The folks at AppleTree.com have been our booth neighbors this week in the NGS Exhibit Hall. It’s their first genealogy conference as an exhibitor and they’re getting an enthusiastic response from attendees. I’ve only got a few early impressions of their startup at this point, but from what I’ve seen, I think they’re building something that’s going to make a big impact in the online genealogy space. Here’s why:
- AppleTree is aiming to build a single comprehensive “family tree of the world that “we all belong to”, echoing the vision of NewFamilySearch and several private companies.
- Their founder Scott Mueller is a serial entrepreneur, the veteran of several startups that have seen successful exits.
- AppleTree has earned venture backing from a top-shelf VC firm, which gives them the runway they need to hire talented people and develop crucial features at a rapid pace.
- AppleTree’s business model appears to involve a combination of advertising and paid media hosting, while the basic tree functionality will be free to users for the foreseeable future. This differentiates them from Geni, which has pursued a slightly different freemium / virtual goods model and largely avoided ads to this point.
- They appear to be working hard on integration with NewFamilySearch, claiming “We are the only way to link media with people, events, locations and sources in New FamilySearch.” The folks at Photoloom would dispute that point, but such competing claims are to be expected.
I’m excited to see energetic and visionary new startups tackling the goals that AppleTree is going after. I think they’re worth paying attention to, and they’re my Follow Friday recommendation for this week.