Applits Allows Socially Driven App Creation

Developing an app takes a lot of time and money, not to mention some highly technical expertise. But if you’ve ever had a great idea for an app, the Applits platform might be able to help you turn it into a reality. Developed by two Ohio State students, the site promotes socially driven app creation, involving community feedback every step of the way.

“We wanted to increase the accessibility of the mobile application industry to the everyday person,” Co-Founder Keith Shields says.

There are three ways a user can get involved with Applits. First and foremost, users submit app ideas to the site, providing a platform for someone who doesn’t have the time or budget to create the app themselves to get their ideas out there. Next, anyone in the world can browse the proposed app ideas, vote on their favorites and make comments or suggestions. For the last week of each month, the top 24 apps are voted on to determine one winner. That winner is the next app to go into development.

applits-ssOnce an app wins, it moves on to the development stage. Continuing to involve the community at every step of the process, users submit feedback as the app passes through the phases of development. They can help refine the idea, suggest features or functionality they would like to see and make suggestions for additions. Each suggestion is then up for comments and a vote.

Applits creates a point system to help users earn revenue. The more they participate in the development process, the more points they earn. Points equal a percentage of the revenue of an app, meaning that users could be earning revenue from several apps.

The platform creates built-in market research, giving developers feedback before they get too far into the process. Users help to continually improve the app along the way, giving them a stake in the product, and hopefully the desire to help market it.

“It’s all community driven,” Shields says.

Applits has nine live apps and another dozen in development. The finished products show the range of ideas that Applit’s community creates. BetterHalf helps married couples plan dates, while SwitchABrew makes party pics more amusing by subbing beers with other items. Applits also has games in the works. Development time depends on the type of app, but Shields says it should take four to six months.

Shields and Co-Founder, Josh Tucker, have a different background than one might expect for heads of an app development company. Both are mechanical engineering students at Ohio State. While they didn’t know how to make one, the duo saw how much they used apps in their everyday lives – and how much apps like Instagram were selling for – and knew it was a growing industry.

“We didn’t know anything about apps. It’s kind of cool being able to say we got into an industry that we really knew nothing about,” Shields says.

What they did know is they wanted to make the process more accessible.

“Development companies that make their own apps are so focused on putting their ideas in the app,” Shields says. Instead, Applits opens up that process to the community. Now developers don’t have to guess at what a user wants to see, they already have direct feedback.

The community has taken notice of the socially-driven app. Applits just won’s Coolest College Startup of 2014. The app was voted to the top – something with which Applits is familiar – to take the title.

“Inc readers were interested as well since it’s such a unique concept,” Shields says.

While Shields and Tucker know the plans they have laid are ambitious, excitement is growing.

“Reception has been great. People love the opportunity to see their ideas come to life,” Shields says. He hopes the platform empowers people to believe in their ideas.

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