Photo: Michel Guttierez
Video DownloadHelper, a Firefox plugin that lets you download Flash videos to your hard drive from sites like YouTube, has had success most startups dream of: 85 million downloads so far, and yet they’ve stayed under the radar.Video DownloadHelper is made by 4 year old company ACLAP, and it’s a one-man band. French software developer Michel Gutierrez made DownloadHelper. He thinks it’s the most downloaded French software in the world.
The app has been one of the top 2 most downloaded for the past 3 years, and gets one download per second.
And he’s making tons of money, thank you very much, over $500,000 per year with a 72% net margin, he tells us, mostly from ads on his website, donations and selling video conversion software that comes with DownloadHelper. Not bad for just one guy — plenty of people will wish they had his gig, we’re sure. And the company has raised zero outside money.
Now Gutierrez is hard at work on other tools, and wants to build a Firefox empire. Addons include PokHelper to help you play online poker, SecretHelper to hide the videos you download from your family (hmm, what kind of videos downloaded from the internet would one want to hide from one’s family? We can’t think of any reason!), and, coming soon, CouponsHelper, which would give you automatic coupons and discount vouchers when shopping online. The last one could be a big moneymaker through affiliate fees.
All in all, an amazing one-man entrepreneurial success story. Pretty impressive.
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