InQBarna – the Spanish success story on Apple’s App Store

Music-based applications such as Deej have been downloaded nearly three million times

Nacho Sánchez holds up a tablet computer running his company's app Deej.
Nacho Sánchez holds up a tablet computer running his company's app Deej.CONSUELO BAUTISTA (EL PAÍS)

In 2009, the second year of the crisis, six telecoms engineers decided to start a mobile application company called InQBarna.

“There were six of us at first, and now there’s 15,” says a proud Nacho Sánchez, one of the founding partners. “We’re not just telecoms professionals now – there are also computer scientists, graphic designers and marketing experts, meaning that the quality of our work has improved.”

InQBarna develops apps for all kinds of mobile devices and operating systems, including iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows Phone.

The chosen field of InQBarna, however, is music. Around 95 percent of its downloads are accounted for by TunerTool, a free guitar-tuning app for the iPhone, and Deej, the paid app that lets users mix music like a DJ using any handheld device. When Deej 3.3 came out, downloads shot up 322 percent compared to 2012. For the first few months of the year, Deej topped App Store’s best-selling app list in 28 countries, including the US, Britain, Spain, Germany, Australia and Japan.

The company ended 2012 with a 120-percent increase in turnover

Around the end of this month, InQBarna is planning to launch a new music program: Splyce, a very visual application made with amateurs in mind. The difference with Deej is that it is not aimed at professionals, and that it works in a much simpler way.

“Splyce has a popular approach, so everyone can use it without the need for musical training. It’s a great thing to have at parties,” explains Sánchez.

InQBarna also works in other fields, creating apps that they either came up with themselves or that were commissioned by third parties. Chief among these are Lext Talk, which helps people learn languages through their mobile devices, FCB WorldTap, which is dedicated to the Barcelona soccer team, and To the farm!, designed to stimulate language development in young children.

The Catalan company has also found a niche in other countries with apps such as Nice City Pass, which offers real-time information about all available parking spots and public transportation in the French city at any given moment.

This kind of diversification has enabled InQBarna to keep growing. The company ended 2012 with a 120-percent increase in turnover, and posted a 36-percent hike in downloads in the first quarter of 2013, coming close to three million. The growth forecast for in-house products this year is 200 percent.

“For now, this sector is still growing, although we are aware that it will reach saturation point one day, just like anything else,” says Nacho Sánchez. “Until then, we will keep working hard while we can.”

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