I exchanged an email with a friend who is trying to get a mobile app business off the ground. I told him that he and his team are attempting to do something that is hard and has gotten a lot harder in the past few years. He replied that he is looking for a way to break through. I encouraged him and wished him well.
This morning I did something I do on a regular basis. I went through the iOS and Android app store free app leaderboards looking for non-game apps that have broken into the top 100 and stayed there for months. I could not find any. It’s possible that I missed something. My technique is not scientific. I just browse and use my memory, which is not exactly a foolproof method. There are better ways to do this but I like to do it this way.
I think launching a consumer focused mobile app and getting sustained traction (>1mm MAUs for six straight months), is almost impossible right now. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done. I am sure there will be exceptions that will prove the rule.
What is a bit surprising to me is how many entrepreneurs, particularly experienced entrepreneurs, are attempting to do it right now and how many investors (angel, seed, VC, etc) are backing teams doing this. It just seems like the odds are stacked against these sorts of businesses right now and that there are other more fruitful places to spend your time and energy.
But hope springs eternal in startup land. That’s a good thing, of course. Optimism should be encouraged. And so I am rooting for everyone trying to get a mobile app off the ground, including my friend.