Moazed scored his first major client in late 2009, when NBC saw an ad he posted on Google and hired him to develop an app for its TV show The Biggest Loser. The finished product worked beautifully, allowing users to watch clips of the show and track their own calories, and returned about $100,000 for a few months of work. Moazed never even met the NBC people in person: “I don’t think they ever knew I was a college kid,” he says.
After graduating, Moazed moved back to his parents’ Greenwich, Connecticut, home, and landed contracts with education giant Pearson and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He asked for 15 to 25 percent of his fees up front; a few employees worked in rented cubicles in Manhattan before Applico opened a full office there. Moazed finally got his own apartment, two blocks from the office, in 2011. Today, Applico has 50 employees, satellite offices in Los Angeles and Boston, and some big clients, including Google and AT&T.
Moazed remains skeptical about accepting money from investors. Applico is more of a specialist developer now, after starting off as a general contractor. If he had to answer to investors, “I don’t know if we could have made that jump,” Moazed says. “It’s hard to do new things with people hovering over you.”