Not every interesting idea I see at Seeking Alpha (where I'm now the #1 writer on technology) is from the Fortunate 500, although that's what gets the clicks.
Some are in the "pink sheets," the penny stock listings where much is dross, but some nuggets can turn into gold.
Companies like Bitzio Inc., whose symbol is BTZO.
According to Bill Schonbrun, head guy (OK, CEO) , Apple doesn't really want to run an app store. That is, they don't want to be in the business of approving – or disapproving – every program that runs on its iPhones and iPads.
They just want their cut of anything that's sold.
“We're arms dealers for developers,” is the way Schonbrun (left) puts it. The key is Everyone Apps, a program introduced late last month that acts as a sort of Blogger-for-apps, letting you design your app without programming, and an app runner, available through the Apple App store, that interfaces your new Web app with the iPhone's features, like its GPS. (Similar products will be available through Bitzio for other phone platforms.)
Schonbrun describes Everyone Apps as “the first step of the Bitzio platform,” which also includes a system called App Runner, described by Head Technology Guy (OK, CTO) John Swartz
“We have 30 forms predefined. What we're going to do is let you lay out the forms, put content into the form, and we're not downloading executable code. It's like a PDF reader, customized for mobile.” And since you've got a Web app rather than an Apple app, it can run on any device, on Android or even Windows, through Bitzio interfaces.
While the technology engineering is impressive, I'm personally more impressed with the financial engineering.
Most of Bitzio's key people are working for stock. That's why the company is already public, even though it's not yet on the main NASDAQ board and is classed as a “penny” stock, currently at 27 cents/share. (BTZO.OB is the symbol.)
Operations are funded by teaching people how to use the tools, a $1,000/person course that drew 150 to San Diego recently, leaving a bunch of people trained to use the Bitzio tools. So far 800 people have paid $1,000 each for the course (with a free DVD), and they're now taking the show on the road – Orlando, Chicago, London – and will expand from there over the next several months.
It starts accelerating in May, when the full Bitzio Platform is launched. The platform is what will monetize your app. It interfaces with mobile ad shops, making certain that any ad space in your app gets an ad, and that you're getting the best price for the space, whether it's Apple's iAds, Google's AdMob, a third party like MobClix, or someone else.
“The majority of the apps that are going to go through these web apps are going to be free apps. The money there is going to be on advertising inside. Apple won't lose 30% – there's no 30% to lose.”
Schonbrun laid out the schedule. “What's out now is the App Code” – Bitzio's name for its education series – “and Everyone Apps. Everyone Apps is available only to those who signed up for the course. Everything else will be coming later – some will come out in pieces to May, but the Bitzio platform itself will be coming out May 1.”
The platform will be launched through another educational event, a real world tour, after which the plan is for the company to get onto NASDAQ's venture exchange, and get out of the pink sheets.
You can buy BTZO right now if you have the nerve. I don't. May be why I'm not rich.