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Have you ever come across that perfect app in the App Store and the first thing you thought to yourself was, How didn’t I know about this earlier? To help app lovers make sure they never miss when the best apps hit the market, web and mobile-based AppAlerts lets users track the release of apps by highlighting keywords and genres they’re interested in most.

Whenever an app hits the App Store within your set categories or keywords, you get a personalized alert about it so you can be one of the very first users. Even if you can’t think of any particular tags of your own, browsing some of the most popular alerts from other users will help you get started. Best of all, the mobile app for finding new mobile apps is available for free, so don’t worry about it cutting into your App Store shopping funds.

We sat down with AppAlerts founder Aric Boyles, who gave us the rundown on some of his current favorite apps on the market today, and shared the story of his first entrepreneurial improvisation on a sweltering day in Chicago.

What was the inspiration behind AppAlerts?

Personally I’m really into music. I remember looking for apps for music and I’d find some good ones but I also missed a lot of great apps because they would launch and I wouldn’t find out about them for months.

With AppAlerts I find out immediately when something hits the App Store. I remember NBC had an anticipated Olympics app and I was really into the Olympics so I set up an App Alert. I got several alerts that matched that keyword and eventually I got the NBC one, which wasn’t really even launched until a few days before the Olympics. Without that I may have forgotten to download it, or wouldn’t have known that it was available yet.

AppAlerts is one of the original projects of a group that I created with three other investors and collaborators. We started a group called the BLITS Brothers to take our ideas and bring them to market. It stands for Because Life Is Too Short.

About three years ago we got together and had our first meeting. We spent the morning talking about all the ideas that we’ve conceived over the years and just never had the chance to do anything about.

We voted on what were the best ideas and in the afternoon we had vetted those ideas even further to determine what are the monetization options for the product, how much would it cost to get it to market, what are the competitors and that sort of thing.

AppAlerts happened to be the top idea for that first session of the BLITS Brothers. Between the four of us we each put in an investment, found the developer and gave him the specs, drew up some interface designs and shared with him what the ultimate goal was. Then we spent a few months developing the app and the website simultaneously.

We launched a year and a half ago. That’s how we ended up getting to the point of putting it into market.

When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I kind of always have. I was born in Chicago and grew up around there, then I moved to Cleveland. There was a time when I helped my uncle move to Chicago. I drove his car and he drove the moving van.

It was a really, really, really hot day. We were right outside of Lakeshore Drive, which was backed up with traffic -- it was barely moving all day long. I took out a loan from my uncle for 50 bucks, I think. I went to the store and I bought eight or nine cases of Diet Coke and Pepsi and put them all in a big duffle bag and made a sign that said, “Ice cold beverages $1.”

This was 20 years ago and a dollar was a lot to pay. But people were totally willing to pay and that day I made a ton of money. I was able to pay him back and keep some of it in my pocket too.

I just love the feeling of being able to work for myself and make my own money and make my own choices. I think that was kind of the earliest memory of knowing that that’s the direction I wanted to go.

What do you like to do for fun? What do you do to relax?

For fun, to be honest, I’m an idea guy and the whole reason we put together BLITS Brothers is because I have so many ideas and I just want to do something about them so I’m always working on a new project. I guess my idea of fun is building businesses.

I have several of them. AppAlerts is just kind of one of the projects I’m working on. I own multiple websites. I own, which is the website for Central Park in New York City. I own a photography and photo-sharing site for real estate photography called I own a website for creating and tracking QR code campaigns. The domain name is and that’s been doing well.

I have a lot of other projects going on too but those are some of the more interesting ones. I guess for fun I’m always working on something.

Outside of work I have a four year-old son and he definitely keeps me busy and he’s a lot of fun to hang out with.

For relaxation -- I just don’t use that word that much. I don’t really do a lot of relaxing. I mean, I’m not so intense that I don’t enjoy my life at all, I don’t mean that. I have a hard time -- I think it’s the entrepreneurial spirit.

I almost feel a bit of guilty if I’m not working on something, because there’s always something more to do. I don’t relax a whole lot. Maybe browsing Flipboard before I go to bed at night. It’s a great app for the iPad and so I can read, catch up on some things.

I also listen to a ton of Podcasts. Mostly lifestyle, business-type Podcasts and entrepreneurial Podcasts.

If you had all the money in the world, what would your days look like?

I could do the philanthropic answer and say that I would feed starving kids -- to be honest what I would probably end up doing is hire all of the best developers, designers, and creative minds that I know and build all the different projects that I’ve conceived over the years, because most of those projects that are on the back burner are projects that are meant to help people.

They’re to make your lives easier, to make things more efficient, more fun. Having those products in the market, it’s everything from websites and web apps to physical products. Maybe I would see all those products make it to market.

What are some of your current favorite apps?

Google Maps is one of my all-time favorite apps. I use that constantly. I love Chrome for the iOS. I use Spotify for my music. Right now I use Pandora as well, but I’m liking Spotify because I can pick exactly what song I want to hear at any time. Stitcher for listening to Podcasts and radio stations.

There’s a great app called PaperKarma, which lets you scan junk mail, like junk catalogues and it will do the unsubscribing for you if you want to get off the catalog list, which is nice because most people don’t have time to do that themselves. It’s really useful.

Facebook for the iPhone is pretty awesome. I use Grocery iQ with my wife to do the grocery list and things like that. We use that a lot together. I also use a new app called iLapse, which is for time-lapse photography. As a matter of fact I’m doing a time-lapse photography video of the snowstorm that’s coming down right now.

We’re in the middle of it and there’s already an inch on the ground but we’re supposed to get over a foot so I set up a time-lapse cam right in my back porch with a little ruler outside to show how the snow increases over the afternoon and evening.

Waze is an awesome traffic app. When you’re driving it shows you the best routes, where there’s traffic, and where there are accidents and even police activity. It’s kind of amazing.

Those are some of the ones I use most often.

What’s next for AppAlerts?

We are now working with a new development team. We’re about to launch an updated version of AppAlerts with a few bug fixes and a few features that we’ve wanted to add for a while. In terms of going forward with AppAlerts, our main goal is to get it into the market. We just wanted to see what kind of interest there was in it and to see how people use it and whether or not they found it valuable and useful and they definitely have.

Now we’re going to build upon it and one of the great things that we always wanted to be able to do and we will be able to do now is we can use the information that we get from AppAlerts and from the type of alerts that people set up to drive development of apps going forward.

If we know, for instance, that people are interested in apps about golf -- let’s say that a certain percentage of our users set up a keyword about golf for their AppAlerts, and maybe there’s a shortage of golf games in the App Store or golf apps. That will sort of give us a clue as to what types of apps people want to see.

Since we’re doing more in app development now this is going to help drive some of the products that we release going forward. We’re starting to see some patterns but we don’t have enough information yet from all of our users to really act on that information.

That’s what 2013 and going forward I think is going to bring to us: a lot more user information, a lot more user feedback, and it’s going to help drive our decisions.

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Advisors Related to the Post

Corey Cummings
Aric Boyles
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