Asking Price: $20,000
Annual Profit: $7,560 over the trailing twelve months (TTM)
Recurring Expenses: Digital Ocean server (lowest tier) for powering Image / Sharing features
What I like about this app:
It’s got existing users & they love it. 1500 active monthly users. Even if only a fraction of those convert/stick around for a subscription offering, it’s a fantastic starting point.
Good Ratings/Reviews. More recent reviews are negative, but the overall picture is great. In the US App Store, Reji has a 4.3 star rating over 126 ratings. You’ll want to take a look at what the ratings are like in different markets.
Clean Design The colors, icons, screens are all attractive, but I love that I still see room for small improvements. You’re starting with a great base, but as I go through the app, there are certain elements I’m expecting to be a little more interactive.
Revenue Potential This app is going to be a much larger time commitment than the one we looked at in Issue 2. It’s also got much higher revenue potential. The owners currently have a full-time business focused around Mac/iOS translation apps, so there’s potential here to build a differentiated competitor that could become a full-time gig. Don’t misread that as me suggesting it will be easy to get there!
Website Included There’s a beautiful landing page for Reji, and as I discuss below, shareable web pages for user generated content.
What I don’t like about this app:
Competition. There is a lot of competition for translation apps. Differentiation/execution is key.
Search Rankings. I had a hard time finding what keywords this app would rank for in the App Store.
Users have been notified of a shutdown. If you buy this app, you’re going to have to deal with users who have (A) abandoned Reji for a competitor or (B) won’t trust the longevity of the app going forward. I think you’re best off by addressing their concerns but moving forward and not those users drag you down.
Time Commitment This is a flipside to revenue potential. If you’re interested in the space and want to grow a business, this is a given. If you’re looking for a buy and hold opportunity, this would be a hard pass.
Dependencies Reji relies on third party APIs and a hosted backend to power certain features. This means you’ll need some expertise in those areas, or a partner who does. It also means if things don’t pan out, you’ll have ongoing expenses that will force you to (A) shutdown, or (B) dumb down the app to remove dependencies.
Cross Promotion The owners currently cross promote Reji with their other app, Mate Translate and offer an integration that makes them sync. I don’t believe the integration was particularly popular, but any time you consider buying an app from a company with other apps, you should be aware that you’re buying an asset, not their entire audience.
User Generated Content This is mostly a blessing, but also a curse. Any time you enable user generated content, you will run into issues eventually. My prior job was building content moderation tech, so this is what I’m thinking about. What happens when a user creates a deck with something very inappropriate, and then shares it on your platform. You’re going to want to create a plan of action for dealing with these issues if you plan on growing this into a business.
Who should acquire this?
- Someone interested in the Translation / Education / Language Learning space. This is not a “passive income” app, so you’ll want to be personally, not just financially, invested.
- Someone looking to focus heavily on one app and treat it like a business rather than a buy portfolio addition.
- Someone interested in Content / SEO. Not necessarily an expert, but maybe you want to try your hand at it.
I’m not a potential buyer for this app, but I do have a lot of ideas of what I would do if I acquired it:
1. Change the Monetization
Reji was made free after the shutdown announcement, but before then, it could be purchased for a one-time payment of $7.99. That’s a healthy price for many apps, and the fact that customers didn’t balk at the price being over 99 cents is a good sign it was providing a lot of value. However, there are ongoing costs with Reji, and in order to beat out the competition and move up in the search rankings, you’ll need continued revenue to fund the time you’d spend.
This is a tricky scenario, because customers have already paid what they thought was a lifetime deal. On one hand, you could strip down the app to reduce maintenance. but you’d probably kill features that differentiate Reji from competitors. If that’s your inclination, Reji is probably not the best app for you to acquire.
I’d keep the app free as it currently is, and then wrap a subset of features in a paid subscription plan
2. Build a Feature Matrix
This was mentioned in the last issue, and I’m putting it here too. It’s always good to do this, especially when it’s an app with a lot of competitors with overlapping & differentiating feature sets.
There are a lot of competitors. I want to build a feature matrix that shows what competitors offer which features/advantages. It will help me notice who my true competitors are. The apps that my current customers almost decided to go with, because we compete on features & design. I want to outshine those apps, not every app.
3. Improve the Onboarding Experience.
Reji has a lot of guiding instructions/hints in the app that nudge a user along, which is fantastic. Still, I see room for improvement. When a user first launches the app, I would expand the onboarding presentation that gives an overview of features, as well as add what I’ll call a Lexicon - something that defines words/concepts specific to this app. For example, introduce the concept of “Decks” to the user from the start, rather than waiting until they view a deck for the first time. There’s currently a link to an external page describing how to use Reji. I’d get rid of this and make sure it’s all within the app.
4. Improve the Localized Copy.
Some of the copy on the App Store and in the app itself could be better localized for the United States. Small grammatical changes, etc.
4. Double Down on Sharing
This is probably the biggest impact change. I’m going to drop in the current owner’s thoughts here because I think they’re great:
“Reji’s power users are in love with Shared Decks. You can basically make any of your decks available by a link—share with your students, classmate, etc. We wanted to launch a "Deck Market"—i.e. a public catalog of users’ decks right in the app. Quizlet has a similar thing. It’s also an SEO goldmine. Making public landing pages for those public decks is kid’s stuff (programmatically). They should pull in a lot of organic traffic. We did a similar thing with Mate and it worked nicely.”
This is a key differentiating feature of Reji, and if it’s what power users love most, it’s probably what they’ll pay more money for too. And I had no idea sharing was a feature until I read this ^. Make it a core offering by highlighting it within the app, and within the App Store screenshots/description/title/subtitle. This is a feature I would at least partially wrap in the paid subscription. You should at least have to be a subscriber to share a deck with others.
5. Content Content Content
Each time you share a deck, a shareable web page is created. Optimize the heck out of this, and figure out the best way to share. Demo this feature with teachers, with language learning groups, with college students, etc.
Create curated Decks that are interesting on their own. For example: “Longest German Words”, “Funny Spanish Words”, Decks for translations of songs, etc. Share those on social media every day. I don’t use TikTok, but there’s some creative way to share it on there, and it’s worth some time trying to figure that out.
Was this helpful? Was it interesting? Please reach out and let me know, and thank you for reading!