Silicon Prairie News

RareWire realizing ‘grand vision’ of platform for building native apps

Kansas City April 19, 2012 by Annie Sorensen Only 13 days until Big Omaha. Get your tickets before they sell out!

RareWire is nearly ready to introduce its "secret weapon" to a broader audience.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based mobile app creation studio and software provider, founded in March 2010 by former Saepio colleagues Matt Angell (below left) and Kirk Hasenzahl (left), saw the potential with the launch of the iPad for a platform that would make it easier for companies and developers to create their own apps.

Since then, RareWire has been building mobile apps for local and international clients like the United States Military Academy at West Point, Perceptive Software, Black & Veatch, EBONY magazine and The Atlantic, fine-tuning its platform in-house before taking it to market.

"Our grand vision for RareWire from day one is that we wanted to be a software provider, where we could provide a platform to enable any web developer to build native apps," said Hasenzahl, the company's president.

"Internally, we've had it as a secret weapon to go out and provide the actual service of building apps while we were in the stealth mode of getting our product to market. We have had a lot of success in the first year and a half building apps for clients."

The App Creation Studio

What makes RareWire unique is the company's software platform, which is designed to allow native apps to be created in a more timely, cost-efficient manner.

"There are native apps, and there are web apps," Hasenzahl said. "Native apps are what everyone wants. They reside on the hardware of the mobile device and are able to take advantage of its memory and processor. The problem is that native apps are hard to build, and typically require the use of a programmer."

"Web apps are built in html5, which takes the skillset of a web developer, so they are easier to build. But, there are a lot of limitations."

"What Matt (Angell) invented that has played out to give us a huge advantage is the best of both worlds. It's a platform that creates true native apps, but to build an app on our platform you don't have to be a programmer. You build apps in a new flavor of xml we invented called the Wire. So it only takes the skills of a web developer to build native apps on our platform."

(Left: RareWire won two Appy Awards for its mobile app for The Atlantic. The awards are displayed in the conference room of RareWire's Crossroads District office space in Kansas City, Mo.)

Since its inception, RareWire has been using the Wire to create apps for clients. But RareWire just recently released the platform to a couple hundred invite-only beta users via its App Creation Studio. The beta users quickly got to work creating apps using the platform.

"The (App Creation Studio) provides an exciting dynamic" Hasenzahl said. "It puts us in the position to have the best of both worlds, where we can provide the full functionality that everyone is looking for in an app but because it's built in xml in our Wire language we can typically keep the costs down. We don't have to go hire a programmer to go build it. It's more scalable too, because it's a platform versus a custom one-off build."

Aimed at web developers that work in a corporate environment or ad agency and independent contractors, RareWire wants to offer something that makes native app development easier on everyone.

"It's a crazy time," Hasenzahl said. "It's very fun. This is one of the hottest, biggest new markets out there, and we're kind of knee deep in the middle of it. We're all just working our butts off."

Moving, growing and looking ahead

Hasenzahl, Angell and the rest of the RareWire team, who recently jumped the state line from Prairie Village, Kan. to the Crossroads District of Kansas City, Mo. in a move we covered last month, are excited to receive feedback from the initial round of beta testers.

RareWire is currently hiring three developers and will soon be making another push to add local and national developers to its beta invite list for the App Creation Studio.

But the team isn't stopping there. With plans to attend Big Omaha next month, and a continued effort to reach out to the local developer and startup community in Kansas City, RareWire is looking towards the future with its software offering.

"One of the things we're excited about is building out our platform for other operation systems," Hasenzahl said. "It will truly be a solution where you build an app once in our Wire language, and you can click a button and publish it on multiple operating systems. If we can get there, that would be big for us."

Wide open spaces are shared by the RareWire team at the company's new office in the Crossroads District.

Architectural elements aid in the creativity and appeal of the RareWire's new space. The main conference room, pictured, features views of downtown Kansas City and the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

 

Credits: Photos by Annie Sorensen.

*Update April 20, 11:15 a.m. – The first subheading in the post was changed from 'The Wire' to The App Creation Studio to more accurately reflect the name of RareWire's product. 

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