There are 464 apps in the iTunes App Store that have ranked in the top 1000 every day for the past 6 months. Of those 464, 91 are investor-backed (VC or other investors). For reference, being ranked in the top 1000 for 6 months is no easy feat given the average lifespan of an app in the top 1000 is just 23 days.
Given the fickleness of the App Store, it should follow that investing in consistently high-performing mobile apps and their publishers is also extremely challenging. Below is a breakdown of these consistent top-performers that covers:
- What categories/genres tend to have the most stickiness in the top 1000?
- How many of the top 1000 app publishers are VC-backed vs. bootstrapped vs. created by public companies?
- Which VCs have the strongest mobile publisher portfolio?
Genre / Category Analysis
The chart below breaks down the respective categories of the apps who held a top 1000 overall rank in the App Store consistently over the last six months. As evident, ‘Games’ accounts for the largest share of apps that maintain a top 1000 overall rank over time, representing 28% of the apps. The next highest category by share was ‘Photo & Video’, which made up 11% of the apps and then ‘Lifestyle’ at 9%.
Next, we broke down the consistently high-ranking apps by publisher type, separating them into four categories: 1) VC-backed 2) public company/subsidiary of a public company (eg WhatsApp, YouTube) 3) no known funding/bootstrapped or 4) other (joint venture, non-profit, government, holdings company, etc).
Interestingly, the highest number of consistently high-ranking apps fell under the public company or public company subsidiary category at 38.6% of the apps. Bootstrapped apps were close behind, making up 37.9% of the apps. To find these apps, you should sign up for our mobile app momentum newsletter here.
Staying power, of course, doesn’t necessarily mean investor or VC-backable. Some of the apps that have maintained their top 1000 presence range from iPhone flashlights to photo collage tools to wallpaper makers.
The Mobile Mafia – Top VCs
Which investors are behind the highest number of companies that have apps consistently ranked in the top 1000 overall ranking? Peeling back the top investors in non-exited companies with apps that meet the criteria, Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins top the list of investors with 9 companies each. Sequoia’s companies include Plain Vanilla Games, Houzz, Whisper and Evernote while Kleiner’s include Shazam, Flipboard, Duolingo and MyFitnessPal.
In total, 15 VC investors have 5 or more portfolio cos that have consistently had an app ranked in the top 1000. Others with strong mobile portfolio companies include Accel Partners, Felicis Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and Index Ventures.
Of course, this analysis just looks at the # of publishers each VC has in its portfolio and not the stage of entry or valuation of each. More on that in the future.
The full list of apps in this analysis broken down by publisher type can be found on the ‘Research’ tab, after logging in to CB Insights. Note: This research is only available to subscribers with access to CB Insider.
All of the company app data in this analysis comes from the ‘Performance’ tab on the company’s profile. This available to CB Insights subscribers in the Division or greater subscription plans.