WME has made an undisclosed investment in DWNLD, a mobile platform that enables individuals to create and publish their own apps.
The service, that officially launched this week, is positioned as an affordable option for celebrities and companies to take more control in how they are represented online and connect with their fanbases.
The cost to publishers is $15 per month, as opposed to the $25,000 it can typically cost to create an app. Apps created through DWNLD are customizable with themes and templates and fully monetizable through advertising and affiliate linking, and the company submits finished apps on behalf of the publisher to the Apple App Store for approval.
Celebs and bloggers who already have used DWNLD to launch apps include Molly Sims, Kristin Cavallari, Coco Rocha, xoJane, King Bach, fashiontoast, Thought Catalog, as well as Milk Studios.
Founded by Fritz Lanman and Alexandra Keating in 2012, DWNLD also has secured financing from the Chernin Group, Gordon Crawford, and Michael Arrington’s CrunchFund. It began with $2 million in seed funding.
The investment in DWNLD comes as the average smartphone user downloads three apps per month, according to comScore, with 52% of digital media consumed within mobile apps.
Lanman previously founded mobile recommendations startup Livestar, which was acquired by Pinterest, while Keating, a former Thrillist VP, was behind fundraising platform GoFundraise. Lanman also handled corporate development and strategy at Microsoft. Lanman was also a seed investor in Square and Pinterest.
“As audiences shift from desktop to mobile, we want to make it as easy to create a mobile app as it is to create a website,” Keating said. “More than 1 billion websites exist today but there are only about 1 million apps in both the App Store and Google Play. Many publishers have spent a decade building their Web presence but are struggling to become mobile-first. At DWNLD, we have built a service that will help people transform their content from web to mobile app with one click.”
In addition to DWNLD, WME has invested in ride service app Uber, Humin, Niche, Prizeo and social media management firm TheAudience.
The app created by blog Fashiontoast:
An app created by blog Knstrct: