German subscription application Aboalarm’s developer Stefan Neubig, currently on South African soil, has told HumanIPO about his journey in the app world and the possibility of an African rollout.
“Aboalarm is the nice solution to a bad system,” Neubig said. “The app grew organically.”
The application started as a student hobby when he spotted a general frustration on the consumer’s side because of automatic subscription renewals.
In Germany all contracts from cell phone to transport services are renewed automatically if not cancelled promptly. This leads to unnecessary expenditure for consumers.
The web app sends reminders, deadlines and cancellation faxes for the user. They also provide a cancellation service to the customer as well as alternative suggestions for other subscriptions that might offer better rates.
Neubig is interested in the African market. Although the system works differently in South Africa, he is keen to learn about the methods by which African consumers can be assisted.
His next move is looking into expanding into Italy and France, as an effort to penetrate the European market.
Neubig explains that, according to German legislation, subscription cancellation is only possible via a letter. However, with the fax feature on the application, users can end their subscriptions with a few clicks and the entrance of their residential address to any company they desire.
The application development started in 2008 and was promoted by a nomination for a start-up of the year competition in November the same year. In 2011 they developed an iPhone application. In the same year it won the Apple App of the Week in March as well as the Apple Finance App of the Year . Not long after, the application was also activated for Android use.
The app management has grown to such an extent that Neubig has made it his profession since 2011. Now the company has a mini-staff of six fixed and two freelancing members.
Aboalarm started by connecting 300 companies to subscribers with reminders and cancellations. Now it collaborates with more than 1000, to which easy address access enables the connection.
Users are also able to share their use of the app via social media like Twitter and Facebook.
The app is currently in the rebranding phase to make it more contract friendly and renew the services according to recommendations.
Although advertising space is available on the app, its main revenue is generated out of the cancellation cost of the virtual fax for €0.89.
“We’ve been lucky and people love us,” he said.
Through his travels and web encounters Neubig has met people who are now part of the development and app management team. Staff members work online and are based across Germany, in Munich, Berlin and Stuttgart.
He has been impressed with Cape Town and has decided to extend his visit to six weeks, after which he will attend a conference in New York about a new php developing system.