One of the most exciting things about the mobile app revolution is that it has unleashed a huge amount of creative ferment. When you first bought your iPhone you probably remember running into friends when you come across a problem or an issue and they would say, “There’s an app for that!” There is that certain can-do attitude permeating mobile apps. Regardless of the needs there’s probably an app for that. That is what makes the startup venture capital ferment around mobile apps so exciting. It is also what makes it so frustrating because the whole “There’s an app for that!” mentality focus has always turned into micro niches instead of talking about actual commercial problems that apps can solve on a sustainable commercial basis. We’re talking about smaller and smaller practical problems and commercial applications that might not have a huge market in the real world.
One of the challenges faced by many app-based startups is that they have to bridge the gap between “Gee! That would be an awesome idea! Let’s make an app for that! “ to “Wow! This is something really practical. We can actually make a living off of it.” Those two statements have a wide gulf separating them and many mobile startups are finding this out the hard way.One interesting example of this is the fashion segment of mobile apps. There are many fashion apps out there that try to help people make buying decisions, and help people find the best prices when they’re looking for certain types of fashion merchandise. These apps inevitably are running into a problem in terms of making money plugging into a large database and also problems in between these points. That is why it’s kind of heartening to see that the fashion app Snapette has been acquired by PriceGrabber, the large price comparison shopping engine. This is good news because this is a former validation for Snapette’s strategy. Originally, Snapette was aiming to talk to PriceGrabber to bring its transactions into the Snapette app. Snapette was originally intended to draw shoppers into stores that’s why it started partnering with retailers and brands. It was originally conceptualized as a mobile marketing platform that draws people in their wallets into stores. Interesting enough, during its talks with PriceGrabber in terms of bringing transactions to its app, the talk started morphing into acquisition talks. PriceGrabber is a web 1.0 company and it’s obviously seen the value of acquiring Snapette for its mobile expertise.
If executed right, this might turn out to be a validation of the fashion app segment of the larger app market. Other startups in this niche are doing so hot. For example, Pose, the other fashion app is focused on building and advertising platform that focuses on fashion merchandise. Another property,Go TryItOn, wasn’t so lucky. It went belly up. Another player in this market, Fashism,hasn’t raised any money in over three years. It’s kind of a mixed bag and sometimes acquisition is a form of a validation. We’d like to think it is but they actually open the door to a great partnership of strengths because PriceGrabber is no slouch when it comes to price comparison and Snapette does have a fashion mobile app expertise. It’s very interesting to see how this acquisition pans out in the showtime future.