Mini-apps are lightweight programs that run within a larger app and serve as additional sources of user engagement and revenue. They were popularized by “super apps” like WeChat, Alibaba, and Grab. But not all developers have the resources of these tech giants. Appboxo, based in Singapore, wants to level the playing field. On the startup platform, developers can turn their apps into super apps, either by building their own mini-apps or by accessing them through Appboxo Showroom, a marketplace for third-party developers.
Appboxo, whose clients include GCash, Paytm and VodaPay, announced today that it has raised $7 million in Series A funding led by RTP Global. Other participants included initial investors, Antler and 500 Southeast Asia, plus new backers such as SciFi VC, Gradient Ventures (Google’s AI-focused venture capital fund), and angel investors Huey Lin and Kayvon Deldar.
Appboxo was founded in 2019 by Kaniyet Rayev, the CEO and CTO Nursultan Keneshbekov. TechCrunch first did it in December 2020, when it announced its seed funding. The company is now used by 10 super apps in Southeast Asia, India and South Africa, and enables more than 400 mini app integrations, most of which are built by third-party developers. The company says it has a combined base of more than 500 million users.
The company has two main products. The first is Miniapp, a SaaS platform with SDKs and APIs for building and launching mini-apps. For example, mobile wallets can integrate mini apps for food delivery, shopping or restaurant reservations.
The second, launched about a year ago, is Shopboxo, which allows businesses to set up customizable online stores via mobile devices in less than 30 seconds.
Subsequently, mini-apps created with Shopboxo can be integrated into super-apps via Appboxo, and Rayev expects that reaching a wider merchant base of SMEs will push the number of mini-apps to thousands this year, especially as customers from Appboxo already uses its platform mainly for e-commerce. “Financial super-apps want to diversify into new verticals, and in the current landscape, e-commerce seems like the most obvious opportunity and the easiest to execute.”
Rayev tells TechCrunch that AppBoxo’s new funding will be used to further develop Shopboxo, while also expanding its commerce ecosystem and building its international presence. Initially, the startup will focus on the Asia-Pacific region, where super-apps are most dominant, he says, but it also wants to enter Europe and the United States.