Nokia pumps $500K to beef up apps ecosystem for its Windows phones
Summary: The phonemaker is funding and nurturing 20 Indian startups under its "Appcelerate India" program. There is only one string attached: the app is exclusively sold via the Windows Phone store for the first 90 days.
BANGALORE, India--Nokia will spend US$500,000 to buy the exclusive distribution rights to 20 locally developed apps.
At a press conference last Friday, Nokia handed over a cheque for half a million dollars to Finnish startup accelerator AppCampus and the local chapter of the Harvard Business School Alumni Angels (HBSAA).
Using Nokia's capital, AppCampus and HBSAA India will administer the "Appcelerate India" program, which will award US$25,000 each, as well as training and education, to 20 successful applicants.
The funding has one string attached. Participants must guarantee that for the first 90 days of the app's life, it will be exclusively sold via the Windows Phone store.
Nokia India director for developer experience, Gerard Rego, said the US$500,000 program builds an app supply chain connecting Nokia's developers and Indian consumers--who download 80 million apps every month from the local app store.
"The developer sees the production cycle take-off when their app is discovered on an app store. There are hundreds of thousands of apps out there, and developers are wondering how they can reach consumers. It's extremely hard today. If we can drive that then we can drive value for developers and consumers," Rego said during the press conference here.
Once the 90-day embargo has expired, developers are free to launch on other platforms.
This expansion will be encouraged by HBSAA co-founder Ravi Gururaj. He expects the accelerator makeover to transform inexperienced Indian coders, who struggle to fill out a balance sheet, into mature investment prospects.
Mobile app developers can apply directly to the program. They will join the best ideas from Nokia's TV show, "Your wish is my app".
Eleven months ago, Nokia and Microsoft gave 18 million euros to AppCampus, based at Finland's Aalto University. AppCampus CEO Pekka Sivonen oversees the distribution of these funds to 700 companies over three years. The program has already sponsored 150 companies. While there have been over 100 Indian applicants, noen have been successful so far, he said.