Top Canadian iPhone App made $20 Million in 2011 [updated]

Update: Since publishing this story we’ve been contacted by a number of sources stating that the actual number is much higher and closer to $20 Million for 2011. A recent interview with Inside Mobile Apps supports this – co-founder Kenshi Araski stated that top tier iPhone developers make between $1 to $3 million per month before Apple’s cut and that A Thinking Ape is “a top tier developer on the iPhone”.

If you own an iPhone and frequent the App Store you’ve most likely browsed Apple’s App Store Rewind 2011 – The Best of the Year section.

It’s a great place to uncover useful, under-the-radar apps that you may not have come across yourself.

Equally entertaining and perhaps a little more interesting to those of you that work and live in the mobile space is the App Store Rewind 2011 – Top Sellers section as it breaks down 2010’s apps in three categories – Top Paid, Top Free, and Top Grossing.

Not surprisingly Angry Birds is #1 on the Top Paid list followed by other uber-successful 99 cent games Fruit Ninja and Cut the Rope. Leading the Top Free list is Facebook, Skype and the free version of Angry Birds.

From a purely business perspective the Top Grossing list deserves the most attention as developers focus on return on investment when building apps.

But that doesn’t mean that an app needs to have a price tag associated with it to be a financial hit. When Apple began allowing free apps to include in-app purchases, it opened the door for freemium models to flourish. And they’re doing just that, with about a third of the Top Grossing iPhone apps using a freemium model.

Included in that mix is Kingdoms at War, a free app from Vancouver’s A Thinking Ape that ranked 13th on the Top Grossing list.

This time last year we speculated that A Thinking Ape was grossing $500K+ per month from their Kingdoms at War game across all platforms including the web. But based on their App Store performance in 2011, they’re making a lot more than that now.

According to gaming business blog GamesBrief, Infinity Blade – the 9th app on the Top Grossing list – made $20 Million in net revenue in 2011.

Just four spots behind a $20 Million app, it’s safe to say that Kingdoms at War brought in at least $12 Million last year making it Canada’s Top iPhone app.

A Thinking Ape was founded by engineers Kenshi Araski and Wilkins Chung and original Facebook platform pioneer Eric Deip. A Thinking Ape has received funding from Y Combinator and also raised an angel round of funding with a group of prominent Silicon Valley angels.