AppDirect Buys AppCarousel, Consolidating App Store Platforms

AppDirect revealed Thursday that it has purchased AppCarousel -- a deal that consolidates two popular platforms for building online Software-as-a-Service marketplaces.

The acquisition should yield a cloud commerce powerhouse that delivers customizable app stores for reselling a wide range of cloud-based software, from office productivity tools to controllers for interconnected devices.

Both vendors provide channel partners and customers the ability to stand up curated marketplaces they can white-label and stock full of SaaS applications. But where AppDirect offers an inventory of more conventional apps -- like Office 365, Salesforce and Dropbox -- AppCarousel focuses on bringing to market Internet-of-Things technologies.

[Related: Zendesk, Ready To Launch A Channel, Turns To AppDirect To Empower New Partners]

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"AppDirect's been really focused for businesses to find, buy and use the cloud services they need," AppDirect's CEO Daniel Saks told CRN. "But an important piece to cloud commerce is enabling accessibility around all devices."

Companies use AppCarousel's platform to sell software that powers smart devices, from tablets to Internet-enabled televisions to in-dash consoles on connected cars. AppCarousel also offers a platform for developing those mobile applications and tools for managing software ecosystems.

The acquisition, the terms of which weren't disclosed, is AppDirect's biggest to date, Saks told CRN.

AppCarousel, founded in 2011, has a team of more than 80 employees, most focused on engineering, Saks said. The company's been growing annually at 70 percent.

"We're focused on amplifying and growing their business further," Saks told CRN.

AppCarousel's core business allows AppDirect to extend its vision of cloud application commerce to vendors in the automotive, electronics and home-automation industries, he said.

While the corporate headquarters of the two app store developers are situated only blocks apart in downtown San Francisco, AppDirect won't totally assimilate its new subsidiary -- AppCarousel will maintain independence, with existing CEO, Emanuel Bertolin, to continue running the company, according to Saks.

AppDirect will also be able to quickly leverage AppCarousel's capabilities around mobile application development, thanks to a platform that is modular and API-enabled, Saks said.

AppDirect plans to introduce its channel model to its new subsidiary, allowing AppCarousel partners to join the Reseller Management Service program it launched earlier this year.

"With Internet of Things, software and solutions are going to be in more places, and the need for someone to add value in delivery and support is going to be more critical," Saks said. "It opens up a massive opportunity for solution providers to take advantage of."

The united platforms will enable different types of businesses to essentially become channels for software developers, Saks said, giving the example of a car company offering customers a choice of applications that run in their Internet-enabled vehicles.

"It's really transformative for the solution provider industry in general, both in expanding opportunities for existing resellers, and establishing new business models for those who wouldn't today categorize themselves as VARs or resellers," Saks said.