Jimmy-Thomas and ​​Vigile Hoareau

​​Vigile Hoareau is a musician, cognitive psychologist and computer programmer. Jimmy Thomas is a multi-platinum rap producer who has worked with Tupac and Motown Records. Together, they are the founders of Crowdaa, a French company that allows non-developers to easily create and release apps on mobile. 

The two were introduced eight years ago and bonded over their desire to give creatives, especially the rising class of content creators, more control over their platforms. At the time, Hoareau had already launched a prototype of Crowdaa in Réunion, the French island territory he is from. “We shared the same vision about what should be the role and contribution of tech for content creators and communities,” he said. 

At first, Hoareau and Thomas built a product focused on music but pivoted during the pandemic to be a service for everyone. “Using Crowdaa, professional communities and entertainment communities can publish their apps on the stores in a few clicks,” Hoareau told TechCrunch. “They own the data, the content, the users. They decide how they monetize if so.” 

The company announced on Thursday an improved update with new features, including automating how users build, deploy and submit their apps to the Apple Store and Google Play. After an app is ready and a developer account has been set up, an app is available on Apple’s Testflight within 20 minutes, Crowdaa said. The goal is to help make app building easier, which can help open new markets. 

The company says it stands out from competitors because it lets people create apps without extensive development resource tools with vertically integrated solutions. “We do something very specific, but we do it all the way up,” Hoareau said.

The app’s ambitions are catching investor attention, too: Crowdaa recently announced a €1.2 million seed round led by Apicap. Sports teams, organizations and political parties are using Crowdaa to create their apps and better engage with consumers, the company says. The power is in the technology behind the platform: a full-stack service, an easy drag-and-drop interface, and integrated tools to help with legal and compliance. 

Hoareau said the fundraising process was pretty hard and spoke about how challenging it is being a founder from Réunion, since mainland investors in France tend to pay little attention to the territories. He and Thomas had to dedicate time to building relationships and expanding their networks, which they could tap into, in addition to entering accelerators, like the Nvidia Inception program, that helped the company stay afloat. Other investors in the round include Tremplin Capital and Teampact Ventures. 

Crowdaa will use the recent fundraise to expand sales and marketing, augment its presence in France, and plan a U.S. launch, which it hopes to do in the next few weeks. It’s also building out an AI chatbox assistant. The goal is to soon work with filmmakers and music labels, bringing the company’s mission full circle.

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