App Academy Print

1. Created by
 Ryan Gialames February 15, 2012
 2. Created by
 Ryan Gialames February 15, 2012
 3. The mobile application industry is experiencing explosive…
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  • 1. Created by
 Ryan Gialames February 15, 2012

  • 2. Created by
 Ryan Gialames February 15, 2012

  • 3. The mobile application industry is experiencing explosive growth, with over 10 billion apps downloaded to over 500 million devices powered by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android mobile operating systems alone. The mobile entertainment industry is expected to be worth over $54 billion by 2015. Economics researcher Dr. Michael Mandel stated that the app economy is responsible for creating 466,000 jobs in the United States, up from zero in 2007. The Internet is full of overnight success stories of independent app producers, in addition to the astonishing revenue generated by the larger firms. Where will individuals turn to learn the skills necessary to become part of this rapidly growing sector? Today the app work force is a cobbled patchwork of people from various backgrounds in computer science, design, and marketing, transferring their existing knowledge into this exciting sector. Traditional institutions such as Stanford, Carnegie Mellon, and MIT teach courses in mobile development; however, these courses are few in number and are part of computer science degrees that require vast mathematical and engineering skills, and these institutions are very selective in their enrollment. Some art schools, particularly in the for-profit sector, have begun to offer mobile design courses as part of their game art and design offerings. These programs focus primarily on design, and although admission requirements are low, costs are high. KEY POINTS • 10 billion apps have been downloaded to over 500 million Apple & Google powered devices. • The mobile entertainment industry is expected to be worth over $54 billion by 2015. • The app economy is responsible for having created 466,000 jobs since 2007. • Existing HiED programs are not well rounded and teach only specific aspects of app creation. • 1 million users have signed up for startup tech education sites. • 500,000 individuals have downloaded mobile game authoring software. • App Academy expects to enroll 5000-15000 users in its first year with revenue projected at $6-$36 million. Executive Summary 2
  • 4. App Academy is uniquely positioned to meet the growing demands of the app economy, by providing an entirely new way to learn to design, develop and market a mobile application. Using an innovative game-based learning platform, students move at their own pace through a subscription model that makes learning flexible and affordable. With robust networking opportunities, a social community and supportive staff students get the real-world skills needed to get their work in the mobile app marketplace. The public has shown great interest in alternative education delivery systems recently. Over 1 million users have registered to learn development skills on startup sites such as Codeacademy. Mayor Bloomberg was in the press this past new years stating that one of his resolutions for 2012 was to learn to code at Codeacademy. This rise of the startup developer education sites shows a desire by the general public to learn new tech skills in exciting new ways. However, none of the new edu startups have staked their territory on mobile, instead focusing on web programming skills such as Ruby on Rails and Java-scripting. One sector that has focused its attention on mobile app development is the mobile game authoring ecosystems. Gamesalad, for example, provides those with no programming ability the option of creating a mobile game by skinning existing game themes with new creative. These types of tools have been downloaded over 500,000 times by people of varied backgrounds. However, these sites provide little in the way of educating the users on what makes great games, let alone how to market them, and developers often find the themes rigid without much opportunity to expand beyond the basic game types. App Academy appeals to everyone who has ever dreamed of making a mobile application and it’s well rounded curriculum ensures all students knowledge in all facets of design, development, product management, and marketing. App Academy has the ability to establish a leadership position in this growing market seizing 1-3% of the estimated 500,000 people who have actively pursued creating a mobile application in it’s first year, resulting in 5000-15000 student subscribers and generating revenue of between $6-$36 million based on a monthly subscription price range of $100-$200. 3
  • 5. What is App Academy? App Academy is an entirely new way to learn to design, develop and market a mobile application. By using an innovative game-based learning platform, students move at their own pace through a subscription model that makes learning flexible and affordable. With robust networking opportunities, a social community and supportive staff, students can learn the real-world skills needed to succeed in the mobile app marketplace. Making app creation dreams a reality is what App Academy is all about. Unlike other educational programs that might only teach one aspect of app creation, App Academy focuses on the entire life cycle, from planning, to design, to development, to marketing and deployment in the various app markets. They provide this education through their well rounded, industry focused curriculum. KEY POINTS • Subscription Model • Self Paced • Game-based Learning • Socially Enabled • Faculty & Advisor Supported • Flexible • Affordable App Academy Overview 4
  • 6. Curriculum Typically when we think of curriculum we think of a series of courses, but not at App Academy. Here students complete self- paced, self-directed competency levels. Each level provides a combination of interactive learning materials and challenges; the student must complete each level before moving on to the next. There are two types of competency levels, core competencies and elective competencies. All students must complete the core competency levels in order to ensure well-rounded exposure to all aspects of app creation, while the elective competencies allow students to specialize and expand their skills. Many of the competency levels are divided into 3 tracks, representing the various roles in app creation: the designer, the producer, and the developer. The designer track covers everything from the fundamentals of design to advanced usability techniques. The producer track focuses on the business side of app creation, exploring marketing, finance, and project management. Finally, the developer track features many courses in specific coding languages and game engines, as well quality testing and deployment. App Academy’s inaugural program offering will focus on mobile game creation, as it has the broadest appeal. Additional levels will be added constantly to expand beyond games into other app genres such as productivity, business, travel, and education. By paying close attention to market needs and student feedback. App Academy will grow its curriculum levels to ensure its relevancy and keep students coming back for more. 5 Curriculum Grid - all students complete the core levels along the top across all three tracks before moving to the specialized levels within each track below. Curriculum Gallery
  • 7. Learning Delivery The way in which App Academy delivers its curriculum is what truly changes the game. Gone are the days when online learning was simply text under glass; students are presented learning materials through highly interactive media pieces and are challenged with quizzes, simulations, and game play. The entire learning platform is wrapped in a game layer; students compete against one another for high scores while achieving badges and unlocking items when completing each level. The badges represent the skills the students have acquired. App Academy’s public website maintains a listing of all badges and the learning objectives for each. This, combined with the student’s profile, provides both the student and the public a record of what skills the student has acquired. At App Academy, grades become scores, classes become levels, and the honor roll is a leader-board. Expert Faculty & Supportive Staff Although the learning is self-paced and self-directed the students are never alone. On the first day, the student is assigned an App Advisor who helps determine what the student’s specific goals are in order to guide them on a path to success. Since the curriculum structure is flexible, students can dive into the core courses that interest them the most first and move onto the additional offerings later. Each competency level has a social group assigned to it, allowing students to interact with other students currently working through the same level, as well as seek help, guidance, and critiques from App Academy’s expert faculty. 6 Overall Score Level Completion Achievement Item Interactive Media Explore the Classroom 1 2 3 4 Examples of badges students earn upon completing competency levels.
  • 8. Community In addition to the game layer that powers the learning platform, the entire school is built upon a social network. Students each have a profile that acts as their personal hub, where they can interact and connect with fellow classmates and faculty. Students also have a customizable avatar that allows them to add items that they have unlocked in the competency levels and achieved through community events. School events and promotions help supplement learning and can help facilitate students’ ability to network with one another to collaborate on their app creations. This community of app creation enthusiasts, combined with the additional social offerings, is a primary component of what makes the App Academy experience so appealing. Publishing App Academy also serves as a publishing company. It maintains its own stable of apps in the various app stores, which act as both marketing tools for the school and as working examples used in the curriculum to teach students. App Academy partners with well known brands to bring their marketing message to life through mobile applications. The school uses these partnerships to provide students valuable learning opportunities through collaborative work sessions and design challenges. Finally, students can choose to opt into a publishing agreement with App Academy to help complete and promote their own apps. App Academy’s well known stature in the industry combined with its own design and development assets make it a logical choice for students to partner with if they so choose. Of course, no student is required to enter a publishing agreement with App Academy and can always self publish their work. 7
  • 9. Marketplace Though App Academy’s core curriculum ensures that each student is exposed to all facets of app creation it is expected that students will gravitate towards their strengths and passions. As a service to the students, App Academy also provides a marketplace for students to buy and sell their design work and development themes. The marketplace also offers a skill and job posting board so that students can quickly find additional talent to help bring their dreams to reality. 8
  • 10. In order to explore the potential market for App Academy we examined four key areas: the overall growth of the mobile market at large, job creation as a result of the mobile market’s expansion, the rise of startup developer education sites, and the use of mobile game authoring tools. This analysis all points to the growing interest in mobile platforms and the software that runs on them. KEY POINTS • 10 billion apps have been downloaded to over 500 million Apple & Google powered devices. • The mobile entertainment industry is expected to be worth over $54 billion by 2015. • The app economy is responsible for having created 466,000 jobs since 2007. • 1 million users have signed up for startup developer education sites. • 500,000 individuals have downloaded mobile game authoring software. Market Analysis 9
  • 11. Mobile Industry Growth The growth of the mobile industry since Apple’s introduction of the iPhone in 2007 is astonishing. Apple has shipped over 315 million iOS devices, with Android fast closing in at 250 million units. These sales figures have catapulted Apple to record breaking revenue quarter after quarter. App creators are also cashing in from the enormous growth of mobile, in 2010 developers $87 million in ad revenue alone and that is expected to grow 10 fold by 2015. The mobile entertainment industry is predicted to reach $54 billion by 2015. There is no end in sight for the growing mobile market. Mobile Internet usage is expected to surpass desktop Internet usage by 2014. The App Economy The rapid growth of the mobile sector has also spurred job growth in the United States. Although conventional employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics are not yet able to adequately track this growth, economic analyst Dr. Michael Mandel has created a report that estimates that roughly 466,000 jobs were created in the United States since 2007. These jobs range from programmers, to designers, to marketers, managers, and even support staff. Mandel came to this conclusion by analyzing job-posting databases. The complete report can be found here. Rise of Developer Training Startups In the last few months a handful of companies are generating headlines and gaining students for their self-paced “learn to code” programs. A recent New York Times article featured three of the biggest players in this new field; Codeacademy, Code School by Envy Labs, and Treehouse. 10
  • 12. Although these startups do not teach mobile game design (Treehouse does offer lessons on iOS development), the large number of sign-ups and paid subscribers that these startups have acquired in their short existence demonstrates a growing demand for alternative models to learn technical skills. Code Academy and Code School both employ basic gamification principals in their learning, rewarding students badges for completed work and progress. Code School also uses a score to help motivate the student. Code Academy has garnered the most attention recently with their “Codeyear” initiative. Over 350,000 people have signed up at the time of this writing, Mayor Bloomberg famously tweeted that he was going to learn to code this way. Working inside the start-up incubator Y Combinator, a pair of former Columbia students noticed a lack of user-friendly online tools for beginning programmers. Codecademy began offering JavaScript training in August, quickly attracted major investments from Union Square Ventures, SV Angel and other heavy-hitters, and plans to roll out more programming languages soon. The company’s new initiatives — Code Year, a yearlong tutorial that started this month and attracted more than 350,000 users, and Code Summer+, a youth partnership with the White House announced last week — have won big attention. Company Information Co-founders: Zach Sims, 21, and Ryan Bubinski, 22.
 Location: New York City.
 Employees: six.
 Financing: $2.5 million venture round closed in October.
 Revenue: None.
 Users: more than 850,000.
 Business model: “There is no revenue model at the moment,” Mr. Sims said. “Our first thing is the product.”
 Special sauce: Broad appeal. “We got an e-mail from an 85-year- old stroke victim using it,” said Mr. Sims said. “We’ve seen people in almost every country in the world sign up.” Vital Stats 850,000 Registered Users
 Cost: Free 11
  • 13. In 2010, Web applications consultancy Envy Labs unveiled Rails for Zombies, an interactive Ruby on Rails teaching suite. Some 60,000 coders let the game eat their brains. Hoping to build on that success, the young company introduced Code School in March, targeting users who already know some programming but want to keep current with Ruby, HTML5, CSS3, CoffeeScript and jQuery. It plans to expand to an audience of new and younger users. Company Information Founder: Gregg Pollack, 34
 Location: Orlando, Fla.
 Employees: Of Envy Labs’ 23 employees, a rotating cast of about five work full-time on Code School at any one time.
 Financing: No outside money. Bootstrapped with $280,000 so far.
 Revenue: $250,000 since debut.
 Users: 90,000 registered for content, including free offerings like Rails for Zombies; 2,000 paying subscribers monthly.
 Business model: $25 monthly subscription fee.
 Special sauce: “We’re a different kind of start-up. We’ve used our consulting work to fund the development of projects like this,” Mr. Pollack said. “And the content isn’t introductory. Most of our customers are existing developers.” Vital Stats 90,000 Registered Users
 2,000 Paying Customers
 Cost: $25/month 12
  • 14. Video tutorials welcome students to Treehouse Island, where they arrive in a zeppelin, meet a mysterious, eye-patch-wearing ambassador (see photo above) – think Mister Rodgers transposed to “Lost” — and unravel mysteries while learning to code in HTML, Ruby, Python, PHP and JavaScript. The service went live in November and offers three beginner-oriented learning tracks: Web design, Web development, and iPhone/iPad application creation. Company Information Founder: Ryan Carson, 34.
 Location: Orlando, Fla.
 Employees: 23.
 Financing: $600,000 angel round closed in October.
 Revenue: Monthly sales hit $175,000 in December.
 Users: 6,500 paying subscribers. Corporate clients include Disney and Estée Lauder.
 Business model: Users choose between two tiers of access and pay $25 or $49 monthly.
 Special sauce: “We’ve done partnerships with Facebook, WordPress and LivingSocial,” Mr. Carson said. “They’re going to start recruiting people who’ve unlocked our badges for internships and jobs.” Vital Stats 6,500 Paying Customers
 Cost: $25-$49/month 13
  • 15. Mobile Game Authoring Ecosystems Several companies have created mobile game authoring tools that allow a wide range of users the ability to create games. Many of these tools are positioned to non-programmers and feature drag and drop interfaces. Users can skin existing templates with graphics and adjust behaviors to create new games based on existing genres. Over 500,000 users have downloaded these companies software offerings which demonstrates the public’s desire to take part in the mobile application market. According to the founder of GameSalad, there are currently over 6 million creative professionals and game designers who seek to author games and interactive media within the mobile industry. The mobile game authoring ecosystems show how community can be built around game design and offer a basis for the methodology of how apps can be created by anyone. Three players in the mobile game authoring field include: GameSalad, Corona by Ansca Mobile, and Stencyl. GameSalad is an online community that empowers everyone to express and share their ideas through games. Our company was founded on the belief that all people should have the tools to make popular games, limited only by the boundaries of their imaginations. GameSalad provides a platform used by creators to rapidly design, publish and distribute original games that have been played by millions of people worldwide. 14
  • 16. Company Information Co-founders: Michael Agustin, Dan Treiman, Tan Tran, and Joshua Seaver.
 Location: Austin, LA, and San Fran
 Employees: Aprox. 50
 Financing: $7.1 million
 Revenue: N/A
 Users: 107K +Downloads | 18,000 + Published Games
 Business model: GameSalad targets the over 99% of people who don't code and enables them to make games for iOS and in HTML5. Their development platform GameSalad Creator provides a visual, drag-and-drop way to create games, which eliminates programming as a barrier to entry.  With over 18,000 Apps and HTML5 games shipped, more games have been built with GameSalad Creator than with any other third-party toolset 
 Special sauce: Tiered pricing and support model. Marketp
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