He was responding to the law firm Kenyon and Kenyon from New York. Its lawyers had served AppDupe with an order to “cease and desist” selling an App clone called “Date Sauce” that seemed to look and work like Tinder.
“Jokers,” he calls them during the course of our coffee conversation at a café in Egmore, Chennai. “They have no other job but to send such legal notices. We don’t care a hoot anymore. Do they think they have invented dating or what?”
Now, wait just a minute.
Why would Kenyon and Kenyon even bother about a company based out of Chennai? What makes this fledgling startup, which has only now grown to 18 people, the focus of such attention?
The story gets interesting as Arjun from AppDupe and also others from another company Zoplay, also from Chennai, talk about their business model. On the surface, it looks morally ambiguous but in fact is a clever solution for small entrepreneurs.
AppDupe and Zoplay work on a simple premise: they sell web and mobile application scripts that duplicate the popular chart-topping services like Uber, Tinder, WhatsApp and AirBnB.
For a price ranging from $49 to 199, their clients can white-label the product, customise the apps and get a service running in almost no time. Their catalogue of plug-and-play apps include Uber for laundries, Uber for movers, Uber for Tow Trucks, Flipboard clone, Netflix clone and so on.
One of AppDupe’s clients is based out of California that used their “Uber for X” code to set up a service connecting dog owners with dog walkers. That company last year raised funds in seeding rounds to the tune of $2.5 million after showcasing the native Apps during their rounds of funding. Another one of their clients is the logistics player Li-Fung who aim to bring Uber-like comfort for their clientele. (AppDupe was able to disclose the name as the client does not have a non-disclosure agreement.)
App duping or web script cloning, Arjun Subburaj says, is a well-established business model. There are companies like theirs and Zoplay not just in Chennai, but also based out of Ahmedabad in Gujarat and several more in Russia.
One code, many clients
Arjun calls himself a “hopeless tech addict”.