Apple Purchases App Developer Buddybuild: But Who Are They?

Apple just bought out app developer Buddybuild to shore up its Xcode developer network. It is a Canadian company that helps app developers create, test, and develop new apps for the iOS platform and getting the final product out through GitHub, BitBucket or GitLab. It has rapidly grown to become a successful startup, and Apple has taken notice.

Here are 10 things you should know about the newly acquired company.

  1. Its team of 40 engineers located in British Columbia will remain at their current headquarters. Apple has decided that it is best to let them stay put either as part of the agreement or Apple needs to keep this specific team of engineers together to maximize its benefit to users.
  2. Its Buddybuild app will not be a standalone but will be integrated into the current Xcode development environment. This was one of the terms of the acquisition, and though no specific timetable has been set for the full integration, it seems likely this was a requirement for the long term profitability of the company.
  3. The company has decided to continue to allow existing users to use the app as a standalone, accessible through the company’s website. Though no date has been set for when this option will be terminated, it is likely to coincide with the date of Buddybuild’s full integration into Xcode.
  4. Though it was in the process of developing a Buddybuild app for the Android platform, a condition of the acquisition was that the company squash those development efforts. Though no financial terms of the acquisition have been disclosed, the fact that Apple wants to take this developer out of play from Google means there must be a definite upside potential to the developer app.
  5. The Buddybuild app has been getting serious attention from app developers for making the creation, testing, and deployment of new apps much simpler and has been able to establish its brand in the larger app development community.
  6. The company was founded in 2015 by one-time Amazon employees Dennis Pilarinos and Christopher Stott. Pilarinos was a product and engineering leader at Amazon, but his experience extends back to his days with Microsoft as well. There, he was responsible for the development of various aspects of Microsoft’s cloud services platform. The third co-founder, Johnny Ting Shi, was also at Amazon and worked as a software engineer on the Kindle and Fire Phone projects.
  7. The company has raised nearly $10 million CDN in just under 3 years and has doubled its engineering staff, from 20 to 40, in a year.
  8. One of Buddybuild’s more prominent clients is Slack, an international business with major clients that includes The Los Angeles Times, Capital One, Airbnb, and Ticketmaster. It also has direct clients including Reddit, SoundCloud, FourSquare and The New York Times.
  9. Buddybuild’s location in Vancouver, British Columbia is getting a reputation for one of the hotpots for software development, a factor that can have a significant impact on the company’s long term growth. If the company is looking to recruit new talent, it is in the right place to choose from some of the best talent available.
  10. Finally, the company has decided to stake its future profitability with Apple’s iOS platform. The fact they were developing a version for the Android platform and were willing to drop it means that it is betting that Apple can overcome Google’s advantage in app downloads. Apple generates more revenue, but Google is winning the number of downloads battle by a clear margin. Buddybuild hopes to maximize the efficiency and speed of the development process to gain an advantage in both the number of downloads and bottom line revenue.

Knowing this, the question for Buddybuild followers is whether it was the best decision to go with Apple. It could have received revenue from both iOS and Android developer platforms, and with the quality of its existing customer base it appears to have a bright future ahead of it. Apple definitely has plans for it, as Apple’s acquisition of TestFlight back in 2014 shows there is more than a passing interest in acquiring app developer companies. Pilarinos, Stott, and Shi should be very happy about their decision to use their considerable Amazon knowledge and experience to form the Buddybuild startup.


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