Ilja Laurs, founder and CEO of GetJar

Serial entrepreneur Ilja Laurs currently holds the position of chief executive of the world’s largest open mobile application store, GetJar, which he founded in 2005.

As of May 2009, GetJar boasts a portfolio of 46,000 mobile games and apps and serves 35 million downloads per month through its own site and its network of partners, including carriers such as Vodafone, and vendors like and Research In Motion. The company offers a global distribution and payment platform to a base of 350,000 developers, from one-man shops to established brands like Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

The app store caters to Java-based devices and targets Symbian, Windows Mobile, iPhone, Palm, BlackBerry, and Flash Lite-compatible phones. Most recently GetJar has announced partnerships with Virgin Mobile France, 3UK and Sony Ericsson.

According to research carried out across 14,000 European consumers by industry analyst Forrester, close to a quarter of online European consumers now regularly access the internet from their mobile handsets, creating new opportunities as well as new confusion for brands unsure about their target audience and mobile strategy. A year ago, the segment of European online users regularly accessing the internet from their mobile phones was only at 20 per cent.

There is a sprint race on in the industry at the moment that pits vendors, operators and platform developers against one another for leadership in the application store space and the resulting place on the consumer relationship podium. Laurs’ has built a firm that could give a number of runners a boost.

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