Solver competition to tackle key issues around funding and scaling-up in the EU app economy and dealing with EU-wide market conditions
Eurapp, an EC-funded study of the EU app economy led by Dr John Breslin of NUI Galway, is now inviting solvers globally to generate ideas to solve major challenges facing the EU app economy, with a total prize fund of €9000 and an additional €15000 to facilitate travel of the top ten solvers to a Eurapp event in Berlin this November.
Research shows that over half a million jobs have been created in the growing US mobile and social app ecosystem. Anecdotal evidence suggests the EU is lagging behind, and Eurapp aims to tackle that by modelling and profiling jobs generated by the EU app economy, as well as highlighting potential opportunities for future success and growth.
Eurapp is launching two innovation challenges in parallel during August 2013 to crowdsource solutions to challenges for the app economy in the EU. During the five weeks for each challenge, solvers will have an opportunity to provide ideas on how to overcome various barriers and to trigger the growth of the app economy in the EU. The two challenges will focus on funding and scaling-up app startups, and on improving the capabilities of app startups to deal with EU-wide market conditions. The first challenge has just launched with the second challenge beginning in a week.
Martin Hahn from DG CONNECT said: “The EC has clearly identified that there is a need for action in the field of web entrepreneurship, and for now, we don’t have sufficient evidential data about what is going on in this market. The market is very new, rapid and diverse, so it is necessary that we have clear objectives and clear data.”
“Around about a fifth of the top-grossing apps in iOS and Android come from European publishers, so the majority are from the US,” according to Mark Mulligan, an analyst with GigaOM Research. “So many developers have a really small reach, and there is almost so much choice that it is becoming increasingly hard for consumers to connect with European developers’ apps.”
NUI Galway’s Dr John Breslin, leader of the Eurapp project, said: “In the interviews carried out so far and in our stakeholders workshop, one key challenge that was iterated again and again was funding. The consensus was that it can be more difficult to get the substantial funding required to sustain or grow an internationally-operating app business in the EU, when compared with our counterparts in the US. It may be the less risk-averse mindset in the US, or a lack of know-how in EU companies about how to promote and position one’s app in the market, or other factors.
“Similarly, issues around regulatory and country-specific barriers - e.g. privacy laws, data access, and working in fragmented national markets - have been cited as problems by stakeholders, and gathered into a challenge we have called ‘EU-wide market conditions’. We hope the solvers can come up with some innovative ideas of how to address these challenges”, continued Dr Breslin. “We have chosen InnoCentive as the platform to crowdsource these solutions due to their large community of solvers and previous challenges around the web and data”.
Kevin Mobbs from InnoCentive, the crowdsourcing platform being used for the challenges, said: “We like to think of our approach as challenge-driven innovation, or open innovation. I think ‘open’ is the key word. Anyone can come along and answer questions: end users, the platform providers, the professional developers and the hobbyists.”
The solvers who put forth the top ten innovative solutions will be invited to a Eurapp event in Berlin in mid-November, where they will present their ideas for discussion with 80 stakeholders from the EU app economy.