Assist App Developers Invest in Mobile Messaging Interface

January 21, 2016 - 3 minutes read

“Do you really need an entire app for that?” That’s the question driving Assist, an innovative new app that ditches the traditional native app interface altogether in favor of interacting with users via SMS, Messenger, Slack, and other mobile messaging services familiar to both casual users and San Francisco mobile app developers.

Mobile messaging was a huge trend in 2015, and promises to continue driving innovation in the coming year. Assist’s mobile app developers are betting on this in a big way, surfacing the API potential of a range of services including Uber, Postmates, and GrubHub. Users are able to ask for what they want without picking a particular platform; Assist does the rest, checking the best options via two or more local services (e.g. Lyft and Uber) to connect users with the best option.

Signing up for the app is super easy, and by nature OS-agnostic — a clever move on the part of Assist’s mobile app developers, making the app available to Android, iOS and beyond. So long as you have a working phone number, you can use the app. All you have to do is wait for an introductory message, respond “hi,” and you receive a list of ways the app can provide services for you.

Assist isn’t alone, however, when it comes to betting big on mobile messaging and AI assistants in 2016. The startup has received over $5 million in investments from a variety of sources, signalling a market shift towards a more integrated, complex mobile app ecosystem.

Assist’s monetization plan, on the other hand, is much more traditional. In a conversation with TechCrunch, Assist co-founder Shane Mac suggested that affiliate fees would be the first monetization strategy. Eventually they also plan to offer a selection of subscription services to round out the finances for their mobile app development team.

Overall, Assist’s biggest innovation is in the battle against “app fatigue.” The Apple App Store and Google Play are bursting with apps, and mobile app developers continue to make millions bringing their app ideas to life. However, user churn is worse than ever before. Therefore, apps that provide a service without requiring a user to download a new icon onto their home screen could have a bright, profitable future.

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