Olsen, ex-Zynga exec, buys Applr

Grant Olsen, Zynga’s former Director of Mergers and Acquisitions, has acquired Applr. Financial terms weren’t announced. San Diego-based Applr is an app discovery social network for mobile apps.


SAN DIEGO, CA  Feb. 22, 2016 — Applr, an app discovery social network for mobile apps, has been acquired by Zynga’s former Director of Mergers and Acquisitions, Grant Olsen. The acquisition will accelerate Applr’s mission to solve the challenges of app discovery by surfacing the right app to a user based on that user’s social network.


With an ever expanding ecosystem of apps, the launching of new app stores for watches, TVs, and cars, across both the Android and iOS platforms, there is no shortage of challenges to discover new apps.


Today, the primary way people find which apps their friends use it to ask them or to share a screenshot of their iPhone. Apple tried Ping, and failed.  Facebook tried its own app store, without much success. Apple’s “Top Charts” shows the top 100 downloaded apps out of 1.5 million available.  App review sites and influencers’ “top 10 lists” are still not tailored to a specific user and only help promote apps that have the broadest appeal, and not necessarily the best app for the user.


“When searching for apps to download, I want to know what apps my friends, and other people I admire, recommend, instead of just hoping that I have the same views as a random app store reviewer.  While looking for companies to acquire at Zynga, I saw incredible apps that never got traction because they couldn’t organically break onto the 150 most downloaded chart and get discovered. Applr solves both these well known problems,” shared Grant Olsen, Founder, Applr.


The search functionality in the iOS App Store is broken and lacks context given its one-size-fits-all nature. Applr solves this search challenge by allowing users to search for only those apps that have been recommended by people they know and trust.


In addition to the benefits for users, Applr allows app developers to get discovered by surfacing apps that are relevant to individuals and not just focusing on the top most downloaded charts. With Applr, a good app can find traction within a group of friends or the followers of an influential thought leader or content creators.

Features Include:


  • Syncs with iOS app store and pulls in all the user’s downloaded apps to make it easy to rate and review apps
  • Gmail integration to easily invite friends
  • Social Integration with Twitter and Facebook
  • Ability to create and highlight a top 10 app list
  • Contextual search filtering, which includes searching comments
  • HTML5 interface for responsive design on mobile and PCs
  • Ask questions about an app before downloading or buying (e.g., ask someone who has recommended an app why they recommend it over another one).


Benefits Include:


  • Users can discover new apps via automatic email notifications when someone they follow recommends a new app
  • App developers can get direct feedback from users
  • Discover which apps are used by the most productive people you trust (e.g., Use the same apps as the most successful people you know)
  • Find new apps for entertainment (e.g., find games for your kids that your friends recommend)
  • Celebrities, content creators, entrepreneurs, and businesses can build deeper relationships with their audience or customers by sharing their top 10 list and all their downloaded apps
  • Real time info on which apps your friends recommend


Applr is free web app and currently available for iOS apps at getApplr.com.


About Applr

Founded in 2012, Applr is a web app that allows friends to discover, share and recommend iOS apps easily with like-minded people they trust and share similar interests.  Applr was acquired by Grant Olsen, a former Zynga M&A Director with over 20 years of venture capital, corporate development, and entrepreneurial experience. Grant is an entrepreneur, M&A exec, and angel investor with a MBA, from UC Berkeley and BS, from USC who founded and sold his first tech company at the age of 24.