Developers · Angel investing

Great App Idea!

James Cavalier Helping mobile marketers maximize ROI | James@Liftoff.io

August 5th, 2013

Hello Founders!

I have a great app idea and I am starting my first business!

I have written out the business plan, but I am not sure where to go from there. Do I find a developer and build a prototype to get funding? Do I get funding then find a developer? I need some insight into how to keep my idea flowing! I am very stealth with my idea and don't want to share it with too many people. Any insight would be greatly appreciated! 

Thanks,
James
As a founder, you’re always in fundraising mode (whether active or passive). In this course, we’ll teach you how to successfully raise follow-on capital, establish a valuation for your company, build an investor pipeline for your next round, and more.

Jiemin Li Entrepreneur and Investor

August 5th, 2013

James, If you can afford, it will be a good idea to build an initial prototype before raising funding in many ways. If you are short of cash, you might want to find someone who is interested in your idea and is willing to partner with you in order to create the initial prototype. The partner could be a skilled developer or someone with other complementary business skills and willing to put some money to fund the development. Hope it helps Jiemin

Aaron Severs Product & Engineering Leader

August 5th, 2013

I typically recommend that your first step should be to spend some time validating your idea and testing your assumptions without building anything a la Lean Startup methodology. Talking to others on FD, as well as close friends / advisors about your idea would be a great way to start, as well as help you meet a technical co-founder to bring your app to life.

If you haven't already, check out the book Running Lean by Ash Maurya, which will give you a great framework for getting feedback on your idea as you work your way towards an MVP (minimally viable product).

Ranjit Sawant Product Management and Marketing at Vaayoo Inc

August 5th, 2013

Hello James,

 As per my experience, Angels/VCs dont invest in ideas. Some mention they do but they do not.. :) . Investors need you to remove the technology risk (implement the first version) and get some market acceptance (depending on the app it can be a few thousand users). So you really need to launch your app and get some users.

 I have launched more than 20 apps for entrepreuners with great ideas successfully with no upfront costs and no big risks.  You can check our website: http://www.vaayoo.com. 

The dillemma for people who have great ideas for mobile apps is that it costs lot and they are not sure if their idea will work and become the next instagram.

Second, launching an app is just the start. You need to continuously tune and tweak it by adding and updating features to make it competitive in market. And that again costs money.

Third, after launching, you need to maintain and host it (at least the server side).

Vaayoo solves all these problems. Vaayoo has a subscription based model for mobile app development.

People with ideas come to Vaayoo and give their requirements..That's it. After that Vaayoo engages its award winning Product designers, developers to create award winning mobile app. The customer owns the app from day one. Vaayoo also helps the customer publish the app. Once published the customer starts paying a affordable monthly fee. The monthly fee also include app feature upgrade, hosting and maintainance. The customer will be in charge of marketing and Vaayoo does everything else. It is almost as good as having your own CTO and his team.

The Best part: if the app does not take off in the marketplace, the customer can stop paying the subscription fee. He can start working on other ideas…This way there is no-downside to customer.

I will be more than happy to talk to you if you are interested. You can send me email at: rrsawant@hotmail.com

thanks,

Ranjit Sawant

Robert Clegg

August 7th, 2013

Don't be fooled. Having a prototype raises as many questions as it answers if not more. Business people pretty much expect you to be able to build something, none of this is really rocket science. What happens after you build a prototype is that your prospective investors check off a little box and then begin asking other questions around sales, production, expansion, costs of development. The focus becomes - why haven't you sold it? If it's so great, why don't you have pre-orders? Is your model really scalable?

Business people are not enamored with the product or all the little nuances you think make it a block buster. Trust me - I created this video game that made inner-city kids LOVE algebra. If you had ever taught in the classroom, you would have thought you had seen a miracle when I showed you a room full of kids who were normally discipline problems caring less about math, being distractions in the classroom, and having given up on education, sitting there collaborating and playing with excitement a game that was teaching them algebra. It was phenomenal. 

Yet my presentation of the prototype was the first 5 minutes of a meeting. Nobody asked cool interesting questions about the game, the development, the insights. Instead, the other 55 minutes and every ensuing meeting for months afterwards was all about business. How are you going to sell it? Who are the customers, what are the costs? What are the price points? What's the sales cycle? 

A demo only opens the door... to a waiting room.


James Cavalier Helping mobile marketers maximize ROI | James@Liftoff.io

August 5th, 2013

I completely agree. I think that in-order to get an investor on board they will want to see a prototype of some sort. Only problem is most of my connections are in digital media/agencies/marketers. I don't know too many app developers well enough to bring them my idea and without giving away a large chunk of my business just to get a prototype built. 

I think I am more looking for an advisor/mentor who has built out an app company that would be willing to help guide me in the right direction. I am a team of one so looking for any help I can get! :)


Anonymous

August 5th, 2013

Hi James,

I know many people that have been in similar situations. If you just have a concept and cannot build the app yourself, I recommend you hire a dev team and bootstrap it yourself or with the help of friends and family. There are not many investors out there anymore that are willing to invest in just an idea (there are just too many alternatives for them). Another option that you can consider is to find individual developers or a company that is willing to build the app for you in exchange for equity. However, this is not as easy as it sounds because of the risks that the developers have to take (unless you know some developers personally). Also another issue I see here is the fact that you don't want to share any information about your app. Its difficult to get people interested or receive feedback this way.
In any case, the ideal order of action would be :
-Get developers to build a test version
-Have it tested by users and receive feedback
-Improve app by the feedback you receive
-Launch final version
-Approach investors for funding

Hope this helped.

Farhad

Todd Ellermann Experienced I.T. Leader, CTO, and Creative Entrepreneur

August 5th, 2013

Have you looked At pop app? http://popapp.in/ Do not need a developer to validate the app idea and business model. Remember a great app doesn't make a business(necessarily). Build a POP prototype and find someone willing to put their money in escrow at least validating price assumptions. My $.02 Todd R. Ellermann Director of I.T.

Michael Barnathan

August 5th, 2013

I'll also say that outsourcing is good for throwaway prototypes, but you should be prepared to hire a developer to the team for the final product (and be prepared for a full rewrite rather than an incremental improvement to the existing prototype). Outsourced code is not usually up to the same standards of quality and maintainability that a competent team member will provide.

Sean Hughes Vice President Product Development at Conservis

August 5th, 2013

Here's what I can offer based on starting my second company and raising 750K for the first one. The success rate of raising capital through a private placement depends on three factors:

1. The Entrepreneurs connections and networking abilities.
2. The stage of the idea, prototype, etc.
3. The location of the effort, startup hubs like silicon valley, new york and london invest in 'ideas' all the time.

If you are an Entrepreneur who is not personally wealthy and live in a non-startup hub (I'm in Minneapolis) your best bet is to get in Lean Startup mode as others here have prescribed. Create a team locally or remotely who will get behind your idea and work with you to deliver whatever is necessary to get paying subscribers. Eyeballs are not enough anymore, again there are exceptions for areas where scale is more important but you still wont get cash until you don't need it anymore anyway.

There are only 56 people left in the USA who write checks to startups and after two major market meltdowns finding one and convincing them to help you is next to impossible. Why do you think there are 830 new 'crowdsourcing' companies starting up right now?

My opinion is that this model is broken and that is why we are creating StarBlock.com. So that you don't have to be personally wealthy to get good ideas delivered to the market and you don't have to spend 2 years chasing down investors. Crowd ranking and model validation are the keys to knowing which ideas will make it in the marketplace (by levering the brain power of ALL of us Entrepreneurs) and validating our assumptions against reality.

Check it out at http://www.StarBlock.com!

Contact me anytime to chat or have a WebEx to talk about your idea and the best way to make it become a reality.

Sean
Founder
StarBlock.com
515-707-eighty seven thirty eight

Anonymous

August 5th, 2013

I recommend building a prototype yourself in proto.io and engaging with real customers before building anything.