You’ve taken your idea for a Mobile or Web Application and nailed down exactly what the functionality is, what each page looks like and does, any integrations…and you think you’re ready. You need a working app if you’re going to show investors something and have a chance at raising investor funding. So what next?
A very common strategy to get things done in the startup world is to use equity. Incubators do this often. The thing is: lots of people – especially those of us who have been around for a while – are tired of this. Well…we’re tired of what I’ll call “tech beggars” where a wannabe entrepreneur who hasn’t taken ten seconds to research what they want to do comes and insults you with a paltry offer of equity (usually for a MASSIVE responsibility) for a crappy idea in a small market where there’s a big dog already. Yech! If you want someone to be interested in your equity: they need to really be interested in your project.
And there are actually quite a few developers that are interested in “side gigs” – lots of computer programmers are quite entrepreneurial at heart.
Once you know what your App’s requirements are, technically: a good idea is to often shop it around. Run it by a few professional application development shops and consultants – maybe an offshore shop – and get an idea of a development time-frame and a budget. I suggest this for a couple reasons: 1) If it’s a small project and you’re a really clueless founder: a smart developer can’t tell you he’s worth way more than he is when you know it’s just a $30k 3-week project, and 2) You have an idea of how long it would take a pro, so you can be a better leader in setting milestones…if you’re a bit more tech savvy.
As a Founder, why would you want to give away equity if you can get your MVP done on your credit card? Maybe you don’t want to give away equity. Maybe you want to preserve it and the bootstrap financing path (Founder’s personal resources/credit cards) is the best path for you.
But here’s the thing with Software (which you know if you’ve built software before): it changes. Regularly. Your application’s design, functions, layout, and other things will change – like the things it’s connected to. Operating systems. Plugins. Themes. API’s. Pretty much everything will change at some point…but you’re an entrepreneur, so no problem, right?
If you’re a non-technical founder, we suggest either hiring or somehow negotiating to have a solid technical consultant/co-founder around and on board with your mission. Someone or a Team that will benefit when you do. You’re in the startup world, bro’ – if they help you turn nothing into something and you make a ton – make em rich! It’s the least you can do, and it will make your life way easier and give you as a founder the peace of mind that you probably envisioned when you took the leap into entrepreneurship. If you have a competent tech team: you can take a vacation.
Speaking of pitching Apps to developers: that’s what I’m doing on May 30, 2019 in Boulder, CO at Galvanize for an event put on by www.Nextcept.com for one of our portfolio companies: www.CirculatorPro.com