The young company, barely two years out, is launching its second Build Fund competition today to award a total of $100,000 to 10 independent app and game developers.
To up the ante for this year’s competition, Kiip has reduced the number of recipients from 20 to 10–meaning more money per winner–and is providing winners with access to third parties such as Amazon Web Services. A mentorship component also matches winners with app makers from companies such as Facebook, Path and Jawbone.ds
Why is Kiip so bullish on indie? CEO Brian Wong says independent developers, whom he refers to as Kiip’s “sweet spot,” have the luxury of being able to create without worrying about monetization. Building for the sake of building, he says, often results in more boundless innovation. He points to runaway successes such as the listmaking app Clear or the massively popular game Temple Run as the kind of “category-changing” app he’s looking for.
“There’s nothing wrong with reiterating and rehashing the same concepts and making a lot of money off of that,” Wong says. “But we want to focus on guys who really challenge the status quo and who create new business models without actually realizing it.”