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Great App Idea!

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

25 Replies

Colin Bester
3
0
Colin Bester Entrepreneur • Advisor
President at Bester Designs
James, there are so many variables involved and just as many opinions. My thinking is that investors will find it easier to invest in something that can see and even more important than this is that they would want to see you having skin in the game. Also by having more to show you reduce the risk to investor and increase the value of what you bring to the table, reducing your dilution.

Good luck with your venture.
Colin
Leila Njimoluh
3
0
Leila Njimoluh Entrepreneur
MD candidate
Congrats on launching your 1st business! I've learned that finding developers is much easier if you have something visual to represent your idea. To save money, I spent 2weeks and used Keynotopia iphone wireframe kit to design what I would want the app to look like. The tool is very simple to use and only costs $39. I could send it to you via email if you want. Then take that either to possible tech cofounders, a development firm or even potential customers to get feedback.

After that decide whether you will outsource or look for a partner.

I'd delay looking for angel funding until you have done some testing on the market and have validated your idea( a la Lean Startup mode). Great business ideas are only great when customers are willing to use/pay for them.

Good luck!
James Cavalier
1
0
James Cavalier Entrepreneur • Advisor
Helping mobile marketers maximize ROI | James@Liftoff.io
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! :)


Jiemin Li
2
0
Jiemin Li Entrepreneur • Advisor
Entrepreneur and Investor
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
1
0
Aaron Severs Entrepreneur • Advisor
Product & Engineering Leader
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
1
0
Ranjit Sawant Entrepreneur • Advisor
Product Management and Marketing at Vaayoo Inc
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: [removed to protect privacy]

thanks,

Ranjit Sawant
Tyson Verstraete
2
0
Tyson Verstraete Entrepreneur
Vice President, Head of Telco & Mobility North America at SAP
How much customer validation have you done? Read The Lean Startup and Running Lean. Figure out a way to prototype your app without writing code. Customer interviews, sign up page, Facebook ads. clickable PDF's etc. From what you learn in this process determine next steps. Tyson Verstraete
Robert Clegg
2
0
Robert Clegg Entrepreneur • Advisor
Game Based Learning Expert
Hi James, I'm a developer. My prior start up ended up raising $12M during my tenure. I'm on my own now. Happy to talk if you'd like to reach out privately here.

Bottom line, unless you have friends and family putting in money on faith, investors will want to see revenue and users. If you don't have revenue, you need 1M users to show intense traction to really get investors. Significantly below that and you get a lot of kicking the tires.

Best,
-Robert
Matt Monday
2
0
Matt Monday Entrepreneur
Partner at STRV
Hi James,

About three years ago I found myself in the exact same situation as you. I was fortunate enough to get introduced to a solid CTO candidate. He and I made the decision to work on this idea full time, and I left Apple to do so.

One month into the project, he decided to leave America and move to Amsterdam to work on something completely different. For the next two years, I learned the hard way about how to build a company.

Also over that time, I leveraged my experience at Apple (in iTunes as an analyst and then the App Store as one of the first editors) to help other entrepreneurs design, build, and launch great apps.

Like Colin mentioned, there are an enormous amount of variables at this point, especially dependent on what your "app idea" is. The quickest bit of advice I have at this point is: talk to experts in the industry you're trying to disrupt and get them to tell you why your idea WILL NOT work. People are going to give you positive feedback left and right because they want to be kind, but this will not help you. Figure out what your challenges are as quickly as possible and come up with a plan to overcome those.

As these people start thinking critically about your idea, they will either want to join you or give you incredible insight into what you need to do next.

I can tell you right now, if you don't know a single developer, your idea better be deeply rooted in a precise knowledge of the problem you are trying to solve. This is a rare situation.

Longer, more helpful advice to you can only come from better understanding what it is you are trying to do, your background, your progress to this point, and a few other critical variables, like how much disposable income you have (or have access to), how strong your network is, etc.

I'd be happy to set up a quick phone call with you - and as a general statement - I know I owe the Founder Dating community a presentation on the work I do. It's coming :)

Best,
-Matt
1
0
X
Entrepreneur
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

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