Former executives from Thrillist and Microsoft launch Dwnld, a platform that makes websites into mobile apps.
Dwnld, a platform that can turn any website into a smartphone application in just minutes and at minimal cost, launched on Wednesday.
The Manhattan-based company (whose name is pronounced “download”) has blue-chip backers and more than 200 bloggers, media personalities and publishers among its first clients. They include fashion designer and reality-TV star Kristin Cavallari and bicoastal fashion, music and photography hub Milk Studios.
These customers pay $15 a month to have Dwnld’s programming software convert Web content into a native iOS or Android app that also figures out the best way to display that content on the user’s device. Publishers also refresh new content on the app through Dwnld’s system.
Typically, a development studio can charge thousands of dollars to create a mobile app. Once approved, Dwnld’s apps become available on Apple’s App Store or Google Play.
Founded by former Thrillist Media marketing vice president Alexandra Keating and former Microsoft executive and seed investor Fritz Lanman, Dwnld on Wednesday announced its launch along with the $2 million in seed funding it has raised since its founding in 2012. Its A-list funders include William Morris Endeavor, Crunchfund, the Chernin Group and Gordon “Gordy” Crawford.
The company plans to expand its reach from fashion, lifestyle and media into business, finance, cooking and food.
“We’re taking business-development opportunities industry by industry,” said Ms. Keating, who is chief executive, in an interview.
The 29-year-old Australian sees mobile-app usage as at a point similar to website development in the late 1990s.
“In 1997, there were a million websites,” she said, adding that there are now 1 billion, thanks to services such as WordPress and Squarespace that have made website creation easier and cheaper, and Google, which has made it possible to find them. “There are 1.2 million apps in the app stores between Android and iOS. I really feel mobile growth is going to emulate that of the Web.”