App developer Crowdaa raises 1.2 million euros and plans to expand in the US

Vigile Hoareau is a musician, cognitive psychologist and computer programmer. Jimmy Thomas is a multi-platinum rap producer who has worked with Tupac and Motown Records. They are the founders together Crowdaa, a French company that allows non-programmers to easily create and publish mobile applications.

The two were launched eight years ago and bonded over their desire to give creatives, especially the growing class of content creators, more control over their platforms. At that time, Hoareau had already launched a prototype of Crowdaa in Réunion, the French island territory from which it originates. «We shared the same vision of what the role and contribution of technology should be for content creators and communities,» he said.

In the beginning, Hoareau and Thomas initially built a product focused on music, but pivoted during the pandemic to be a service for everyone. «Using Crowdaa, professional and entertainment communities can publish their apps to stores in a few clicks,» Hoareau told TechCrunch. «They own the data, the content, the users. They decide how to monetize if so.”

On Thursday, the company announced an improved update with new features, including automating the way users build, deploy and submit their apps to the Apple Store and Google Play. Once the app is ready and a developer account is set up, the app is available on Apple’s Testflight within 20 minutes, Crowdaa said. The goal is to make it easier to build apps, which can help open up new markets.

The company says it sets itself apart from the competition by enabling people to create apps without extensive development tools with vertically integrated solutions. «We’re doing something very specific, but we’re working our way up,» Hoareau said.

The app’s ambitions are also attracting the attention of investors: Crowdaa recently announced a seed round of 1.2 million euros led by Apicap. Sports teams, organizations and political parties use Crowdaa to build their apps and better communicate with consumers, the company says. The power is in the technology behind the platform: full service, easy drag and drop interface and integrated tools to help with legal and compliance requirements.

Hoareau said the fundraising process was quite difficult and talked about how challenging it is to be a founder from Réunion, since mainland investors in France tend to pay little attention to the territories. He and Thomas had to devote time to building relationships and expanding their networks, which they were able to leverage, along with entering accelerators, such as the Nvidia Inception program, that helped the company survive. Other investors in the round include Tremplin Capital and Teampact Venture.

Crowdaa will use the recent fundraising to expand sales and marketing, increase its presence in France and plan to launch in the US, which they hope to do in the next few weeks. It also builds an AI chatbox assistant. The goal is to soon cooperate with filmmakers and music publishers, which would complete the company’s mission.

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