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Mobile app seller opens retail storefront

Tuesday, December 6, 2011   (0 Comments)
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Mobile app seller opens retail storefront
By Michael Davidson

December 6, 2011 --

BOULDER - Openspace Store Inc., a Boulder-based startup, is taking an old school approach to developing its new store for mobile apps - creating an actual bricks-and-mortar store.

Openspace Store unveiled its new "pop-up" retail site Monday, and the store at 1911 11th St. is open for business from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Openspace Store was co-founded by Robert Reich, known locally as the founder and leader of the Boulder Denver New Tech Meetup. He is Openspace's chief executive.

The company was founded in 2010 and has received about $1 million in seed money from the Foundry Group and Bullet Time Ventures, which are based in Boulder, and multiple Boulder and New York angel investors, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission and Openspace Store's website.

Openspace Store is an online store for mobile apps that is focused on "curating" collections of apps to make finding and buying apps easier.

Openspace Store, which went live online on Monday, will let users find collections of recommended applications by interest, following individuals or by list of useful utilities.

"The current app stores aren't really solving the problem of discovery. They work really well if you know exactly what you want, or you're willing to hunt top app lists," Reich said.

Unless a user has a recommendation from a friend or a product review website, "you're at the mercy of the description," Reich said. People who "follow" a collection will receive notices when it is updated with new apps, Reich said.

The store currently offers links to apps for Apple iPhones and iPads but soon will expand to include Google Android apps, Reich said.

A physical store could be a "win-win-win" for consumers, Openspace and third-party developers Reich said.

"It's a place where consumers can come in and get app advice, which we think is a needed component of our current app ecosystem," Reich said. "We get to show our software to people as they come in and get direct feedback from them."

The space will be available to developers to host events and get feedback, Reich said.

The store takes up about 300 square feet of the startup's new 1,000-square-foot office, Reich said. It has large windows along 11th Street, which the company would like to use as an interactive display, Reich said.

OpenSpace Store plans to keep the physical store open indefinitely and would like to expand to other locations and cities if the store is successful, Reich said.

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