Focus On: Trendy Startups Published in Mobile App Stores

By / Aug 29, 2012 / Tips

The startup scene has been changing tremendously in a few short years with a heavy influence on mobile devices. The iOS App Store combined with Google Play brings about a large sense of innovation. Mobile app developers are constantly jumping from one trend to the next when building their ideas. And in today’s world it only takes one good idea to find yourself well ahead of the curve.

In this article I’d like to look into some growing startups which can be found in mobile app stores. Obviously the iPhone and iPad are some of the more popular devices. But developers understand that market shares are critical and you need to support everyone. I believe this is just the beginning of a new mobile software revolution within the industry of tech startups.

The Mobile Checkin Service

By now I’m sure everybody has heard of Foursquare and their quick rise to fame. Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai originally launched Foursquare in 2009 as an iOS-only application. You can check into locations that you visit and earn points, badges, and extra goodies for your profile.

Foursquare iPhone iPad mobile app splash screen

Their service took off so fast because it was easy enough to signup and immediately start building a profile. The use of game mechanics pushes a mentality where you want to keep using their app and rising on the leaderboard. It’s such a brilliant idea, and even now 3 years later their service has grown very quickly.

What I especially like about the Foursquare team is their commitment to quality branding. Not long after building the web interface Foursquare released mobile apps for Android, Blackberry, and Windows Mobile Phone. This covers a vast market share way more than any other check-in service. And the developers are still pushing new version updates every few weeks or months as needed.

Local Sale Auctions

The recent mobile app Ketup was launched in 2012 and has already captured plenty of attention. Their service allows users to register through Facebook and start selling items around their local area. This works almost like Craigslist except only for custom goods – handmade objects, vintage artwork, old technology, etc.

Ketup iOS Splash Screen

With their launch still so new I’m excited to follow this startup and see where they’re heading in a few years. The limitation of signing up through Facebook is annoying because there are plenty of people who don’t use that anymore. But it’s an easy concept to scale out for custom user registration as well.

Ketup red user interface texture for iPhone

Also Ketup is only available on the iOS App Store as of writing this article. The team is following a test-and-release methodology pushing new updates as required and testing the waters. I can really agree with this system of pushing new software, and it’s a good reason to keep the userbase smaller than other startups.

Newer Video Game Checkins

Similar to Foursquare I recently found a check-in application devoted to video game fans. ImGame was released in 2011 founded by two members helping with coding and interface design. Whenever you’re playing a certain game you can check in to update your friends and earn points+badges on your profile. The interface design is gorgeous and matches their website layout perfectly.

ImGame for iPhone, iPad iOS app user interface

They’ve been featured in the App Store and have been updating their backend to support a larger userbase. The idea is practical for the massive collection of gamers to be found all around the world. But it’s also still so new, it’ll be tough to see where this application goes in the future. But I think with a dedicated team behind the idea it could eventually turn a profit and live as a smaller mobile app startup.

ImGame iTunes iOS App Store design

What interests me about ImGame is how they’ve taken a similar idea from Foursquare/Gowalla and tweaked it towards a completely different audience. With Foursquare you’re checking into venues as you travel around to other locations. But ImGame can be used when just hanging around the house. It has more of a connection to gamers who are interested in the latest mobile technology.

Photo Filters Around the World

When people talk about popular mobile startups I almost immediately think of Instagram. Their small team has scaled that application worldwide to hundreds of millions of users. And now with their selling to Facebook it has increased tenfold in such a short amount of time.

The reason I think Instagram has worked so well is that they offered a unique user interface in combination with mobile phone technology. Android and iOS devices all have built-in cameras. Some with a much better resolution than others, but it gives people a chance to snap photos and share them from anywhere in the world!

Instagram iPhone iOS App user interface

Instagram is truly one revolutionary startup which, in my opinion, is already out of the startup phase. And they provide an excellent example of how any startup would ultimately follow a path of monetizing through ads or selling to a larger company. The concept is so simple, yet all the work on Instagram poured out over the years has finally paid off.

I would argue that judging a startup based on its success requires various metrics. These could include how many users are in the network and how many of them are active any given day. Instagram would still rank way higher above other startups for the incredible amount of traffic pushed through the mobile & website interface.

When you create a mobile startup which has scaled to users in South America, Europe, Japan, and all across the globe – then you know you’ve hit a certain plateau of success.

Final Thoughts

I hope these startup examples can offer an idea of how you could grow a business idea for any mobile platform. Even modern web developers working with HTML5/CSS3 can build mobile web apps which scale to an enormous volume. All it requires is dedication and plenty of man-hours logged coding in front of the computer, along with a good marketing strategy.

If you have the spare time check out a few of these examples found in the iOS App Store and see how they stack up with any Android counterparts. You may be surprised to find out most of these applications are only 3-4 years old at most. Developers who know a good idea aren’t afraid to push marketing and really grow their concepts towards a huge populace. If you’ve got questions or similar ideas on mobile startups feel free to share with us in the post discussion area below.

About the Author

Jake Rocheleau is a creative writer and UI designer. You can follow him on twitter @jakerocheleau or visit his personal website at


  1. Design Turnpike
    August 30, 2012

    Thanks for the article, I will have to explore selling my artwork on Ketup.

  2. Nick Shebanov
    August 30, 2012

    Unfortunately, Ketup is unavailable in Russian Appstore (if could it be so).


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