interested in switching to my service. After doing that, I found it ineffective, and also I believe it was bad advice so we ended that practice after only 1 week of doing it.

I have already contacted several attorneys and will be filing a lawsuit if they don't take the article down. Do you guys have any experience around this type of thing?

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

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