Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

The AppFund Wants to Make iPad Developers a Deal. Should They Take It?

It’s a pretty standard chain of events: New platform opens up, investors try to attach themselves to developers who want to exploit it.

So here come the folks who want to invest in iPad apps. Last week, a U.K. group announced a very small fund to promote iPad apps in that country. Today, we hear from AppFund, which says it has a “multi-million” kitty that will allow it to invest any amount between $5,000 and $500,000 in new iPad apps.

The two obvious questions here are:

  • How does this differ from any of the iPhone app funds we’ve already heard about, specifically Kleiner Perkins’s $100 million iFund? After all, one of Apple’s (AAPL) key selling points for the iPad is that all existing iPhone apps will work on it from Day 1.
  • If you really only need $5,000 or so to help you build your app, does it really make sense to give up equity to get it?

Daniel Klaus, who is launching the AppFund with Kevin Wendle (bios here), says his venture differs from iFund in that it has a smaller scope–the iFund’s minimum investment starts at $100,000–and that his group is willing to buy pieces of individual apps instead of their parent companies.

As to the economics? Hard to tell, since the AppFund guys aren’t providing any transparency into their offer to developers (as opposed to groups like Y Combinator, which offer entrepreneurs a fairly boilerplate deal).

In any case, if you’re interested, here’s what the AppFund guys are looking for in an app:

  • Target early adopters and urban dwellers
  • Target users 16-39 with higher incomes
  • Incorporate video, audio, interactivity, and other capabilities unique to the iPad
  • Have a long shelf life
  • Have the potential to become “hits”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work