The Best Home Automation
Apps To Make Your Life Easier

Over the last decade, smartphone apps have allowed us to advance the progress of systems and processes that hadn’t changed in years. Twenty years ago, no one ever thought you’d be able to take your phone out of your pocket at work and view the real-time security footage of your home. Today however, that’s only one of the benefits of turning your home into a smart home using home automation. Now, millions of people around the world are also using home automation apps to do things like reduce their home energy usage and run their entertainment systems.

And let’s not forget the greatest benefit of all… home automation apps are just downright freakin’ COOL. For those of us who remember The Jetsons cartoon, it’s like the future is now among us.

It’s not going anywhere, any time soon, either. According to CNET, more than a quarter (28%) of Americans already own at least one smart home product – and 78% are more willing to buy a home that already has smart technology installed. Furthermore, the smart home industry is growing year by year at an exceptional rate and is projected to become a $58 billion industry by 2020.

With mega-companies like Amazon, Google and Apple investing major dollars into the home automation space, innovative developers have brought many amazing home automation app ideas to reality; some which allow our homes to do things that were once only seen in sci-fi movies.

In this article, we’ll explore the evolution of smart homes and introduce you to several home automation apps that can turn your home into an automated machine!

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Home Automation Explained

Home automation simply refers to the connection between your smart device and your home which allows you to control your home remotely; whether through your phone, through the web, or through a smart-enabled speaker like Google Home, Alexa or Apple’s Homepod.

The home automation industry is widespread with all types of new technology hitting the market – there are even smart toothbrushes and smart flip flops available… a truly limitless technology sector. However, some of the most popular home automation apps and technologies are those that allow consumers to:

  1. Control their home’s lighting.
  2. Adjust the internal temperature of their homes.
  3. Manage and control electronic appliances.
  4. Operate their entertainment systems.
  5. Implement and access security systems.

If you haven’t converted to complete home automation yet, you likely must be physically present and manually interact with your home devices to complete these tasks. By replacing your old devices with smart devices and using home automation apps however, these tasks can be launched and completed with a simple tap on your smartphone or a quick voice command.

Home Automation Explained

The key benefit of home automation is that you don’t have to be physically present to manage these tasks. You could be on vacation in a country on the other side of the world, and still interact and control your smart devices. Who said you can’t be in two places at one time?

The Best Smart Home Apps

When it comes controlling your smart home, here are the home automation apps you need to know about.

1. myQ Smart Garage: Total Control Over Your Garage

home automation - myQ

How many times have you pulled out of your garage in the morning only to get to your job and think, “Did I put the garage door down?” Your garage is an integral part of your home, and for some, it’s where many expensive items may be stored – including lawn equipment and vehicles.

Our garage door is something that we don’t always think about, but luckily, the technology now exists to manage it for us. Chambain, a garage door manufacturer, recently created a brilliant app that completely automates your garage. Here are some of its most notable features:  

  • Check the status of the smart devices inside your garage and your home. For example, myQ allows you to see if your garage door is open or closed; check the temperature on the smart thermostat(s) in your house; and identify which lightbulbs are on or off.
  • Get instant notifications when an activity happens on any of your smart devices. For example, get instant alerts when the garage door opens or closes, when a light bulb is turned on or off, or when someone changes the temperature on your thermostat.
  • Control your garage doors or lights remotely and set automatic schedules so that your garage opens and closes at a predefined time.

This app controls the MyQ Smart Garage Door Openers and other Wi-Fi-enabled garage door openers. In addition, it can be synced to other smart home products including smart lights and smart thermostats from a variety of other smart device brands.

2. Nuki Smart Lock: Your Virtual Keyring

Home automation apps for smart homes - smart lock

We’ve seen many changes in the world over the last century, but the lock and key system has rarely changed. Do we really even care for the concept of keys? We have to carry them everywhere, they are easy to get lost or stolen — and if you want to get a copy so someone else to access, you have to go all the way to the hardware store to have one made. Let’s face it – house keys are ancient.

The company, Nuki, understood the importance of making a more efficient key/lock process, so they created a smart app that you can use to unlock the doors in your house remotely – without having to carry a key. With Nuki, your phone becomes the tool that gives you access to your home.

In the world of home automation apps, what makes Nuki special? Here’s a few awesome features of the Nuki Smart Lock app:

  • Auto Unlock: As soon as you leave home, the app automatically locks all ‘smart lock’ doors in your house. Likewise when you come back, Nuki automatically unlocks them. Never touch your house’s keys again!
  • Give Access To Your Loved Ones: Create an access code within the app that you can share with anyone that you want to give access to your residence. This way, you can grant them access to your home for a specified amount of time – even if you’re not around to hand them your key.
  • Get Real-Time Alerts: Any time someone unlocks or locks any Nuki-enabled door, the app will notify you.
  • Remote Operation: No matter where you are in the world, you can lock or unlock your door with one tap from your smartphone.

The Nuki Smart Lock app controls the Nuki Smart Lock + Smart Bridge, which can be attached on top of your current lock to achieve remote functionality. To check whether the Nuki lock is compatible with your existing lock, take a look at their Installation Checker.

3. Philips Hue: Limitless Lighting For Your Home

smart home apps - philips hue

The Phillips Hue app allows you to control the entire range of Philips Hue smart bulbs. Their Smart Bulbs can showcase over 16 million colors and can be dimmed or brightened remotely.

Here are a few cool features of the Philips Hue app:

  • Control every Philip bulb in your house: Change the color of the light output, set the level of brightness and set specific times that you want the bulbs to turn on or off.
  • Change the color of bulbs according to ‘moods’: The app has four moods that you can choose from such as Energize, Concentrate, Relax and Read.  These “moods” change the bulb colors from either crisp and bright or warm and soft depending on the setting.
  • Transform your rooms with ‘scenes’: The app has 30 scenery lighting presets designed especially to replicate lighting from famous locations. These settings include Honolulu Sunset and London Nightlife, among others.

In addition to these features, the Philips Hue app automatically turns on your lights when you reach home, and turns them off when you leave. Not only are these features ultra cool, they also help you minimize electricity usage and reduce your utility bills – providing users of this home automation app with a great ROI.

4. Nest: The App That Protects Your Home Completely

best smart home apps - Nest

Nest is known as one of the most innovative companies in the smart device sector. They create a variety of products that are meant to protect and automate your home. Currently, the Nest app focuses on developing devices such as smart cameras, smart doorbells, thermostats, alarm systems, and smoke + CO alarms.

The Nest app offers a variety of effective features that allow you to control and take advantage of their products. With the app, you can:

  • See who’s at your door through the app and let them in (or lock them out) remotely.
  • Monitor your home through security cameras to see what is happening inside and outside your home.
  • Control your thermostats or check the temperature inside your home.
  • Receive alerts if there is an unusual amount of smoke or carbon dioxide detected.
  • Receive instant notifications when the Nest alarm goes off.

The best thing about the Nest app is that it serves as a central hub where you can control all of your Nest smart devices – essentially, handling all of your home automation from a single application.

5. Sonos Controller: Smart Music for Music Lovers

Smart home automation - sonos

If you are a music fanatic, today’s technology allows you to build the  epic smart entertainment system that you only dreamed about in the past. The Sonos Controller app connects wirelessly to Sonos speakers and allows you to control music throughout your home.

Once connected to your speakers, the Sonos Controller app allows you to:

  1. Play music, audiobooks and podcasts from 50+ music streaming services within a single app.
  2. Control each individual speaker in your home and have them play the same (or different) music. Also, the app allows you to adjust the volume settings on each individual speaker.

The Sonos Controller app is the only app that streams music from all major streaming platforms like Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon Prime and more. Music is no longer limited to a single radio in your house – now you can automate your music too, and control output through your entire home in a way that was never before possible.

6. Samsung SmartThings: A Central Hub For Home Automation

smart home automation apps - smartthings

We all know Samsung as the innovators of home devices in general – TVs, DVD players and many other home device accessories. Samsung is also a leader in the smart home automation market; bringing new smart technology with advanced solutions through their app, Samsung SmartThings.

This app goes beyond the capability of most home automation apps, not only allowing you to control devices such as cameras, locks and thermostats – but also giving you control over Samsung appliances like TVs, washing machines and air conditioners.

In addition to supporting Samsung devices, the app also supports a host of other smart devices from more than thirty brands – giving you the ability to control everything in your home from water valves to entertainment systems and more.

Furthermore, SmartThings allows you to automate specific processes so they happen at a certain time. For example, SmartThings can automatically:

  • Dim your lights when you leave home.
  • Turn your AC off when you walk out the door, or change the temperature on your smart thermostat when you come back home.
  • Notify you when there is motion in your home or even when a cabinet door is open or closed.

If you plan to make a serious investment into home automation, Samsung SmartThings provides a single hub where the entire automation of your home can be controlled.

Notable Mention: IFTTT  

home automation apps - ifttt

IFTTT (If This Then That) was one of the very first ‘automation’ apps to hit the market.

At inception, it was just meant for automating processes between apps. For example, any time you uploaded a photo to Instagram, you could set up IFTTT to automatically tweet that photo as well. IFTTT allowed you to setup simple processes with existing apps – creating new smart functions without needing to know how to create an app.

As new home automation apps and smart devices started to release to the market, IFTTT expanded its capabilities to automate processes not just between two apps – but between apps and smart devices as well. Unlike other home automation apps, IFTTT allows you to create your own unique automations between your apps and smart devices. For example, with IFTTT, you can set up automations to:

  • Put your Philips Hue bulb on a specified color loop when you message #partytime to @IFTTT on Telegram.
  • Set your Google Assistant to call your phone every time you use the command, “OK Google, find my phone.”
  • Blink your Philips Hue bulbs every time someone mentions you in a tweet.

Some automations may not make sense for other people, but that is the beauty of IFTTT – you can create the automations that are important you in particular. There are hundreds of ways that users are currently connecting IFTTT to create their own custom automations.

Is Automation Right for Your Home?

In today’s high innovation environment, there are many companies currently experimenting with new home automation apps and smart home technology. Over the next few years, we can definitely expect to see new automation capabilities with unique and interesting app ideas hit the market that aren’t available or even possible today. Yes, technology and home automation is moving THAT quickly!

Is Automation Right for Your Home

If you’ve got an open mind, a love for technology — or maybe you’ve always wanted to be in the Jetson family — home automation may be right for you. How do you start automating your home? Start slow and purchase a single smart item – maybe start by automating your home lights or your alarm system. As you add on new smart products, look for the right home automation apps that help these devices speak to one another, sync to one another, and work together to perform the tasks that you find important!

Have a home automation app idea that you think could make the lives of homeowners easier? Contact one of our app startup specialists to help you create a strategy to bring it to life!

These 7 Blockchain Startups
Might Transform The World

No matter what you feel about all the new talk of blockchain and cryptocurrency, there’s no denying the facts. Blockchain technology – and the first moving blockchain startups that are introducing it – is going to be huge. The projected value of the industry is extreme. New reports by the Market Report Center estimates that the global blockchain market will grow to a $60 billion industry, up from the measly $300 million industry it was in 2015.

With huge projections come huge investments. This year alone, blockchain startups have already raised over $1.3 billion to bring their ideas to the masses.

Big VC investment means the ability to introduce new technology quickly. While many only know blockchain as the technology behind Bitcoin, blockchain companies are now set to disrupt over 42 big-time industries including real estate, healthcare, internet advertising and more. All facts considered, it’s no wonder that many blockchain technology advocates are claiming it to be the next big thing since the internet.

Before we introduce several blockchain startups that may just change the world, we’ll explore the concept of blockchain, the process behind it, and figure out why it’s such a big deal.

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Blockchain: A Simple Introduction

Blockchain can be extremely complex, and it could take years to really learn everything there is to know. Let’s not make things more complicated than they need to be – here’s a simple explanation.

A blockchain, like the name implies, is simply a chain of digital blocks that contain specific data. Each one of these blocks include the following three elements:

  1. Specified Information: This can be any mix of specified information that is needed to suit the requirements of the blockchain. For example, in a  Bitcoin blockchain, a block stores important information such as sender name, receiver name and the amount transferred.
  2. Hash Code: A hash code is a unique code that identifies a specific block within a blockchain. Like fingerprints, each hashcode is completely unique; no two are the same and each has its own individual identity.
  3. Hash Code of Previous Blocks: Each block also holds the hash code of the previous block attached to it. This is how a chain is linked and formed in a blockchain.

This structure of organizing and storing data is what makes blockchain so secure, so flexible, and so different than other technological advances that have preceded it.

The interesting part of a blockchain is that it isn’t managed by a single person or organization. Instead, blockchains are distributed in a P2P network that anyone can join. Once a user joins a network, they receive a full copy of the blockchain. This means that on a P2P network like the Internet, there are millions of identical copies of blockchain stored in users’ computers.

Finally, there’s the security aspect, which is a key element of blockchain. To change the information in a blockchain, a user must possess the corresponding digital key – a heavily encrypted code. Once changes are made, a certain number of users in the P2P network must accept that change in order for it to be accepted as valid.

what is blockchain company - diagram of blockchain and hash

When these changes have been accepted, a new block is created within the blockchain which includes:

  1. The new information
  2. A new hash code
  3. The hash code of the previous block before it.

A new copy of the blockchain is then distributed throughout the whole P2P network.

If someone tries to make changes to the block without having access to the digital key, two things will happen:

  1. The hash of the block that has been tampered with will change and the next block after it (which stores the hash of the previous block) will be unable to identify it – essentially, breaking the entire chain.
  2. Because it has been tampered with, the blockchain will no longer match other copies on the P2P network, ultimately rejecting the change.

Since blockchain offers a new level of security in storing data, blockchain startups are using it to introduce new solutions that completely change how many industries operate. In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 awesome blockchain startups that may just transform how their industries function.

Could These Blockchain Startups Change The World?

blockchain startups to invest in - po.et

1. Poet: The Startup Determined To Help Content Creators Take Back Control Of Their Content

Po.et is a blockchain startup that wants to transform the digital publishing industry. The mission of this unique blockchain company is to:

  1. Give content creators and publishers more control over their content – and protect it from being claimed, modified or reused without permission.
  2. Provide a safe marketplace where publishers can buy (and content creators can sell) original content without having to worry about whether it is unauthentic or unauthorized.
  3. Prevent content from being stolen by giving everyone the ability to track the ownership, attribution and modification made to each piece of content throughout the blockchain network.

Po.et’s plan is to give creators and publishers the ability to store their content in its decentralized network. Users can timestamp their work and add metadata to documents so that anyone can easily trace the content’s ownership to its rightful owner and/or  creator.

Using this same blockchain network, Po.et also wants to make creators’ content more easily discoverable and streamline their ability to license their work. Transactions between publishers and creators are made inside the blockchain network, ensuring complete transparency regarding who owns what content.

Last June, the blockchain company secured a seed funding round of $1 million, with another $10 million raised a few months later through their successful ICO (Initial Coin Offering).

startup blockchain compaines - lucidity

2. Lucidity: The Startup That Wants To Eliminate ‘Fake Traffic’ For Advertisers

As the online advertising industry continues to grow, the concern about the potential of fraud and non-transparency grows in parallel. In 2017 alone, malicious activities such as fake clicking, domain spoofing, and attribution theft cost advertisers over $19 billion.

Blockchain startup, Lucidity, has a solution to potentially solve this problem for digital advertisers around the globe.

By using the Ethereum blockchain network, Lucidity has created the ‘Lucidity Protocol’; a process which allows anyone publishing an ad to submit data to the blockchain network, protected by cryptography and free from inconsistencies.

This way, publishers and advertisers get a single version of the truth about the performance of ads; a truth that is agreed upon by everyone within the blockchain network.

Through this protocol, Lucidity ensures that advertisers only pay for genuine clicks; that publishers get paid their fair amount; and that fraudsters are unable to cheat the system with fake traffic and bots. If successful, Lucidity could truly transform the advertising industry and save them from billions spent in wasted advertisements.

Lucidity was named the top blockchain startup by Blocks, an annual awards ceremony held at the Blockchain Expo which is attended by over 8000 visitors.

top blockchain startups - covee

3. Covee Network: The Startup Connecting Talented Workers To Projects They Actually Want To Work On

A high percentage of American workers are dissatisfied with their jobs because they aren’t interested in the projects they work on, or feel as if they aren’t being compensated fairly. As a result, organizational morale is down across many companies and productivity is diminished by demotivated employees that deliver the bare minimum of what is required of them.

That’s why Covee Network, a Berlin-based startup wants to change how we work, and how we are compensated for the work we deliver. By using a blockchain network, Covee hopes to connect talented and like-minded people to work on projects that interest and inspire them.

This process creates a win-win situation for both organizations and employees/freelancers. Organizations on one hand, are given access to a pool of talented individuals who actually want to work on their projects; while workers are able to access interesting projects and receive a fair compensation.

With Covee, compensation is awarded based on how much an individual has contributed towards a project. In general, contribution is decided by the project initiator and the other team members. The system is designed so that honest feedback amongst team members provides benefit to everyone involved. Thus, the person who had the highest contribution receives the biggest share of the fee.

The entire process is managed inside the blockchain network where an individual’s reputation, contributions and projects are stored and cannot be tampered with. In addition, transactions between clients and workers are also transparently stored to avoid fraud and unfairness.

The bootstrapped company recently raised a €1.35 million round to further develop the solution. This round was led led by LocalGlobe, Atlantic Labs and several other prominent angel investors.

blockchain startups 2018 - open mineral

4. Open Mineral: The Startup Eliminating ‘Middlemen’ From The Commodity Industry

The commodity trading industry deals with the purchasing and selling of physical materials like aluminum, zinc and etc. These raw materials are shipped from miners to suppliers, and from suppliers to consumers around the globe. The value of this industry today is estimated at an upwards of $80 billion.

The main issue this industry faces is the many layers of middlemen; which delays the speed of transactions and drives up the prices of commodities.

Open Mineral, a Swiss-based blockchain startup hopes to improve this ancient industry by implementing blockchain technology; making transactions more transparent and connecting buyers directly with sellers. Ultimately, the startup’s main objective is to provide the required technology to completely eliminate unnecessary middlemen from the commodity trading process.

This blockchain startup makes trading easy by simplifying the process down to the following steps:

  1. A request to sell or purchase a product is specified.
  2. Sellers or buyers get invites and offers for the product.
  3. Offers can be compared and counteroffers can be made.
  4. Buyers or sellers pick the best terms and start the transaction.

In addition to cutting out the middleman, Open Mineral also removes the involvement of banks so that anyone can make and receive payments within minutes through their blockchain network. This way, trading is more profitable for all parties involved since tenders, negotiations and all payments are stored transparently within the blockchain.

Having just received a funding round of $2.25 million, Open Mineral is one of the top blockchain startups in Europe; with plans to soon expand into other commodities including gold and silver.

blockchain startups 2017 & 2018 - Unblockable

5. UNBLOCKABLE: The Startup That Wants To Digitize Sports Card Trading

If you’ve ever been interested in buying and trading sportscards, a new blockchain startup called UNBLOCKABLE is coming to take your favorite pastime to the next level.

The biggest attraction to sports card trading is the scarcity factor. The rarer the card, the higher the that card’s value will typically be. UNBLOCKABLE plans to release limited ‘tokens’ for every single athlete from different leagues and sports. These tokens can be collected and traded with others. The value of the associated coin changes in real time based on the popularity of the athlete and their performance on the field. Just like sports cards, these coins can be stored or traded as they accumulate value.

UNBLOCKABLE tokens are stored in the blockchain, and similar to Bitcoin, the sports tokens cannot be duplicated or stolen. This is because all of the transactional data is stored in the decentralized blockchain network to ensure transparency and to prevent fraud.

UNBLOCKABLE is currently being led by CEO Jeb Terry, a former Fox Sports executive. Additionally, the Company recently raised $5 million dollars from Shasta Ventures to help the startup progress forward.

blockchain startup in usa - bext360

6. Bext360: The Startup That’s Helping Farmers Produce Value for Produce

Coffee, cocoa, palm oil, seafood and etc. – these are the commodities that rule the world. People can’t live without them; yet, the small-time farmers around the world who produce them often don’t get paid fairly or on time for their work. A blockchain startup called Bext360, has an innovate strategy to address this issue.

Bext360 plans to use blockchain to make the whole commodity supply chain completely transparent. More specifically, it allows anyone to view the complete ‘journey’ of a specific commodity; from the farm where it was produced to the company that delivered it as a consumer product.

Here’s how it works – take coffee, for example:

  1. The beans are first scanned ‘optically’ through an AI enabled machine (referred to as a “BextMachine”) that is provided by the Company. This will automatically scan and display the weight, consistency and quality of the beans to both the farmer and the buyer. This same scanning process will also be used with other commodities to judge their value.
  2. Using the Bext360 app, both parties can negotiate a fair price for the batch based on weight and quality. This gives farmers the opportunity to get paid more for higher quality yields.
  3. Each batch is assigned a token. As a batch of coffee moves through the supply chain, its value is reflected in its token. These tokens can then be used as digital currency.

With this technology, Bext360 plans to make payments fairer (and faster) to both farmers and companies; reduce dependency on middlemen suppliers; and provide each customer with the opportunity to see whether their product was ethically sourced or not.

The company just raised $3.35 million and plans to increase the number of commodities that it can analyze; extending the process to other goods including cotton and timber. At the rate in which they are currently progressing, Bext360 could soon become one of the world’s top blockchain companies.

blockchain startup for games - EON

7. EON Foundation: The Startup That’s Changing How Developers Bring Games To The Market

No matter how awesome a game is, game developers often find it difficult to effectively grow their user base. In a typical scenario, game developers spend nearly 50% of their revenue on ad networks to attract new players.

EON Foundation, a new blockchain startup focused on the gaming industry, plans to use blockchain technology to effectively address this challenge.

EON hopes to cut out the mobile game industry’s middlemen like Google, Facebook and the App Stores. Specifically, the technology will connect players directly with customers to eliminate unnecessary distribution and reduce the astounding marketing costs incurred by game developers.

To do that, EON is creating a decentralized blockchain marketplace that’s attracts new players through a referral system.

Here’s how the system will work:  

  • Game developers can distribute their game for free on the EON blockchain network.
  • Players can discover these games and pay for them using the EON token.
  • Game developers can offer incentives (tokens) to players who recruit new users to the game.

This brilliant concept allows both players and game developers to directly communicate and facilitate with each other without depending on app stores and ad networks.

One of EON’s games, Crypto Alpaca, recently hit 200,000 registered users and the company hopes to use this momentum to become the world’s number one blockchain games publisher.

The startup received $5 million in seed funding to bring this gaming marketplace to the public. If you know how to create an app or a game, the EON gaming network may be exactly what you need to get your game into the hands of users.

What’s Next For These Blockchain Startups?

While the potential seems fantastic, there is a caveat – blockchain technology is still in its infancy. With the exception of a few blockchain companies, most find themselves taking small baby steps to grow and turn their visions into reality.

That being said, you can expect that the growth of blockchain technology will soon bring many interesting app ideas to the market. Right now however, the majority of these companies are focused on their initial coin offerings (ICOs) and creating a stable blockchain network.

If any of these blockchain startups have caught your attention and you want to support them, head over to Binance and grab a few (or a few hundred) tokens and see where it takes you! On the other hand, if you have a blockchain idea that you believe will change the world and you need some help bringing the technology to life – contact our app startup experts to see how we can help!

7 Unexpected Apps That Made Millions

There’s one thing that’s common among all successful apps, it’s that they have the ability to secure investment and create wealth for their founders and stakeholders. However, not many app developers and tech startups make it to the top, and unfortunately, not all of them are making millions from apps. There’s a major difference between apps that made a few thousand dollars before fizzling away and apps that made millions. Some apps only offer a momentary solution to a problem, but the apps that really take off are those that provide their consumer with a continuous solution that draws them back over and over again.

In the past, the apps that made millions were mostly those that served an extremely mass audience – serving millions of people with low per customer value; and producing extreme profits as a result. Tinder, for example, is a multi-billion dollar company that serves an extremely wide market (singles of any type), while there are also several niche-focused Tinder clones (like Bristler – the dating app for those in love with facial hair) that are successful in their own right; but will likely never meet the mass scale of Tinder.

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Tech startups like Tinder were made for mass scale adoption, and from it’s initial introduction, it wasn’t much of a surprise that it quickly went viral. However, some apps that made millions did so unexpectedly – maybe they were made for a specific or niche market but caught on with the masses, or maybe started off serving one type of consumer but was able to expand to other customer segments.

It’s hard to believe that Facebook wasn’t originally made to be the social media conglomerate that it is today. In the earliest stages, it was simply just a site that showed the faces of Harvard students and allowed other students to rate them. Was it luck? Not really. More so, it was the ability to recognize an opportunity and capitalize on it that made Facebook take off.

Not every idea will turn into an app worth a million dollars; every startup won’t raise investor funding; and very few will be the next Facebook – but what does it take to build software that makes the most money? To grasp what is necessary for success, it’s a good idea to look at the journeys of apps that made millions (and raised millions), and especially, those who originally didn’t seem as if they were multi-million dollar ideas. In this article, we’re going to examine 7 of our favorites, and give you the insights you need to launch the next million dollar startup!

1. Slack

App that made billions - Slack

Today, Slack is king when it comes to team communication solutions. Founded by Stewart Butterfield, Slack is a cloud-based set of collaboration tools and services that allows teams to streamline their communication and collaborate more effectively. Slack is now used by millions of teams around the world – but it didn’t really start that way.

Initially, Slack was developed as a side project to help the team at Tiny Speck manage their cross-team communications during the development of the game Glitch (now defunct). While their main project no longer exists, the tool they built for their internal team ended up being exactly what other internal teams needed too.

Originally founded in 2009, Slack has raised over $790 million in investor funding over 10 funding rounds. While many other tech startups exist in the collaboration and productivity sector, Slack is most notable due to it’s ease of use, flexibility, ability to integrate with other apps, and its effectiveness across teams both small and large. Slack will soon move from our apps that made millions list to our apps that made billions list – they are projecting revenue of $1 billion within the next year!

Insights: Slack’s minimal viable product was their internal software, which they found to be extremely effective for team collaboration. If you want to create an app that makes millions, you’ll need something that’s more than “cool” – you will need to create something that truly improves the user’s experience. Look at the problems that you face in everyday life – what solutions could exist that would solve or ease those issues?

2. IFTTT

simple apps that made a lot of money - ifttt

IFTTT is a website that puts the internet to work for you. The acronym stands for “If This, Then That”; and seeks to automate tasks by connecting all your internet-based services.

IFTTT launched into the automation sector at the right time. It’s first applications were built by the Company’s founding team in 2010. At this time, the Company’s founder described IFTTT as “digital duct tape if you will, allowing you to connect any two services together.” With the solution, you could take any two services and use them together to create processes that the original creators didn’t specifically intend.

By 2012, IFTTT users had already created over 1 million tasks. During this same year, the Company integrated with Belkin WeMo devices to officially enter the “Internet of Things” space which vastly expanded their capabilities.

Today, IFTTT supports over 360 different services including Facebook, Twitter, Philips Hue, Dropbox, Google, Nest, Fitbit, BMW and Slack. Each year, hundreds of new services are added to the platform. These integrations allow users to automate an infinite number of processes – such as lighting an app-controlled lamp when a Facebook notification is received. To date, the startup has received funding of approximately $62.5 million. By 2014, the Company was already valued at $210 million – with it’s valuation growing considerably each and every year. Although the app has not yet identified a business model, user activity has proven its value to investors – who are lined up to invest into the potential of the app! Even without revenue, this company is definitely one of the most clever software ideas that made people rich. When the community is big enough, even startups with no revenue can become one of the apps that made millions!

Insights: IFTTT was initially built to connect two services together, but today, users are able to connect multiple software and hardware services together to create almost unlimited numbers of tasks. Your startup might not end up being what you first thought it was going to be. The key thing is to find a problem, create a minimal solution, and then let your users tell you what they really want through their usage and behavior.

3. Segment.io

simple apps that made millions - segment.io

Segment.io was initially introduced to the market by three MIT roommates who dropped out of college to participate in Y Combinator’s summer 2011 program. In the beginning, the team was focused on building a competitive solution to Google Analytics or KISSmetrics. However, they found it difficult to get users to adopt their solution as opposed to their much more established competitors.

In their search for the right solution, they built up a library called Analytics.js that combined all the analytic services and APIs together. An open source version of this library was released on GitHub. Co-founder, Peter Reinhardt said, “The open source version started growing by itself, so after a couple of months, we decided to pivot and build what people seemed to actually want: a beautiful, simple analytics API.”

As of today, Segment.io has raised $108.7 million in funding over 6 financing rounds. Although Segment’s revenue is not made public, they have stated that “Today more than 15,000 companies rely on Segment to process 80 billion end-user actions a month.” Without a doubt, Segment is one of the successful million dollar mobile app ideas that are worth talking about! 

Insights: Sometimes, what you think customers want isn’t really what they want. It is important to keep your ear to your market to figure out exactly what they are looking for, and indenify the gaps that other competitors aren’t servicing. When your original idea isn’t working out, figure out why, and pivot!

4. Magic

apps that made people rich - Magic

In today’s world, on demand is all the rage. Whether it’s on-demand restaurant delivery or on-demand ride sharing services; consumers of today want the effortless ability to have the world at their fingertips. Magic was created to fill this void by providing a 24/7 SMS based on-demand personal assistant service; literally allowing users to do anything on demand.

Magic was founded by Aaron Kemmer, Benjamin Godlove, David Merriman, Michael Rubin, Mike Chen, and Nic Novac in 2015. Magic combines artificial intelligence and virtual assistants with real people to create an on-demand service that seems almost limitless. Here are a few query examples that the company shared on their website:

  • “I left my credit card at a bar. Can you pick it up for me and bring it to my hotel?”
  • “Rent me the cheapest economy car at DFW airport for Sept 11-12, starting 7pm.”
  • “My anniversary is tomorrow, and I want a photographer to take pictures.”

Today, Magic has established a working app business model; charging around $35 per hour for their on-demand services. Their user base has opened up to serve corporate clients also – acting as a personal assistant for busy executives. Magic secured an initial seed funding amount of $125,000 and has since raised over $12.6 million.

Insights: Many startups are able to grow their revenues considerably by taking one solution and opening it up to other markets. Identify what target market you will serve, and also consider secondary markets that could benefit from your solution.

5. SafetyCulture

ideas that made people rich - iauditor

SafetyCulture is an app startup that aims to solve problems related to workplace safety and quality management. While the issue of health and safety or quality management may not sound like an exciting multi-million idea; those who manage these processes are in high demand for effective solutions. SafetyCulture uses a unique collaborative safety model, where workers can create and share new ways of working safe. SafetyCulture’s application, iAuditor, has now been used to conduct over 3 million safety inspections globally. The company also released SafetyCloud, which helps users manage data collected in the field.

SafetyCulture is an Australia-based company that was founded in 2004. In 2013 however, it is assumed that they made a huge jump in innovation and fundability – as they began raising a high level of capital; now equal to over $87.6 million.

Insights: App success doesn’t come overnight. In many cases, the original idea won’t be super successful and success comes after many pivots are made. Serving a niche market doesn’t mean your app can’t make millions, but it does mean that you need to really become the industry expert and learn what it would take to serve them in the most effective way possible.

6. Curefit

most profitable apps - curefit

Curefit is described as an “end-to-end solution that will enable users to take full control of their health to improve the quality of life and reduce long-term healthcare costs. In India, healthcare is estimated to be a $280 billion market by 2020. In response to this, founder Mukesh Bansal created a total solution that wraps preventative healthcare up into one app. By managing their health proactively through a suite of service offerings, users can reduce the risks of long-term chronic illnesses.  

So far, Curefit has raised over $55 million and is in the process of potentially securing another $75 million in their current round. The business currently has a revenue run rate of $15 million and recently acquired a stake in the Bengaluru-based fitness startup, Cult.

Insights: If you’re going to enter a crowded space, your app needs to really stand out. There are enough dating apps, on demand apps, events apps, etc. – what really makes yours any different? Curefit was able to combine several software products into one to create an end-to-end solution, whereas competitors were only offering management of a single health-related process. Your USP should be clarified, and you should only enter the market after you have clearly defined you competitive advantage.  

7. SignalFx

apps that made people rich - signalfx

SignalFx is a monitoring platform for modern infrastructure that was founded in 2013. The company collects metrics across the cloud, provides powerful visualizations and offers advanced monitoring services. Their major advantage is that they are able to deliver a consolidated real-time visualization of infrastructure, services and applications.

SignalFX was developed by two founders with impressive backgrounds. The Company’s CEO, Karthik Rau’s background included positions at Delphix and VMware; while CTO, Phillip Lio, spent 4 years working at Facebook as a software architect. Liu told TechCrunch, “I worked on the infrastructure team at Facebook. I built a lot of configuration monitoring tools.”

A common theme amongst apps that made millions, is that they’ve also raised millions to progress their software. To date, the company has raised a total of $103.5 million and is continuing to invest aggressively into their research and development.

Insights: There’s nothing that ensures a successful startup journey than solid experience. The founder’s backgrounds gave them a major advantage in operating their business and raising capital. If you want to know what it takes to run an app startup, go work (or intern) for one! At minimum, partner with an app incubator, as this will give you access to mentors who know exactly what it takes – helping you avoid obstacles that can be costly in both time and money.

Do You Have A Million Dollar App Idea?

A million dollar app idea means very little without excellent execution. One common thread about successful apps is that they launched into the market, learned exactly what their consumers were demanding and pivoted their businesses wherever necessary.

Lean startup methodology is the key to building apps that make millions. The first step to building a successful app is to launch your minimal viable product and begin validating your assumptions – or identifying where pivots are necessary. If you’d like to learn more about how to make millions from apps and how to position your startup for success, contact us today for a free consultation!

What are your favorite apps that made millions? What million dollar mobile app ideas do you wish you came up with first? Tell us about it in the comments below!

ThinkLions Named As One Of The Best App Developers in Detroit!

The mobile app industry is arguably one of the most competitive industries in the world. With such intense competition, it is important to make your app stand out from the crowd. Here at TH!NKLIONS, we partner with our clients to do just that – and thats what makes us one of the best app developers in Detroit.

Our expert designers and developers work to not only efficiently develop apps but ensure the app is set up for success once launched. We are excited to announce that our hard work and transparency with clients has positioned us as a leader on the Clutch platform.

Clutch is a B2B ratings and reviews site based in Washington, D.C. Their platform allows business service providers and business buyers to connect and be more successful together. Clutch conducts reviews both over the phone and online to gather details regarding the project itself, client satisfaction, and impact of the engagement. The clutch methodology ranks different service providers based on these verified client reviews, industry expertise, and overall market presence.

What are our clients saying on Clutch? Testimonials from our client reviews are highlighted below:

“They were efficient, thorough, completely transparent, and easy to work with.” – Project Coordinator, BKB Properties

“ThinkLions became our technical partner, and was instrumental in the foundation and growth of our end product.” – Founder, The Beer Exchange

“It’s useful to me to have someone that I can explain to; they get the vision, and they can get something done from it.” – Owner, Yves Couture

We currently stand as a leader on the Detroit Mobile App Development directory with an average of 5 star ratings (out of 5).  To read our clients’ full reviews, visit our Clutch profile.

Best App Developers in Detroit - ThinkLions Review

There are several reasons why our clients have ranked us as one of the best app developers in Detroit, and as one of the most effective software companies in Michigan.

First, building an app is only one piece of building a successful software startup. We don’t just understand technology – we are also an app startup consultancy agency that has helped hundreds of app entrepreneurs during the app funding and development stages. We know what it takes to get your app built, and more importantly, we know what it takes to make it succeed. From funding to fruition, and beyond, our team has helped clients around the world bring their app ideas to reality.

Second, we know that Detroit is the next center of technology, and we strive daily to position ourselves as a helping hand in the establishment and growth of the Detroit apps, software and technology scenes. Our constant push for excellence is inspired by our desire to show the world just how brilliant Detroit really is.

As one of the fastest growing tech companies in Detroit, have been ranked as:

We look forward to hearing more about what our clients have to say and our continued partnership with Clutch in 2018! If you have an app idea and are ready to bring it to life, we would love to talk to you about how we can help. Contact us to set up a free consultation today!

Do You Have What It
Takes To Be a Successful
App Entrepreneur?

If you’re looking for an easy path in life, give up on your dreams of being an app entrepreneur right now. The potential for app entrepreneurs is endless, but the roadway to get there is certainly full of obstacles and roadblocks. Even with a great app business plan and pitch deck in tow, sometimes it’s difficult to navigate the world of app startups. While the successes like Uber and Tinder make us believe that anyone can achieve the “Great App Success Story” dream, the truth is, the vast majority of apps that begin development – never reach the App Store.

Let’s face it, not everyone has what it takes. Bringing an app idea to reality, and then to success, is much different than working a normal job or being a non-tech business owner. It takes a special type of innovativeness and dedication that, frankly, most people don’t possess. The good news is, for those who do possess certain qualities, the potential for success as an app entrepreneur may be very high. So, what does it take? In the following post, we will explore 10 questions to ask yourself and identify whether or not you have what it takes to win at being an app entrepreneur!

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1. Can You See Problems That Other People Don’t See?

The key to successful app entrepreneurship is simple innovation. Sometimes, an app like Uber will change an entire industry, while an app like Toggl simply streamlines time-logging. However, the one similar factor among every successful app entrepreneur is that they introduced innovation to their niche market, in some particular way.

Successful entrepreneurs are able to identify problems and develop the solutions that eliminate these problems. The only difference with app entrepreneurs is that they figure out how to approach these challenges using smartphone/tablet/computer devices that are accessible to everyone. There are a million apps on the market; an entrepreneur’s app will only survive if it is unique, different, and able to solve a problem better than existing competitors – and competitors who will launch in the future.

Solution:
If you’re not someone who can identify problems and solutions easily, it’s not the end of the world. Expand your mind by reading books by successful entrepreneurs to start developing a problem-solving mindset. The better that you are able to identify the problems that other successful app entrepreneurs are solving, the easier it will be to start identifying real problems on your own.

2. Are You Developing An App or An App Business?

While the opposite seems true, apps don’t just become successful on their own. Just because you know how to launch an app into the App Store doesn’t mean you know how to launch a successful app business. Successful apps have teams behind them that understand startups, know how to build interest in their product, and know how to manage the growth of their business as new users begin downloading their app.

Developing an app is only one small portion of building a successful app startup. Once it’s built and launched, now what? It’s a mistake to believe that people will use your app just because it exists – true app entrepreneurs know that once their app is launched, the battle only just begins.

Solution:
If you know nothing about building, running and growing a business, you will find it extremely difficult to succeed in app entrepreneurship. In this case, find mentorship – someone who has launched an app before; a group of other new entrepreneurs who can share new things they learn; or a startup accelerator that can introduce you to people that can help you progress your app dreams.

3. Do You Have An Actionable Plan?

Many people are excited about having a great app idea, but really, an app idea on its own means very little. Ideas come a dime a dozen. The element that separates successful apps from those that slowly fade away is great execution of an actionable plan. Successful app entrepreneurs have researched their markets well and understand exactly how they will launch their app, how they will get it out there, and ultimately, how they will profit from their idea.

When an app entrepreneur approaches an investor, they have a plan in place. The plan is so solid, that it is easy to understand how the investor’s money will immediately allow the business to meet its objectives – as detailed in the plan that they are presenting.  

Solution:
There are a lot of angles to cover when planning out the execution of the launch, establishment and growth of your app idea. Consider working with a team of business plan developers to create a professionally written business plan for your mobile app concept. By hiring the right team, you can learn about your market, your industry and your competitors; and can uncover new opportunities that you may not have initially realized.

4. Do You Have Perseverance?

Overnight success is a thing of app entrepreneurs’ dreams, but in real life, reaching app success is a day by day fight — not one giant win, but a ton of small achievements that eventually compound to reach massive success. In this business, only the unstoppable have a chance. No matter your situation, you WILL run into obstacles while building, launching and growing your app. How you handle and respond to those obstacles will be a major determining factor in your success as an app entrepreneur.

Solution:
There’s no solution for perseverance, dedication and commitment. Either you have it, or you don’t. The key to perseverance is confidence, and one way to build confidence is to research your market thoroughly and ensure that your app is really what the market needs. It is a lot easier to stay the course when you know without a doubt that your solution is exactly what your market is looking for. If you know that your app idea has what it takes, and that YOU have what it takes, make it up in your mind that nothing will stop you from moving forward – no matter what. App success isn’t one big jump, it’s many small steps, sometimes taking a step backwards to take two steps forward.

5. Can You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?

There’s a widespread myth amongst new app startup entrepreneurs that all they need to bring to the table is a great idea. From there, an investor will take all the risk by giving them $1 million so that they can launch their app next week and be rich next month. None of it is true.

The only way you will get out of paying to launch at least a minimal viable product (MVP), is if you are a developer, or you have a committed developer on your team. If you watch just 3 episodes of Shark Tank, you’ll realize that no seasoned investor is going to risk their money on an unproven idea. Only after (at least) a MVP has been launched into the market, and tested with successful results, will investors begin to see the potential in the solution you are proposing.

That being said, the first few steps are most likely going to be financed by you, or by your team. If you aren’t willing to risk your money on your own dreams, why would you expect someone else to risk their money on your dream? 

Solution:
Some people have funds saved that they can allocate towards launching their app, or have enough disposable income that it isn’t difficult to find the money needed to launch their idea. However, this isn’t the case for everyone, and some new app startup entrepreneurs may have to get a bit creative. Let’s be real, this is the type of industry where only the strong survive. How can you afford to launch a bare-bones app if you don’t have any funds? Sell stuff that you don’t need anymore, pick up extra shifts or get a second job, start a small service business on the side, rent your house out on AirBnB, drive Uber and Lyft — the point is, do WHATEVER it takes!

6. Do You Believe?

As mentioned, app entrepreneurs are visionaries – they see things that other people can’t see. In the real world, someone who sees something that no one else sees, is considered a crazy person. In your journey for app startup success, people around you will doubt you. Your closest friends and family will tell you that your idea won’t work. Individuals that you look up to, who you are excited to tell about your ideas, will poke holes in everything you say. Even when no one sees what you see, in the app business, your belief in yourself must stand stronger than ever. Some people will only believe it when it’s tangible, and even then, some people will have doubts.

Solution:
As an entrepreneur, it is important to network with other entrepreneurs. Involve yourself in groups and events where you can meet other people who are launching businesses and apps. In other words, balance the doubt by having a strong network of likeminded individuals who are also visionaries; who can pour positivity into you and dilute the doubt that may arise from the comments of naysayers.

7. Will You Take The First Step?

There’s a huge difference between the number of people who have app ideas, and the number of people who bring an app to the market. In my opinion, probably 99% of people who have app ideas never even take the first step to building their app. You would be surprised at how many times I’ve mentioned a hugely successful new app, just to hear someone say, “I thought about that same idea 2 years ago!” Thinking about an app idea, talking about an app idea, dreaming about an app idea… these mean nothing if you never take the first step to actually bring that idea to life.

Building an app is like working out. The first few workouts hurt, and most people can’t stand the pain and quit before they ever see a result. For the dedicated however, they understand that the discomfort means growth, and as long as they are growing, they will likely be “uncomfortable”. Every day, they move closer to their goal – one step and one workout at a time.

Solution:
Take a step. Register your business name, draft a business plan, draw up a wireframe, or have a logo created. There are a million first steps you can take, but the important part is that you take one… and then another… and then another… until you have reached your goal!

It’s All About You

As you can see, there are many obstacles that an app entrepreneur will face as they journey through the app startup and app development process. However, the biggest obstacle any entrepreneur will ever face? Themselves. The wall of doubt, the panic of fear, and the anxious uncertainty – these can be dream killers. Do you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur? Sure you do. As long as you can prevent yourself from getting in your own way!

Ready to take the first step towards bringing your app idea to reality, but don’t know where to start? Contact us to speak with one of our app startup experts for a FREE app startup consultation!