Voxel: Preview Apps Before You Download Them

September 14, 2014

2:00 pm

Getting a preview of something is the best way to know if you will use it in the future. When you read a book, you can skim through the pages to decide if you like the characters and plot and before you watch a movie, you can watch the trailer. For awhile, there wasn’t a way to preview apps before users installed them on their phones, but now there is – it’s called Voxel.

“It revolves around the issue of people previewing apps before the installation process,” says David Zhao, the CEO of Voxel. “…We are bringing the same process of giving people a sample of something before they make that commitment to mobile apps.”

According to their site, the team at Voxel believed that mobile interaction and application delivery could be improved. They started brainstorming, and came up with Voxel.

“Voxel was started because we were excited by the idea that any app could be accessed with a simple URL,” reads an excerpt from their site.

Despite quickly coming with the idea, creating the technology for this was not an easy task.

“It’s about having the right technology in place because it is a pretty hard problem to solve,” says Zhao. “You run the app on the server so that the user can go through an evaluation process…the user has a video stream almost.”

Voxel: Who They’re Targeting

In terms of feedback from users, Zhao says people love using the app, especially because it’s not too disruptive or in-your-face.

“People’s phones are filled up with apps they probably never even use, so we help people so that they don’t have to download too many apps. We give them more information upfront so that they know if they should be installing the app or not,” says Zhao.

Voxel also solves a problem for advertisers. Advertisers have to be very cost-conscious in the mobile space. It costs advertisers about 2-5 dollars to install an ad, compared to the web where an ad is only about 20 cents.

“One of the key things for advertisers is that mobile ads are really expensive because they don’t convert very well and then people don’t end up using the app very often or don’t open them at all,” says Zhao.

More About Zhao and the Voxel Team

Zhao is joined by four other Co-founders at Voxel – Russ d’Sa (CPO), Tim Cheng (CTO) and David Schwartz (COO). Zhao, who has also worked at Amazon and Motorola, says nothing compares to pursuing your own dream.

“I had a vision and I had something that I felt really passionate about doing even though I knew nothing about startups or how to build a company,” says Zhao, whose background is in engineering. “I feel like all of those things can be learned the best thing people can do is go out and do it.”


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Amanda Quick is a tech/startup reporter covering young entrepreneurs for Tech Cocktail. She's also interested in covering apps, emerging technology, IoT and beauty & wellness. Amanda is currently in grad school at Syracuse University studying Information Management. In the past she has interned at NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, Brand-Yourself, and the Times Leader Newspaper as well as worked at WWNY-TV and the StartFast Venture Accelerator in Upstate New York. Amanda is originally from Kansas City, MO but has also lived in Canton, MA and Scranton, PA. To learn more you can visit amandalquick.com. Like Amanda on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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