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From Lunch to Launch: AppFolio's Journey to Software Brilliance


AppFolio makes a great example of how even the most unusual of ideas can blossom into a prosperous business!

A simple lunch between two good friends turning an ordinary idea into an extraordinary accomplishment!

For Klaus Schauser and Jon Walker, nothing felt unusual in brainstorming business ideas, as they nurtured a common desire - to build the ultimate in-demand software company. Of course, both Klaus and Jon were well-aware of the blood, sweat, and tears they'd need to pour into their baby project, but hesitation was never on their menu, and that paved their way to worldwide recognition!

What is today known as AppFolio - one of the most thriving software companies in the world - is a pure example that, sometimes, it takes years to become an overnight success!

So just how genius was the idea of creating AppFolio in the first place?

Let's dive deeper into Klaus and Jon's AppFolio journey: from an incognito brand to software service brilliance. Read the story here:

Klaus Schauser: AppFolio's Chief Strategist Genius

Klaus Schauser isn't an American if you couldn't already tell by his name. Nonetheless, he does love America quite generously. Interestingly, Klaus has always had a certain fascination with all-things USA, and this familiar feeling grew even stronger when he first came to study and work in the States. The German was born in 1963, and even though a huge young fanatic of the Land of Opportunities, Klaus initially began his education in his homeland.

However, soon after comparing the quality of educational programs in America and Europe, Klaus figured the former has always been his childhood dream, and now - if he wanted to- he could live it, too. It wasn't long before Klaus packed his bags, bought himself a ticket to ride, and moved to the home of the brave to make it big.

Now a proud California local, Klaus soaked up the sun and lived a quiet yet fulfilled family life. Aside from co-founding AppFolio, Inc. Klaus has also launched a few other relevant businesses throughout his career, including Citrix Online LLC, Experticity, Inc., and AppleTree. Klaus also serves as a board member in both AppFolio, Inc. and UCode, Inc. and is also a professor of computer sciences at the University of California.

As far as AppFolio is concerned, Klaus has once reported that he took pride in having created a company that magnificently impacts the world of software and allows him and his team to build a variety of products that customers fall head-over-heels with.

For a number-one leader in software-as-a-service applications, Klaus does sound like one modest fellow - and that's the key to his success!

Johnathan Walker: From Basketball Player to Software CEO

Also referred to as Jon in his line of business, Jonathan Walker had an equally important role as Klaus in founding AppFolio. In 2006, the idea of AppFolio was ripe and ready to happen. What excited Johnathan the most was the process of building a potent brand and the journey of assembling his own business empire.

Unlike Klaus, Johnathan was a California native and showed incredible athletic skills from very early on. Especially talented in basketball, Jonathan picked up the sport and stuck to it all the way through college. Intriguingly, it seemed that basketball helped incept a sense of responsibility and discipline in Jon, and provided him with a great sense of direction of business management. Driven by the idea of leading and running a business of his own, Jon abandoned the sport he so loved and reflected his love of working hard for what he wanted.

Working for a run-of-the-mill company did not fulfill Jon as much as he hoped. The next best thing he could do was come up with an idea of his own. Jon very well knew that Klaus was the only person he could debate business opportunities with, so he scheduled a lunch for two, and the rest is history!

Apart from being AppFolio's co-founder, Jon has also been serving as the company's Chief Technology Officer ever since its launch.

As a reputable technology executive with a knack for designing state-of-the-art software products, Jon's two-decade business journey made him a chief technology officer at Versora, a senior technologist at Nortel Networks and Xing Technology Inc., as well as a member of the Advisory Board at Landmark Global Inc. As if that is not enough, Jon also wears the hat of a Contributing Editor at LinuxWorld Magazine and has earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Westmont College.

Inspired by Changes

Even there were a ton of obstacles when the internet was still in its cradle, as far as Klaus and Jon were concerned, however, it wouldn't prevent them from taking the necessary risks in launching their business.

Both Klaus and Jon were right to think of success in such a manner, knowing the fact that there is not a single successful tech company today that hasn't relied on smart software solutions. As you might imagine, convincing then-entrepreneurs that the Internet makes a promising field to invest in wasn't understood like today.

Exactly those reasons were the trigger for Klaus and Jon to do something different, to create awesome changes in the revolutionary business that was coming. They were able to predict the demand of the SaaS and web-based business process.

Driven by the thought of creating business process management software for different vertical markets, and inspired by the changes it could make, Klaus and Jon developed an idea and a pursuit of achieving it! The duo wanted to debate about the business opportunities that the new platform would bring, so after the pleasant lunch they had, they were determined to launch the idea and named it AppFolio - a property management app with a great web-based software!

And yet, it all paid off in the long run!

The idea of providing professional software and data services to real estate clients seemed an intelligent one. As most businesses were strangers to using the internet Klaus and Jon put in extra efforts to explain the main purpose and necessity for launching an application such as AppFolio.

Before you know it, AppFolio grew into one of the most ground-breaking companies in the world of property management and smart software app solutions for vertical markets worldwide. The realization of AppFolio was logical and profitable, with great efforts and dedication, the team of two knew success was not an impossible concept to pursue, and that it could expand to immense proportions!

The Great Purpose

In 2006, Jon, along with Klaus, founded AppFolio with the mission to revolutionize the way businesses grow and compete, by incorporating digital transformation.

AppFolio provides property management software, intuitively designed to delight its clientele through smart automatization. In essence, AppFolio also enables users to run their business while bringing their business vision to life through cloud-based software, which helps customers market their products more efficiently.

The company relies on talented and agile staffers that understand the importance of paying attention to the customers' needs and delivering the desired service in return.

With offices in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, and Boston, AppFolio stood the test of time in its business field and continues to be fuelled by a range of satisfied and loyal customers worldwide.

Stocks and Funding

Over the last 6 years, insiders have traded over $180 million worth of AppFolio stock. In addition, these purchased a total of 4,041,857 units, worth a staggering $53,468,847. AppFolio Inc executives and independent directors trade stock every 17 days, with the average trade estimating $12,763,852. Let that sink in for a while.

Nevertheless, while the figures are downright impressive and admirable, AppFolio has never really been in it for the cash.

Looking at AppFolio from today's perspective, there could easily be a different moral to take out of its success story and a peculiar business lesson to be learned while at that – even the most unusual of ideas can blossom into prosperous, profitable businesses!