His work on Weather Dial was more personal than commercial: My goal was to create something that I would be proud to carry around on my phone, Elgena said, and I was just hoping other people would feel the same way.
Plenty did. Elgena said revenue from Weather Dial, after subtracting the 30 percent share that Apple withholds, has totaled about $40,000.
Success in the mobile app world is often fleeting, though. Weather Dial quickly spawned several competitive imitators. Elgena said without elaboration that he is designing different types of iPhone software.
The app economy attracts multiple types of entrepreneurs, not just computer programmers who can write code. In fact, more than a few software-based businesses have chief executive officers and other top managers in South Florida and technical staff outside the state.
Consider the career path of Kristen McLean, an entrepreneur who has employed the technical talents of others to develop a business built on software. She is co-founder and CEO of Bookigee, a three-year-old company developing software services to help authors sell books. Before the startup of Bookigee, which she calls a software-as-a-service company, she ran a trade association for bookstore owners. She is one of six Bookigee employees, including a two-person technical team in San Francisco.
She and a partner personally invested $40,000 to start Bookigee in 2010, and In 2011, the company raised $450,000 of capital from wealthy individual investors, known in investment circles as angels, in exchange for 20 percent of the company. Another pivotal development in 2011 was McLeans decision to enter an accelerator program in downtown Miami called Incubate Miami, opened in 2009 by Enterprise Development Corp., a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting South Florida entrepreneurs.
That was the key for us, McLean said. Her training there led her to refocus Bookigee on serving the needs of authors rather than trying to compete in the mass consumer market for books. Whether authors self-publish or work with book publishing companies, theyre all having to take on a much larger percentage of their own marketing, she said, so were building tools to help them, a mapping tool, for example, designed to identify U.S. metropolitan areas where certain types of books sell best.
Bookigee also is trying to take advantage of the mobility movement in book publishing industry. McLean said in a recent email that Bookigee is working with a Chicago-based app developer and building an analytics program for his e-bookstore and reading application, and we will be bundling both products for sale into the publisher level of the market.
McLean said funds for further research and development would come from another private sale of stock in Bookigee: We are working on a $1 million round.
Privately owned software companies raised $2.3 billion of venture capital in the first quarter, more than any other industry and 8 percent more than in last years fourth quarter, according to a U.S. survey by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. PwC also said in an April 19 report that the software industry attracted 63 percent of first-round venture capital funding during the first quarter.
Investor interest in software-oriented ventures has fueled the startup of companies that try to guide entrepreneurs from business concept to commercial success. One such company, New Frontier Nomads in Miami, combines the technical guidance of an incubator facility with the financial support of a venture capital fund.