Investment Firm, Entrepreneur Purchase App Maker

i Jul 17th 2014

By Denise Allabaugh, Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice

Wilkes-Barre-based KBJ Capital and Scranton entrepreneur Jamie Valvano have acquired Scranton-based Appek Mobile Apps.

Appek will continue under the leadership of Kristopher Jones, who founded and owns KBJ Capital, and Valvano, who owns businesses and real estate throughout Luzerne and Lackawanna counties. Jones would not disclose the acquisition price.

Appek will move to Wilkes-Barre from Scranton, Jones said. He and Valvano have already begun building their team of mobile app developers and plan to hire.

Over the next few months, Jones said they plan to hire eight people, including four to six mobile app developers as well as a lead product manager and a sales leader.

Appek will move into the ReferLocal office space on South Main Street in downtown Wilkes-Barre and share space with ReferLocal and LSEO.com, one of Jones’ other start-up companies.

KBJ Capital invested $50,000 in Appek in March 2011. Since then, Appek has developed dozens of mobile apps for companies around the world. Several apps have garnered national attention on TechCrunch, Fast Company, Gizmodo, and the Huffington Post.

In December 2011, Appek launched the popular iPad game FaceInvaders, which allows users to play combat with Facebook friends’ profile pictures. Tech blog Gizmodo named it an iPad “App of the Week.”

In September 2012, Appek launched pathmapp, which helps businesses generate more leads and improve user experience. The company unveiled the technology on stage as a finalist of TechCrunch Start-up Battlefield to a crowd of about 4,000 and tens of thousands watching online.

In January 2014, Appek launched the French Girls app, which allows anyone with an iPhone to take a selfie and get drawn by users from around the world. French Girls recently crossed one million installs in less than six months and announced it had raised $500,000 in financing led by actress and singer Christina Milian and NFL linebacker Larry English. Jones and Valvano are investors in French Girls.

Adam Ceresko, chief executive officer and co-founder of Appek Mobile Apps, said the they decided to sell the company so that the team can focus 100 percent of their energy on French Girls which, he said, is “an opportunity of a lifetime.”

dallabaugh@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2115