Meet Jonas Thiemann, Co-CEO & Founder at The AppLike Group: Building the Next Big Thing in the App Economy

The applike group is a Hamburg-based company aiming to change the way the app and mobile gaming business is done. Our vision is to build everything you need to monetise and acquire users for your app business. Today, we own three independent companies with complementary technologies and business models.

That might sound a little abstract so let me go into more detail: Sunday creates and publishes incredibly popular hyper casual mobile games. adjoe is an in-app ad network and home to our rewarded advertising product ‘Playtime’, an ad unit rewarding users for playing games. Finally, justDice operates discovery apps that recommend new third party games to users based on their behaviour and preferences.

justDice has become one of the biggest mobile ad spenders globally – intending to grow their user base – next to companies such as Wish and TikTok. You also may have heard of Sunday’s game Cat Escape. It went viral at the end of 2020, topping the US gaming charts for several weeks. At adjoe, we have over 100 advertising partners including Jamcity, Playtika, Playrix and Funplus. Our adverts are served in 180 countries, reaching over 100 million smartphone users globally every month.
 
 
Applike Group - Product Lead (f/m/d)
 

Why did you decide to start your own company?

 
We saw and still see huge potential in the app economy. Increasingly, companies from all sectors rely on mobile to reach their key target groups. The need for new opportunities for in-app or in-game advertising is growing at a very fast pace. We believe users deserve good quality apps, content and ads served to them. Ultimately, we want to reach every smartphone user in the world with our technologies.

Speaking personally, I see money as a route to independence and creativity rather than a status symbol. And, that’s reflected in my background. While growing up, my mother was a teacher. She raised me alone and we lived a modest lifestyle. I earned money by giving piano lessons to other kids after school. I saved that money and bought my first grand piano with it. To this day, those values guide the way I live my life and run the businesses.
 

 

How has the company evolved during the pandemic?

 
Through the huge growth in mobile gaming during the pandemic, we realised the positive impact we could have on society through our products – as well as achieving three digit revenue growth rates. Globally, we used our rewarded advertising technology to direct users to official COVID-19 tracking apps. When a user installs and uses a COVID-19 app after viewing the ad, they receive in-app currency. With our ad unit Playtime, users continue to receive rewards when they use these official apps for subsequent interactions, encouraging them to engage over the longer-term rather than as a one-off. We’ve generated hundreds of thousands of app installs for COVID-19 tracing apps, playing a role in helping people keep themselves safe all over the globe.

Speaking more broadly, the various international lockdowns led to incredible growth for the global app economy. All aspects of our lives, such as work, education, socialising and entertainment, were then conducted almost exclusively via our digital devices. For the applike group that means we’ll approximately quadruple sales in 2021 compared to last year. And, we’ve hired roughly 50 new colleagues since the pandemic kicked in.
 

What can we hope to see from applike in the future?

 
We’re on track to reach three-digit million euros in yearly revenue by the end of 2021, a big milestone for us. Sunday is on its way to becoming one of the leading hyper casual game publishers worldwide, helping small developers make their games successful! Fingers crossed, adjoe will smash the next Appsflyer Growth Index – the most prominent index for ad networks in the app economy.

We want to recruit another 100 team members within the next 12-18 months. And, we might start a fourth company by the end of the year – so stay tuned. Of course, we’re always looking at new ways to develop our products and expand our offering to our customers so they can continue to monetise and attract high-quality traffic to their apps. We’re just getting started.