Android users have Amazon’s Market. iPhone, pod and pad lovers have Apple’s App Store. There’s a Windows App Store expected for Windows 8. On the b-to-b side, Salesforce.com has AppExchange, an open-source database of cloud computing apps, which integrates to Salesforce.com’s CRM software. (In plain English, that means any sales exec using Salesforce.com’s platform can tailor his or her experience with a buffet of apps from Salesforce.com’s AppExchange.)
Now ad execs can do the same thing. Flite, a rich media ad platform focused on display, today launched its own utility source for clients, who will use the apps to build display ads.
With FliteHub, “customers get access to more engaging tools and functionality,” Flite CEO Will Price said. The store launches witha handful of developers already hawking their apps. These includeMovieConnect, a film show-time and ticket-purchasing software that typically took two weeks to integrate into ad campaigns (Fliteintegration is apparently seamless, Dave Bailey, CEO ofMovieConnect’s parent company said.) There’s also Mass Relevance,an in-ad social content curation app, and Aditive, a social coupon app.Flite plans to triple or quadruple the number of applicationsavailable after launching, Price said.
The benefits are not limited to Flite’s advertiser customers. As with Apple, Amazon, for Salesforce.com’s app stores, developers gain access to a whole new set of users. Flite splits revenues from apps purchased 50/50 with developers. “It’s one integration point [with Flite’s platform] and very scalable after that,” Price said. Any developer with an ad-appropriate application and open API can partner with Flite to list in the app store.
It’s not Flite’s first flirtation with the app world. Prior to raising a $12 million Series C round of venture backing in March of this year, the company operated as Widgetbox, an app and widget distribution channel that wasn’t making any money. This year the company pulled an all-too-common startup cliche—a pivot—setting its aim on the advertising side. Since then, Flite has acquired customers like L’Oreal, General Mills, Cisco, Charles Schwab, Paramount Pictures, and Coca-Cola to its customizable, cloud-based platform.
Based in San Francisco, the company has $27 million in total venture backing from Catalyst Partners, Sequoia Capital, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, and NCD Investors.