Our tech-start up to watch this week is Appuchino, a new mobile development company that has created a colouring and drawing iPad app for kids called Colorific.
Alexey Rashevskiy is behind Appuchino, which he set up in August of this year. He is currently on the New Frontiers entrepreneur development programme that’s run at DIT Hothouse.
"I set up Appuchino right after I moved to Ireland for the second time in August 2012. It’s a mobile development company with a very strong focus on design," explains Rashevskiy, who had already worked in Ireland between 2008 and 2010 as a software engineer.
"Earlier this year we decided to move back to Ireland, as my wife and I really loved and missed the country. So I quit my job and moved here to start my own mobile business," he says.
To create his first app, Colorific, Rashevskiy worked with designers, while he says he put a lot of work into prototyping the user interface.
Colorific first hit the Apple AppStore in August 2011, but Rashevskiy released a major update of the app last month.
"It is almost a new product, but I decided to provide it as a free update for my current users," he explains.
The iPad app, which retails at €2.69, has been designed for kids and has up to 60 colouring pages.
"Colorific also has a blank page to draw on, so that we don’t limit kids with just colouring pages and allow them to be as creative as they want."
Rashevskiy says the app is innovative in that it features a selection of tools, such as pencils and markers of different sizes and paint buckets. Music tracks are also built into the app.
As for its design, he says the team has done a lot of work on the app’s user interface. "After receiving feedback from our beta testers we changed it multiple times and I’m really proud of our final result."
Rashevskiy is also planning to give the app a Christmas update to offer Christmas-themed colouring pages on Colorific.
He says the app is doing well on the AppStore and is currently ranked No 14 in the Entertainment category in Russia.
In April, Rashevskiy also decided to make the app free for two days to mark World Autism Awareness Day, as he says the app had been highly rated by parents of autistic children.
"I wanted to give parents of kids with autism a chance to install the app at no charge. The result was quite overwhelming. Within a few days Colorific reached No 7 in Free Entertainment and No 58 in the Free Overall categories in the US."
Right now, he is also looking at other opportunities in the educational and kids’ entertainment markets.
"I’m planning to release a few special editions of Colorific with famous Irish and UK characters, which is something I’m looking to partner with local publishers on.
"We’re currently also evaluating the interactive kids’ books market. So, there are plenty of opportunities out there," says Rashevskiy.
He says he has been on the New Frontiers programme for five weeks now.
"We have evening classes on Fridays and day classes on Saturdays. These classes are providing a great deal of new information and support for start-ups and people taking the course are very enthusiastic, which is motivating."
He is also availing of the office space that DIT Hothouse provides. "It is extremely helpful for me, as I prefer not to work from home. I think this is a great programme, I’d certainly recommend it for start-ups looking for support.
"It is really hard to imagine more open and helpful environment."