Startup Leaders Envision a Fairer & Sustainable Future for App Stores at PhonePe’s Indus Appstore Launch Event
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  • Redefining the Ecosystem: Startup leaders advocate for a transformative shift towards fair monetization and reduced commissions to empower developers.
  • Catalyzing Innovation: Insights from the panel emphasize the critical role of localization, robust data security, and comprehensive developer resources in nurturing India’s digital diversity.
  • Pioneering Change: With its groundbreaking zero commission model and developer-centric approach, PhonePe’s Indus Appstore sets a new standard for inclusivity and equity in the app marketplace.

Bengaluru, March 04, 2024 : At the launch of PhonePe’s Indus Appstore, a compelling panel discussion delved into the critical issue of sustainable business models for app stores. Moderated by Sajith Sivanandan, head of Disney+ Hotstar, the panel brought together insights from prominent Indian startup leaders – Virendra Gupta, Founder of VerSe Innovation; Neeraj Roy, Founder and CEO of Hungama; Harsh Jain, Co-founder and CEO of Dream11; and Murugavel Janakiraman, CEO of BharatMatrimony. Each leader brought to the table their firsthand experiences and challenges faced by startups in navigating the app store dynamics.

The panel deliberated on the sustainable business models for app stores, focusing on the unique challenges and opportunities within the Indian market. The panel also shed light on the path forward for app stores in India, seeking to foster an ecosystem that supports innovation, inclusivity, and growth.

Key Challenges Highlighted by the Panelists:

  • Limited Revenue Streams: The reliance on a small number of dominant app stores often forces startups into accepting unfavorable revenue-sharing models and constrained monetization options.
  • High Commission Fees: The excessive fees charged by dominant app stores were identified as a significant barrier, eating into the already slim profit margins of app developers, particularly those in the early stages of their business.
  • Lack of Discoverability: Apps struggle to compete for visibility and find their audiences within crowded app stores. This hinders growth and innovation, particularly for smaller developers.
  • Opaque Policies and Practices: Lack of transparency regarding app rejections, ranking algorithms, and advertising attribution systems disadvantages startups and creates a sense of uncertainty.
  • Cultural and Linguistic Barriers: Existing app stores often neglect the unique needs and preferences of Indian audiences, hindering the growth of localized solutions.
  • Data Security and User Trust: Ensuring the security of user data and building trust in the ecosystem were underscored as paramount for the success of any app store.

Proposed Solutions for a Sustainable Ecosystem:

To address these challenges, the panelists proposed several solutions aimed at creating a more equitable and thriving app store ecosystem:

  • Diversified Revenue Models: App stores should provide flexible monetization options, including subscriptions, in-app purchases, and tailored advertising solutions to fit various app types. By reducing commission fees and providing alternative monetization models, app stores can encourage more developers to bring their innovations to the market.
  • Focus on Localization: Promoting inclusivity by supporting multiple Indian languages and catering to regional preferences, app stores should offer tools and support for developers to easily localize their apps, ensuring they are accessible and relevant to all segments of the Indian population.
  • Enhancing User Engagement: Developing algorithms and recommendation systems that prioritize user preferences and deliver personalized content can significantly improve user engagement and retention rates.
  • Strengthening Data Security: Implementing robust data protection measures and transparent policies will help build user trust and confidence in the app store ecosystem.
  • Empowering Developers with Tools & Support: Providing developers with  resources, mentorship and more control over their apps and fostering an environment of collaboration and support can drive innovation and growth.

Sameer Nigam, Founder and CEO, PhonePe, emphasized the company’s commitment to addressing these challenges through the Indus Appstore. He stated, “We are committed to offering a level playing field for all developers. The Indus Appstore will not mandate the use of any specific payment gateway, allowing developers the freedom to choose any service they prefer. With this approach we aim to democratize the app ecosystem by offering an alternative that prioritizes the needs of Indian developers and users.

Sameer further elaborated on the platform’s revenue model, which will focus on advertising and cataloging services, reinforcing the app store’s role as a discovery platform aimed at giving every developer a fair chance to succeed.

Indus Appstore promises to be a game-changer by providing a viable alternative to the existing app distribution models.Its zero commission policy for in-app purchases, signifies a pivotal shift in supporting developers, starkly differentiating it from existing app stores. Its rapid growth, highlighted by the onboard of 200K popular apps and achieving 300K downloads in merely 10 days, reflects its commitment to innovation and developer-friendly practices. This rapid adoption illustrates a clear market demand for a more equitable and autonomous app distribution ecosystem.

About Indus Appstore:

Indus Appstore is a native Android-based mobile app store, designed to fulfill the localized and cultural needs of Indian consumers. With an extensive array of categories it seeks to provide users a localized, contextual and a personalized experience. Indus Appstore is available in English and 12 Indian languages, which allows users to explore the app store in their preferred language.

For developers, Indus Appstore provides a fair and level playing field to list, distribute & promote their products in the Indian app ecosystem. It provides a self-publishing platform, localization services, multiple tools to monitor and grow their apps along with a dedicated 24×7 customer support.

For more details: [email protected]