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Bertrand Schmitt, Founder of App Annie



Bertrand Schmitt is the CEO of App Annie. He is a technology entrepreneur with 14 years of executive experience in the mobile, Internet and analytics space across Europe, US and Asia. Previously, he was VP Mobile for Gomez, which was acquired in 2009 by Compuware for $295 million dollars, and before that he was COO and VP Marketing at Zandan, which was acquired by Keynote Systems. Bertrand has also held a management role at Neocom Multimedia and further, a founder role at Arkadia Netsystems. Bertrand holds an MBA from The Wharton School and a Master in Computer Science from ISEP, France.

Bertrand Schmitt

An experienced and well known tech-entrepreneur who has been covered by the likes of Bloomberg and other prominent media agencies, he speaks to The Asian Entrepreneur today about his latest venture and his thoughts on entrepreneurship.

What exactly is App Annie?
App Annie is the leading provider of app analytics products and is the industry standard when it comes to app market data. Marketers, app developers, brand managers and financial analysts rely on App Annie data to make smarter decisions about their apps and app related business strategies. App Annie data and products are used by over 90 percent of the Top 100 grossing iOS publishers. More than 375,000 apps rely daily on App Annie Analytics to track their downloads, revenues, rankings and reviews daily. App Annie tracks the most downloads and revenues of any app store market data company to date, at over 36 billion downloads and more than US $9 billion in app store revenues.

App Annie currently has three products, Store Stats, Analytics and Intelligence. Store Stats is a free product that tracks the ranking by revenues and downloads for over 4 million apps across six major app stores daily. With over 190,000 registered users, Store Stats tracks rank history, feature history and reviews, and contains detailed background information for each app. 50,000 App Publishers rely on App Annie’s Analytics product, also free, which offers them a unified dashboard for tracking downloads, revenues, reviews and rank history for their own apps across iTunes, Google Play and Amazon, and an ever growing list of ad networks.

Finally, App Annie Intelligence is App Annie’s premium product, which provides download and revenue estimates for apps worldwide by publisher, category and country. Users can access this data through data file, web visualization, API or the BI Tool Tableau. This powerful market data has a variety of uses from competitive intelligence, to business and product strategy, which can all be used to give app publishers, digital executives, marketers and investors the unique insights they need to create winning business strategies. App Annie is a privately held global company of more than 160 employees with offices in San Francisco, Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Moscow, Shanghai, Seoul, and Tokyo. Investors include, Greycroft Partners, IDG Capital Partners, Infinity Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital.

How did the idea for App Annie come about?
App Annie was founded to help app publishers have better access to their own data as well as data around the market, in order to make informed business decisions. We too had been in the same position, developing apps but struggling to make sense of the data available from the stores in a coherent fashion. As we developed tools for ourselves, we realized how useful these tools would be to all developers, not just us and so we decided to release Store Stats and Analytics to the public for free. They were the first free products of their kind on the market and quickly developed cult status within the app developer community, spreading internationally with zero marketing. Founded in 2010, App Annie has grown to become by far the most popular analytics tool in the app publishing space, relied upon by more than 375,000 apps and with nearly 190,000 registered users of the product.

Could you walk us through the process of starting App Annie?
Answered through the above question8. How has it been like managing the business since?We have gone through phenomenal growth and international expansion and I’m very proud of the team and products we’ve built. In the past three years by satisfying users and clients worldwide, we’ve grown to 160 employees, opened 8 offices internationally across 6 countries and raised $22 million in funding. One thing we’ve really done differently is to grow an international business almost from the beginning. Not only did we have multiple offices very early on, our sales have come from a diverse set of countries in our three main regions, APAC, North America and EMEA. Also, we innovated by building a freemium B2B SaaS business model, providing a free service first, which really helped us differentiate from the competition. We’ve done this, all while maintaining a software startup culture that focuses on innovation, quality and customer service.

Bertrand Schmitt 3

Did you find anything particularly difficult during the startup?
Starting an international company from Beijing was not always easy, we needed international people for the business side and Chinese engineers in high demand for the technical side. Our first VC investment from IDG Capital really helped us get visibility and interest from early team members.

Was it hard to build the reception for AppAnnie?
We were very fortunate to have built a product that from day one was designed to solve a real world problem for app publishers for free. That gave us an enormous advantage and we were able to grow our user base rapidly mostly through word of mouth and CEO, becoming a “go to” product in no time. From that strong base, we were able to expand our product offering to include three main product lines. That’s not to mention that our data accuracy from the beginning has been and is second to none, which has placed us right in the epicenter of the booming App Economy. Having access to such valuable data has certainly made our jobs easier.

What is your strategy against your competition?
Being the clear market leader for all our products, there is not much direct competition, but we are always keeping our eye out for the potential competitors just around the corner. Our strategy is to keep innovating while focusing on keeping our customers happy. By providing superior products, and stay ahead of the curve, we are creating a successful long term business.

What can you tell us about the industry?
The mobile apps industry is an extremely high paced environment with innovation occurring constantly. Some of the early global successes were replaced by freemium games with near global appeal (Clash of Clans, Candy Crush, Puzzle & Dragons) at huge scale. In addition, we’ve seen the rise of photo sharing and messaging apps culminating with Instagram, Viber & WhatsApp acquisitions.In the hardware space we’ve seen the rise of increasingly bigger smartphones, as well as the rise of the tablets as PC replacement/companion. Add to that the rise of a huge Chinese smartphone market with completely different dynamics through local Android platforms. With the fierce worldwide competition between iOS, Android & others, it’s shaping up to be a compelling moment in history.

How have you managed to stay relevant in this industry?
App Annie has managed to stay relevant by having the most accurate data available in the market, and by constantly adding new features and products, such as eBooks, ad analytics, etc. Our indexes and market reports, released with the likes of IDC and IHS have become hot commodities, and we’re always keeping an eye on what new data we have that can create even more exciting insights the world can see.

What does the future hold for App Annie?
There are many exciting developments on the horizon, and frankly, we’re announcing new things on almost a monthly basis. We want to provide a platform where app publishers, marketers, brand managers and investors can get useful data for their apps, great market intelligence and extract actionable insights for creating a better business. You may have gathered some of this by some of our most recent announcements around support for eBooks, and very importantly, through our support for advertising networks in our Analytics product. We want to be the go to product when it comes to business KPIs and digital content.

Bertrand Schmitt 2


What do you think about startups in Asia?
For developers especially, Asia represents a huge opportunity. China, Japan and South Korea are all booming markets for games, messaging and other apps and we expect that to continue for quite some time. It helps to be familiar with the local business customs as a startup in Asia. For example, while we are a B2B business, China regulations are very focused on the business-to-consumer (B2C) side, so if you’re working with consumers you need to be more careful. But China also offers the ability to recruit the right people without being prohibitively expensive for starting operations, so entrepreneurs shouldn’t shy away.I chose to start App Annie in China for several reasons, but first and foremost because of the opportunity to find talent, start inexpensively and grow. The market is vast and even with big players there is plenty of room for new technology. Beijing and Shanghai also manage to attract a lot of very talented international people and for an international business like App Annie, that’s very important.

What are some personal principles that guide your company?
Being honest, being aggressive at growing the company, thinking analytically, getting things done, combine different styles/cultures and being design focused. These are all key principles that guide my career.

What is your definition of success?
Having a positive measurable impact on our industry, deliver valuable services to our customers, treating employees well, satisfying shareholders, all while scaling fast and having a good time doing it.

Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
App Annie is not my first startup, I started my first company at age 21. Both times it was a passion for the mobile industry, building new cutting edge B2B products that nobody thought of before, and having the freedom to decide my own directions that drove me to being an entrepreneur.

What do you think are the most important things entrepreneurs should keep in mind?
Success is not usually a straight line, there are bumps in the road and you have to anticipate and deal with them. Make sure your team shares your vision and be very focused as it’s easy to have ideas, but difficult to execute many. Also, don’t grow internationally too late.

In your opinion, what are the keys to entrepreneurial success?
You have to move fast or someone else will be faster. Remember that it’s important to be both tactical and strategic. Bring great people to your team, get investors you can trust, love and breath your industry and enjoy what you do.



Is There A Coworking Space Bubble?



An annual growth rate of nearly 100%, almost five years in a row? More than 60 coworking spaces in a city like Berlin? Are these the characteristics of a bubble? Nope, these are characteristics of a lasting change in our world of work, which has been further catalyzed by the recent economic crises in many countries. But what makes this change different to a bubble? We’ve summarized some arguments of why the coworking movement is based on a sustainable change. However, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy job to open a good working coworking space.

Five reasons why the growth of coworking spaces is based on organic and sustainable growth: 

1. Coworking spaces invest their own money and create real wealth

Already, there is a convincing argument supporting why coworking spaces are not developing in a bubble: the fact that they create real wealth.

Whether referring to the dotcom bubble a decade ago or the real estate crisis in Spain or the United States, the crisis originated in a glut of cheap money, in an environment in which the sender and the recipient were unacquainted. From funds and banks, money flowed in steady streams to investments which offered little resistance and the most promising returns – which only a little while later turned into delusions and ruined investments.

Redistributed risks create illusions. Those people who distributed the money rarely wore the risk of investment decisions. The risk was mainly taken by small shareholders or people who bought parts of those investments. This was because either both parties’ (better) judgement was drowned out by the noise of the market, or because shareholders were unaware of the risk, and were at the mercy of banks and funds for reliable information.

Another fundamental condition for the creation of bubbles are the sheer amounts of money that flow from various locations globally and are concentrated, by comparison, in much fewer places.

Most coworking spaces, however, receive their funding from local or nearby sources and do not operate within this financial system. In fact, the founders mainly inject the bulk of the required investment, and turn to friends or relatives for additional support. They wear the full brunt of the risks that are involved in small-time investment.

They have access to much more information, because it is their own project, rather than a foreign one thousands of miles away. This also includes failures and mistakes that are encountered along the way, but the risk is less redistributed, thereby decreasing the probability of failures.

2. Labor market changes demand on certain office types lastingly

Most users of coworking spaces are self-employed. The proportion of employees is also on the rise, in many cases simply because they work for small companies that increasingly opt to conduct their business in coworking spaces rather than in traditional offices. The industry of almost all coworkers fall within the Internet-based creative industries.

With flexibilisation of work markets, new mobile technologies that are changing work patterns, and the increase of external services purchasing from large and medium-sized enterprises (outsourcing), the labor market has changed radically in many parts of the world.

The long-term financial and emotional security of becoming an employee no longer exists, especially for younger generations of workers. Bigger companies are quicker to fire than hire, and precarious short-term contracts are on the rise. Promising options on the labor market are more often recuded to freelancer careers and starting your own company.

And that’s possible with less money to invest. All you need is a laptop, a brain and a good network. For years, the number of independent workers and small businesses has been growing worldwide – particularly in internet-based creative industries. Anyone who has sufficient specialized skills and the willingness to take risks may adapt more quickly to market conditions if they own a small business or are self employed; more so than if they were to work in a dependent position in an equally volatile market.

Coworking spaces provide an environment in which to do this. Once they have joined a (suitable) coworking space, these factors become apparent to coworkers, who will remain in their space for years to come.

Furthermore, independent workers rarely fire themselves in crises, and even small companies are less likely to give their employees the boot – compared to their large counterparts. This combination enables more sustainable business models – and less business models à la Groupon.

3. Coworking spaces don’t live on crises

Global economic growth is waning while the number of coworking spaces is continually growing. Do coworking spaces thus benefit from this crisis?

The current crises accelerate the formation and growth of coworking spaces, because they offer solutions and space for the resulting problems. Coworking spaces are therefore not a result of a crisis, but the product of change that pre-dates their existence. A crisis is simply the most visible expression of change.

The first coworking spaces emerged in the late 1990s; the movement’s strong growth started six years ago – before the onset of economic downturns in many countries.

4. Coworking spaces depend on the needs of their members

Most coworking spaces are rarely full. Does this mean they are unsuccessful? On average, only half of all desks are occupied. But the average occupancy rate of 50% refers only to a specific date.

In fact, coworking spaces generally serve more members than they can seat at any given time, since members do not use the spaces simultaneously. Coworking spaces are places for independents who want to work on flexible terms. Smaller spaces rely more on permanent members. Larger spaces can respond more flexibilty to the working hours of its members, and, can rent desks several times over.

If a coworking space is always overcrowded or totally empty, the purpose of said space would be defeated. Firstly, it is rather impossible to work in an overcrowded room. Second, it’s impossible to cowork in an empty room. Given the nature of flexible memberships, a coworking space only can survive if they fit the needs of their members. Members would otherwise be quick to leave, and membership would be much more transient.

5. The coworking market is far from saturation

Less than 2% of all self-employed – and even fewer employees – currently work in coworking spaces. Reporting on coworking may increase, but inflated reporting on the coworking movement in the mainstream media is still far away.

Coverage of coworking space are most likely to be found in the career or local sections in larger publications – front cover coverage remains the dream of many space operators. This is because the whole coworking movement can’t be photographed in one picture. What appears to be a disadvantage, however, is actually a beneficial truth: niche coverage allows the industry to grow organically, and avoid over inflation.


Coworking spaces don’t operate in parallel universes – like the financial market. Demand and supply are almost exclusively organic and operate in the real world economy.

For the same reason, there is no guarantee that opening a coworking spaces will be automaticly successful. Anyone who fails to learn how to deal with potential customers in their market, or is unfamiliar with how coworking communities function, will have a difficult time of making one work. In the same way that business people in other industries will fail if they do not understand their market.

Those who simply tack on the word ‘coworking’ to their space’s facade will need to work harder. The structure of most coworking spaces is based on real work, calculated risk, and real-world supply and demand.


About the Author

This article was produced by Deskmag. Deskmag is the magazine about the new type of work and their places, how they look, how they function, how they could be improved and how we work in them. They especially focus on coworking spaces which are home to the new breed of independent workers and small companies. see more.

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Callum Connects

Dextre Teh, Founder of Rebirth Academy



Dextre Teh is a consultant and marketing guru, helping F&B businesses to tighten their operations and grow their businesses.

What’s your story?
I help frustrated F&B business owners stuck in day to day operation transform from a glorified operator into a real business owner. I’m a 27 year old Singaporean second generation restaurant owner and a F&B business consultant. Entering the industry at 13 years old, I have always been obsessed with operations and systemisation. At the age of 25, I joined the insurance industry and earned a six figure yearly income. However, I left the high pay behind because it was not my passion and returned to the F&B industry. Now I help other F&B companies to tighten operations and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services.

What excites you most about your industry?
The food. I’m a big lover of food and even have a YouTube show on food in development. But that aside, it is really about impacting people through food. Creating moments and memories for people, be it a dating couple or families or friends. Providing that refuge from the daily grind of life. So in educating my consulting clients and training their staff to provide a better experience for their customers, I aim to shift the industry in the direction of creating memories instead of just selling food.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore. I love the culture, the food and travelling in Asia.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore hands down. The environment here is built for businesses to thrive. The government is pro business and the infrastructure is built around supporting business growth. Not to mention the numerous amount of grants available in helping people start and even grow business. If I’m not mistaken, the Singaporean government is the only government in the world that offers grants to home grown businesses for overseas expansion.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Learning to do things you do not intend to master is a BIG mistake in business. Focus on what you are good at and pay others to do the rest.

Many business owners including myself are so overwhelmed by the 10,000 things that they feel they need to do everyday. We try to do everything ourselves because we think it saves us money. The only thing that, that does for us is overload our schedules and give us mediocre results. Instead we should focus on what we do best and bring in support for the rest.

Who inspires you?
Christopher M Duncan.

At 29, Chris has built multiple 7 figure businesses. He opened me to the possibility of building a business on the thing that I loved and gave me a blueprint of how to do it. He also showed me that being young doesn’t mean you cannot do great things.

Imran Mohammad and Fazil Musa
They are my mentors and inspire me every single day to pursue my dreams, to focus on celebrating life and enjoying the process of getting to where I want to be.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
Time is always more expensive than money. Money, you can earn over and over again but time, once you spend it, will never come back.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I am a firm believer that your experiences shape who you are. I am grateful for every single moment of my life be it the highs or the lows, the successes and the failures because all these experiences have led me to become the person I am and brought me to the place that I’m at so I will probably do things the same way as everything was perfect in its time.

How do you unwind?
Chilling out in a live music bar with a drink in hand, listening to my favourite live band, 53A. Other than that I’m big on retail therapy, buying cool and geeky stuff.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Bangkok. It feels like a home away from home where the cost of living is relatively low, the food is good and the people are friendly.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Everything you know about business is wrong by Alastair Dryburgh. It is a book that challenges commonly accepted business “truths” and inspires you to go against the grain, think different, take risks and stand your ground in the face of the challenges that will come your way as a business owner.

Shameless plug for your business:
I’m the creator of the world’s first Chilli Crab Challenge. It gained viral celebrity earlier this year with 3 major newspaper features and more than a dozen blog and online publications featuring it in the span of two weeks. In the span of the two weeks, the campaign reached well over a million people in exposure without a single cent spent in ads.

Now I help F&B companies to tighten operations, increase profits and grow their businesses with my consulting and marketing services. Chilli Crab Challenge (

How can people connect with you?
You can connect with me on Facebook ( or visit for more information or book a 10 minute call with me @

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
Download free copies of his books here:

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