Over the past three years, Agant has transformed from myself as a one-man band into a small but growing team, developing apps for some amazing companies. As part of this, I've been lucky enough to work with a genuinely brilliant bunch of people. Hilary Draper (our Office Manager) has made everything possible from day one; Rich Martin (our Key Account Manager) has been great at keeping clients happy while making sure everything gets done. Our development team of Amy Worrall, Graham Lee, Justyn Spooner, Mo Ramezanpoor and Vic Smith have created some properly brilliant work, including Timeline World War 2, Explore Shakespeare, the official Discworld app, and the Animator's Survival Kit. I've got to work with some personal heroes; we've created the first app to be nominated for a TV BAFTA; and I've been lucky enough to talk about our apps at some great developer conferences.
And yet, despite all of this work, and the brilliant team at Agant, I've made the decision to return to being a one-man-band. This has been one of the hardest decisions I've ever made. Our clients found out today; this post is my chance to explain to the wider world why I've made this decision.
Over the past few years, the App Store has become more and more competitive, and more and more risky with it. Agant's speciality has been high-quality, higher-value apps, often published in collaboration with our clients. Typically these are paid (rather than free or freemium) apps. Unfortunately, the iOS App Store's set-up just does not seem to support the discovery, trialling and long-term life of these kinds of high-value apps, making it difficult to justify the risk of their development. After much consideration, I've decided that I can no longer take this risk on Agant's behalf.
I've also come to realise that business development is not my calling in life. I'm a maker, not a salesperson, and the challenge of bringing in enough work to keep a small team busy and profitable, in such a competitive and difficult app marketplace, is a very hard thing to do. Agant doesn't have VC funding – it's entirely owned and managed by myself – and so the risk of paying salaries and funding development is borne directly by myself. Sadly, this isn't something I can keep doing in the current app market.
I'm going to miss working with the Agant team hugely, and I'm going to miss creating the kinds of projects we've worked on together. I have no doubt that the team will find amazing things to do elsewhere – you'd have to be mad not to employ them – and I can only wish them the absolute best in whatever they do next.
So what happens now for Agant? Well, firstly, all of our apps will remain on on the store. This includes the apps we've released ourselves (such as UK Train Times), and also those we've released with and for our clients. Agant (as a company) will continue to exist, with myself as the sole employee. As well as supporting our existing apps, I plan to return to developing my own projects, and keeping an eye on whatever the next big thing may be. And I'll be helping other people – including companies large and small – with their own app development projects too.
Managing Director, Agant Ltd.