Since helping launch the world’s 1st iPhone app company back in 2007, and seeing the birth of the App Store in 2008, I’ve witnessed mobile touch almost every industry. In the early days it was the Wild West, with little competition and brands flocking to make one-off campaign apps. As the industry matured, mobile first companies such as Uber and Instagram showed there’s a big difference between launching just another app, and launching “The App” for your industry. Businesses are being transformed and e-commerce, retail and consumer experiences are thriving on mobile. At Carnival we are always being asked by Fortune 500 companies, as well as leading startups, who we recommend for mobile partners, designers and developers.
There are hundreds of talented app developers in New York alone, so we’ve narrowed down the best 14 New York mobile agencies* – the ones who we’d want to work with if we were a business with an app proposal. Carnival has been fortunate enough to partner with many of these companies, so we’re happy to make an intro if you’re ever looking for a rockstar mobile partner or you’re building a new app. Don’t hesitate to reach out (email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Fueled is one of the largest and most established mobile agencies in NYC. If their experience and portfolio weren’t enough to sway you; they also host a monthly whiskey tasting at their stco-working space, Fueled Collective in SoHo. From startup apps like Afterlight, KeyMe and Dayo, through to large global brands such as Barneys and Verizon, Fueled are definitely pros.
App categories: startups, global brands and retailers
Follow on Twitter: @Fueled
SFCD designs and develops very beautiful apps. Their expertise lies in their strategic design approach and UX-driven development. You only need to look through their website, to see the quality of their work, as demonstrated by Miranda and Fontspiration. The talented team originally launched the company as SoftFacade in St Petersburg back in 2007. They rose to fame winning global awards for their icon and UX design, before growing into a full service digital and mobile agency based in New York.
App categories: media, healthcare, HR and payroll, education.
Follow on Twitter: @sfcdteam
Prolific has an impressive portfolio of top startups, lifestyle brands and e-commerce clients. SoulCycle and Lilly Pulitzer are perfect examples of where their sweet spot lies: making shopping and customer experiences seamless and easy to use. In a world where most Fortune 500 brands still don’t truly understand mobile, Prolific’s motto hopefully stands as a shining star: “The Proof is in the Product.”
App categories: startups, high-growth lifestyle brands with a focus on e-commerce
Follow on Twitter: @weareprolific
Fuzz has been around since 2001. After the iPhone launched in 2007 they saw an opportunity to be a leader in this space. They’ve developed over 200 native apps from their offices in Brooklyn and Boston, earning them a spot on this list. Highlights include Forever 21, and work with the likes of Apple, MTV, Hearst and AT&T.
App categories: retail, publishing, technology, insurance, entertainment
Follow on Twitter: @fuzzpro
WORRY FREE LABS
Worry Free Labs specializes in native health care, education and consumer-facing apps. With customers ranging from well-funded startups to enterprise level, Worry Free Labs offers expansive services from conception down to development with a focus on innovative and user-centric mobile experiences. Their Personal Running Trainer app for example, uses GPS tracking and mapping, real-time voice audio coaching to let users know when to run, when to change pace, when to rest and more.
App categories: health care, education, consumer-facing
Follow on Twitter: @worryfreelabs
A New York agency through and through, Posse works almost exclusively with companies based in the tristate area. Their portfolio includes both seed-funded startups and more mature companies, specializing in e-commerce, marketplace and location-based apps. Posse’s award-winning Shoptiques app and Sixpoint Beer Finder showcases their ability to create beautiful, user-friendly experiences despite having technically complicated backends. Their mantra fits their no-fluff approach to app development: “Some sell sizzle, we sell expertly cooked steak.”
App categories: e-commerce, marketplace, location-based
Follow on Twitter: @goposse
Messapps works with a lot of startups, having both the benefit of design and project management in New York, and an offshore development team. Different than many New York dev shops, Messapps offers marketing packages to support apps pre and post launch, helping customers think about user acquisition, retention and ongoing management. One of their favorite sayings? “Content is King, but marketing is queen & runs the household.”
App categories: social networking, games, productivity
Follow on Twitter: @Messapps
The Faction Studio team is hugely experienced in developing apps for startups to help them gain traction and acquire funding. Co-founders Jason and Kristy Curry previously co-founded and sold Worry Free Labs (also on this list), which focuses on enterprise projects. Past wins for the Faction Studio team include FitBit and Matcha – but checkout their latest project, Swiftfix, if you need your phone fixed in a hurry.
App categories: games, utility apps, retail/ecommerce, airlines, quick service restaurants, gyms, events, on-demand service
Follow on Twitter: @factionstudio
SMALL PLANET APPS
Dumbo-based Small Planet has a diverse team including filmmakers and even neuroscientists. They’ve boasted an impressive 25x #1 category apps, and their work with Disney, Time Inc. and General Motors illustrates their professionalism, design ethos and polish. Like some of the other mobile agencies listed here, they’ve recently moved into designing for the Apple Watch and appear to be a great partner when navigating new platforms like this.
Portfolio examples: Disneyland Explorer, Cooking Light Recipes Quick and Healthy Menu Maker, BHS, Chevy Baseball
App categories: entertainment, publishing, ecommerce, gaming, utility
Follow on Twitter: @SmallPlanetApps
Tendigi is another agency that calls Dumbo home. Leaders in mobile product innovation, Tendigi specializes in media, utility and on-demand service apps for early stage startups (check out Wynd for instant shipping) as well as Fortune 500s (Ford, Home Depot and IBM to name a few). Tendigi also has a product incubator for their own internal app initiatives, like the DUMBO app.
App categories: media, utility, on-demand service
Follow on Twitter: @Tendigi
BLUE LABEL LABS
Blue Label Labs develops a wide range of app types, including mobile games, health and wellness, and minimum viable products (MVP) for startups. Almost half of Blue Label’s work is with first-time app entrepreneurs, helping them to scope and create a functional prototype or MVP that they can learn from and build off (they even wrote a guide to app entrepreneurship.) They also develop apps for the Apple Watch, having recently launched a companion app for their popular pregnancy and baby wellness app for BabyMed.
Portfolio examples: GRYSCL, WordHack, Pregnancy Due Date & Fertility Calculator, Tools and Baby Kick App
App categories: mobile games, health and wellness, MVPs
Follow on Twitter: @BlueLabelLabs
Working with startups and Fortune 100 companies, Kettle develops a wide variety of mobile experiences from interactive catalogs and e-commerce to branded Apple Watch apps. Kettle designed and developed the hugely successful Mad Libs app for Penguin Random House. In 2011, the team launched one of the first successful e-commerce apps, the original Sephora iPad app. Combining seamless buying and social browsing, it became the #1 free app on iTunes.
App categories: e-commerce, branded apps, business, entertainment
Follow on Twitter: @kettlenyc
DOM AND TOM
Dom and Tom is a team of mobile experts, having developed over 80 mobile apps for finance, publishing, and e-commerce clients alone. Founded by two brothers (twins), Dom and Tom Tancredi, and based in the Financial District, they are a full service digital agency with a skilled design team. They work in a wide range of areas, from utility apps, retail, travel, to secure payment platforms.
App categories: utility, retail, travel, payment platforms
Follow on Twitter: @Dom_and_tom
Lounge Lizard specializes in range of digital services, including strategy, websites and app development. Different from others on this list, Lounge Lizard excels in home automation apps like HVAC control (eg, check out their Honeywell Total Connect app.) Other projects include peer to peer gaming, social and fashion apps.
App categories: home automation, gaming, social, fashion
Follow on Twitter:@LoungeLizardWW
Interested in partnering with Carnival? We’d love to work with you! Learn more about our Mobile Agency Partner Program here.
*Note this isn’t an exhaustive list and only includes New York headquartered mobile agencies. It does not include large digital agencies with multiple headquarters across the globe.