How To Start A Tech
Company Using Lean Startup

Launching a tech company of any type is an intimidating process. First-time entrepreneurs often have no idea how to start a tech company, they just have a great idea and a desire to win. Unfortunately, a great idea isn’t enough. There are many steps between the idea stage and the rapid expansion stage; and if you aren’t clear on what those steps are, you can quickly become overwhelmed with the process and give up.

While not making it to launch sounds like the worst thing that can happen when developing your startup, there’s actually something worse that can happen. You can spend tens of thousands (or more) on app development, only to launch your tech and find out that nobody wants it. A tech startup can be a major success, but if launched without covering the right bases, it can also be a major waste of time, money and effort.

Fortunately, there is a process for building a great tech company, and it follows the principles of Lean Startup. Ready to launch your software business? Here’s what you need to know about how to create a tech company using lean startup.

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What Is Lean Startup?

Lean startup allows a tech company to constantly advance the development of their software, while radidly learning more and more about their customers, their challenges and their desires

If you thought the only steps to creating a successful software solution was to build it and launch it, your strategy is hugely flawed. There are many really cool and interesting apps in every app store that no one ever downloads and no one ever uses. Those who know how to start a tech company know that a company isn’t successful because they have a cool product; they are successful because they have the right product for the right audience, and are backed by the right people.

When you launch a full-scale software solution, you inherently make several assumptions. Even with secondary industry and customer research, you are still only making an educated guess as to:

  • Who your consumers really are.
  • What problems your consumers are actually facing.
  • What type of solution your consumers are searching for.
  • How much your consumer is willing to pay to solve their problem.
  • Whether enough people experience the problem to make a successful business.

The true intentions of a startup is to answer these questions using real consumer data, and to validate each and every assumption as you build your product. Instead of figuring out that you built the wrong thing after you built it, the right strategy will help you identify weaknesses and errors in your startup plan before making serious investments into the wrong areas.

This is the value of adopting a lean startup process, and why those who know how to start a tech company often adopt this strategy. Lean startup incorporates a build-measure-learn feedback loop – launching software in small iterations, testing it with real consumers, analyzing the data and proving the concept at every turn. What’s the major advantage? If at some point during the measuring process you learn that consumers aren’t responding as you assumed they would – you can pivot immediately instead of continuing to develop something that they don’t want.

As much as we’d like to think that our idea is the perfect idea, this is often not the case. Facebook in 2018 is incredibly different than it was in 2006. If they built the perfect product, why would they continue to change; adding new features, changing features, and deleting others? Because people change, the market changes, the competition changes, needs change – and when they do, your startup better change with it if you plan to stay in business. When you know how to start a tech company using lean startup, you can adapt and remain flexible with the market – using data to lead you. Lean startup allows a tech company to constantly advance the development of their software, while rapidly learning more and more about their customers, their challenges and their desires. As you learn exactly what your customers want, you can more accurately serve them and always ensure that you are delivering the software product that they are most likely to adopt.

 

How To Start A Tech Company In 6 Steps

Launching your first-version software doesn’t have to be a long and difficult process. Sure, developing technology can be challenging and there are many variables; but with an agile development and lean startup process, you can minimize the time and risk associated with launching a startup. Here are six steps to launching your tech company the right way.

 

1. Minimize It To The Core Features

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the whole city didn’t have to be built for a few families to make it their home. Likewise, your software doesn’t have to include every feature under the sun before you launch it. In fact, launching a feature-filled software solution is the most risky approach to software development. Instead, minimize your concept to just one or two core features – the features that you believe will help users solve their specific problem most effectively. Typically, users aren’t going to adopt every feature a software offers – the ones that they don’t use will ultimately become a waste of the effort it took to build it. The better approach is to test the market with only a few features, prove the concept, and then build the next set of features after validating exactly what the market is demanding.

However, when you have your mind set on what you want your software to look like, it can be challenging to decide which features are actually “core”, and which ones are additional frills that aren’t necessarily critical to the functionality of the software. Follow these three steps when seeking to minimize your technology to its core features:

  1. Define your target market: Your technology might serve multiple customer types, but initially, it’s best to focus on just a single target market. Selecting a narrow audience will allow you to intensify your focus on a specific consumer sector and penetrate that particular niche – instead of going head on against more established solutions. Draw out your ideal user – How old are they? What do they do for a living? What do they read and watch on television? Where do they live? What is their income? Most importantly, what problem are they facing?
  2. Create a storyboard: Plot out how individuals will use your technology; each step that they will take as they journey through your solution. Think of how they will use each feature, and how each feature will help them solve their problem. Consider the primary goal of your technology, then write out the user flow – this will help you determine all the features of your tech concept. Prioritize these features – which are truly necessary to meet the primary goal and which could be eliminated without really affecting the user’s end goal?
  3. Remove non core features: Once you’ve determined which features are low priority, remove them. Your solution should now only include a few features that make up the entire user flow; but if it still has too many, create a new storyboard and prioritize again to see if there are additional steps that can be eliminated to create a true minimal and viable product.

 

2. Get To Market With An MVP

Now that you have a first-version software concept that is minimized to only it’s core features, it’s time to prove your concept. Getting to market quickly is key, and it’s not always necessary to even build the technology fully before launching it. There are several different types of Minimal Viable Products that you can consider, but the one you choose should be based upon the goal of your test. Here are the most popular minimal viable product types:  

  • Smoke Test: Build a landing page, send traffic via ads, and measure how many people sign up.
    • Goal: To test user interest.
  • Pre-sell: Launch a crowdfunding campaign and measure how many people donate.
    • Goal: To gauge user interest and raise funds.
  • Concierge: Perform services manually; giving clients a hands on service before automating it with technology.
    • Goal: To create new ideas, generate feedback and collect data about consumers.
  • Wizard of Oz MVP: Make it look as if the features are automated, when really they are manually performed behind the scenes.
    • Goal: To test assumptions about product and customer behavior.
  • Piecemeal MVP: Take a pre-built technology and customize it to perform the necessary functions.
    • Goal: Prove concept before making a larger investment into product development.
  • Single-Feature MVP: Develop solution with one or a few core features and launch it to the market.
    • Goal: Gain traction and validate feature assumptions   

 

3. Attract Early Adopters

Once your minimal viable product has been launched, it’s time to start attracting users. You don’t have to go all out and spend tens of thousands of dollars on advertising your app – but instead, send a limited number of users to the application in testible numbers. A couple hundred users can give you incredible insight into whether you are on the right path, or whether you are building something that the market doesn’t want. Even a small amount of users can give you humongous amounts of information. There is no point in sending tens of thousands of people to your solution if you haven’t even proven that you have built the solution that they want.

  • Self Promotion: You’d be surprised how many startups gained the first handful of users because the founder simply just put in the necessary hands-on work to acquire them. Tinder’s founders for example, posted flyers around campuses and told people about the app at local campus bars. If you can identify individuals that would benefit from your technology, contact them – tell them about your solution and explain to them how your solution would solve their specific problems. One hundred handshakes could be the first domino in locking in your first one thousand, one hundred thousand or even one million users.
  • Communities: Becoming active within online communities can provide great access to early adopters and industry influencers. Platforms like Reddit offer categorized sub-channels where you can communicate with other individuals that are interested in a specific subject. The key to succeeding in any online community or forum is to not go in with an attitude of selling something. Instead, be helpful and showcase your expertise about the subject to assist others with their questions. Become an active part of the community. That way, when you do post about your software, people will know who you are and you won’t seem like a greedy self-serving startup that is spamming the network.
  • Influencers: You don’t always have to convince a million people to try your software. Sometimes, you can convince one person who has a large audience, and let them do the persuading for you. Part of knowing who your consumers are is knowing who they follow – authors, blog writers, YouTubers, industry experts and etc. Try to build relationships with these individuals. Allow them to test your software for free, and ask them to review it. Keep in mind however, your competitors are probably also contacting them asking them for the same thing. Just like when dealing with communities, figure out how you can offer something that benefits the influencer – before asking them to do something that solely benefits you.

 

4. Evaluate Data

There is nothing that will tell more about your solution, strategy and user than cold hard data. Everyone pays attention to the number of downloads and the amount of revenue the sofware is generating, but these aren’t the only app metrics that matter. There are many other metrics that should be analyzed frequently, including but not limited to:

  • Active Users: It doesn’t really matter if you have 1,000 users if zero are actively using it. Both Daily Active Users (DAU) and Monthly Active Users (MAU) are important to analyze. DAU tracks how many users actually open up and use the software in a single day while MAU tracks how many use the software over the period of a month. Unlike total sessions, each user is only considered a single time, as opposed to counting the same users over and over if they sign in multiple times throughout the day or month.
  • Average Visit & User Behavior: These metrics allow you to analyze how long users are staying on your software and what they are doing while they are there. Average Visit gives an average of how long a user session lasts, while user behavior tracks what pages they visit and how long they stay on each of those pages. To learn more about user behavior, it is a great idea to use heatmaps and screen recordings. These tools allow you to see exactly what users are looking at, focusing on and clicking on while using your software.
  • Retention Rate: Just because you’re able to get people to your app, doesn’t mean that they’ll continue to use it. Retention rate lets you know how many users you’re able to retain over a set period of time and how many you lose or ‘churn’. Retention rate helps you identify the relationship between your marketing initiatives (how well you are attracting people to your software) and your engagement strategy (how effectively you are getting people to engage with your software).
  • Ratings & Reviews: Solutions that are able to sustain over the long-term are those can maintain great ratings and reviews. Software and app solutions operate in a very competitive space, and no matter what great things a company says about their products; it will never have the same effect as what other users say about it. Ratings and reviews are subjective metrics that can have a major influence on how successful a software solution becomes. You may be getting a great deal of traction today, but if you aren’t receiving a bad rating average – you may find it extremely difficult to get even a single new user in the future.
  • Cost Per Acquisition: Attracting customers to your app may not be worth it if it’s costs an insane amount to acquire them. If your per customer acquisition cost is more than your customer spend; you’ll operate at a loss and may find it extremely difficult to continue to sustain your business.

The numbers tell the true story of your business. If you don’t know the statistics, then you definitely don’t know how your business is actually performing. One could assume that they are on track because they see new downloads coming in each day, but they may miss other numbers that tell the real story – like a high customer acquisition cost or an extremely low retention rate. Most of all, the numbers behind your business tell you whether you’re on the right path, or whether you’ve made a mistake in your assessment.

 

5. Pivot Or Persevere 

In the optimal and ideal situation, you will look at the data and everything will be going as expected – acquisition costs will be low, everybody that downloads the app will use it for months and months, you’ll get fantastic reviews, and your tech startup will become the best solution in your industry within a month’s time.

Does this sound too good to be true? It is.

What will most likely happen is that some of your assumptions will be validated by the data, and it will be proven that some of your assumptions are flawed. Discovering that some of your initial assumptions are incorrect is to be expected, and it’s not a bad thing. Each time you are unable to validate your assumption, you are given an opportunity to make a shift and find exactly what your consumers are looking for. Each time you prove or disprove an assumption, you have the opportunity to do one of two things – pivot or persevere.

When the data shows that your assumption was correct, the only move that makes sense is to persevere or stay on course with what you are doing. To know whether your data proves your assumption, you should have goals set in place – what conversion rate you expect your marketing campaigns to convert at, which features you believe users will use the most, how long you believe users will use your app during each session, how many weeks or months you believe they will continue to use your software before they churn, and etc.

On the other hand, when the data shows that users aren’t responding to your software the way you assumed they would, a pivot is likely in order. A pivot simply means to adjust to a new path, and hopefully, a more successful path. Let’s say for example, you find that you many users download or trial your software, but that they only stay on the software for a minute or two before exiting. In a case like this, there is likely a reason for this behavior. Some possible causes of this could include:

  • Users were interested in the marketing message, but the solution did not meet their expectations.
    • What can you do to fix it? Change the marketing message to better reflect the actual solution, or change the solution to match the marketing message (which may reflect what users really want).
  • Users found it too difficult to use or navigate the software and left in frustration.
    • What can you do to fix it? Work on a better user experience or provide better education on how to use your software.
  • Users ran into a bug and weren’t able to perform the intended actions.
    • What can you do to fix it? Identify the bug and fix it.

The whole idea of a startup is to find out what solution your consumer is really looking for. By running tests and choosing to pivot or persevere based on real data – you can ensure that you are building software that really has the potential to succeed.

 

6. Scale Everything

After testing and testing, using data to make the right pivot/persevere decisions, and building a solution that is a hit among early adopters; it’s now time to scale it to the masses. Since your marketing plan has already been tested and validated, you should be able to amp up your campaign and draw in more and more users.

In many cases, it’s at this stage where startups will begin seeking initial seed funding. With user data in hand, startups with a validated solution have a much stronger investing position than startups that are only coming to the table with ‘cool tech’. These startups not only prove that they know how to create innovative technology, but also that they know how to start a tech company with a strategic and well-planned approach.

 

The Most Important Step in Launching Your Startup

In essence, these six steps will help you build the perfect product with an agile and lean approach. Putting them all in action however, can be much more difficult in practice. Actually, building a lean tech startup is much tougher than simply just writing a list of features and having a developer build out. Launching a lean tech startup means slowing down the development process, releasing in small iterations, testing each iteration along the way, and bringing on customers in small increments. The upside is, at each iteration, you strengthen the potential for success of your concept and decrease the risk of failure.

The most important step – is taking a step. You can research how to start a tech company, and come up with an awesome software concept; but if you never commit yourself to taking the first step, you’ll never see it through to fruition.

We’d love to help you bring your tech company to life. Our startup consultants have worked with hundreds of app startups around the world. Ready to take the first step in bringing your app idea to life? Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our tech startup experts!

How To Create A Dating
App That Doesn’t Suck

There was a time where it was uncommon, and even a bit weird, to say, “I met a great guy/girl online!” In some cases, meeting someone online even seemed a bit taboo. To stir the pot even more, at some point someone figured out how to create a dating app for smartphones – and finding love moved from online to the palm of our hands.

Today, online and mobile dating is a natural part of our culture. According to The Knot, online dating is now the most common way of meeting for engaged couples. But let’s face it, there are almost as many dating apps on the market as there are daters; and out of all of them, only a handful are able to secure more than a couple thousand users.

If you’re looking to launch a startup in the mobile dating sector, I’ll be honest… you’re facing a tough challenge. There’s a very thin line between great dating apps and cheesy dating apps, and a disappointing ratio of dating apps that succeed to those that don’t. The good news is, if you know how to create a dating app startup the right way – you can drastically minimize your risk of failure. There will be a next greatest dating app, will you be the one to create it?

In this article, we’ll explain what you need to know about creating and developing a dating app, and specifically, we’re going to explore exactly how to create a dating app that doesn’t suck.

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Why Dating Apps Suck

First, let’s clear something up – not ALL dating apps suck, just most of them. Also, not all of them suck for the same reason. There are some apps out there that have millions and millions of users, like Tinder and Bumble. Some others serve super niche markets, and may have a smaller but still significant user base; like Bristlr, the dating app for beard lovers, which has around 150,000 users. If there are millions of mobile daters out there, why do so many dating app startups fail? Simple… because they suck, and here’s three reasons why:

  1. User Goals: Most dating app entrepreneurs don’t actually know what their intended user really wants – and if you don’t know what they want, you’ll never know how to build a dating app that meets their need. What does it mean to date? Does this mean someone is looking to date a bunch of different people and enjoy their single life – or that they are dating to hopefully find a special someone? Dating apps are easily accessible and often used by a wide variety of daters with conflicting goals. Some users may be looking for a whole life companion, while others may be looking for a one time hookup. Popular online sites like Match were able to attract individuals with similar goals by charging higher fees and making the matching process extremely thorough. For someone searching for long-term potential, swiping on Tinder may lead to many many low quality dates before a real match is ever found. According to Psychology Today, only 8.9% of Tinder’s users actually use the app due to a desire for a relationship – while the majority of people have signed up solely off the hype.
  2. Copycat Innovation: While there are probably hundreds of dating apps on the market, many of them seem almost identical in technology and functionality. Or, they use the same technology but serve a niche market instead. Tinder introduced the “swipe dating” model for instance, and since then, a hundred other swipe dating apps have hit the market. Maybe one is a swipe dating app for farmers, or a swipe dating app for people who love country music – but innovation in the mobile dating industry has been relatively flat over the last several years. Many brands have figured out how to create a dating app, they just haven’t figured how to create one that actually moves the industry forward.
  3. No Growth Plan: Some dating apps seem promising at launch, gaining some hype in the early days only to quickly fall completely off the map. Successful dating apps require a deep level of traction and a strong momentum.  Even the best dating app concept won’t succeed if they are unable to drive enough people to the app to make it worthwhile. Dating app consumers aren’t extremely loyal – if there isn’t a large pool of potential daters available in their specific areas, they’ll quickly move on to the next dating app. Likewise, if they sign in every day and there are never any new potential matches, they will move on to an app with a deeper local penetration. Knowing how to build a dating app means more than just creating a great idea, you also need to implement an effective growth strategy that builds the necessary momentum.

Coming Up With A Dating App Concept

The point of any dating app should be to make dating easier, more convenient, more effective, or at least, more fun. Nobody needs just another dating app, people need the right dating app that will actually serve their need. When developing or evaluating your dating app concept, consider the following questions:

  • Who Are You Helping? Knowing your customer is everything. Not every dater is the same. A 20-year-old millennial dater may be looking for something totally different than 50-year-old recently divorced dater. If you want to know how to create a dating app that wins – first decide who you will serve and identify the pain points that they have with dating. Also, find out why consumers in that segment have trouble meeting their dating goals with current solutions. The more you know about your user, the better you will be able to serve them.
  • How Are You Helping Them? Once you know your consumer’s goals, it will become easier to figure out how to help them. Identify what your customer truly seeks and design a solution that helps them meet that particular goal. No one wants another app that “helps singles find dates” — but millions might want to use “an app that helps millennials find long term relationships with people of similar interests” or “an app that helps divorcees meet one another to form new relationships” or “an app that helps single parents have fun with other adults”. It’s not necessarily always about being niche, but it is always about providing a real solution to a real problem.
  • How Are You Different? Consumers aren’t typically loyal to just one dating app, in the same way that most people have profiles on multiple social media platforms. If your concept isn’t different enough, why would users stay on your app instead of using the three other dating apps they have installed on their smartphone? Knowing how to start a dating app requires out-of-the box thinking – be creative, be innovative; do something new. When everyone else is releasing swipe-based dating apps, figure out how to create a strong video-based dating app concept. When everyone else is focused on interest-based matching, consider perfecting the “mystery match” angle. I can’t say exactly what will work for you, but I can tell you what definitely will not work for you – reusing the same technology and concepts that dating consumers have seen a million times already.

Proving The Demand

It is a fact that people want to date, and that people are open to using technology to help them. It is an only assumption however, that your concept is the right one to help them meet their dating goals. Prior to your dating app development (before even touching the first line of code, it is important to prove that singles would even be interested in using the dating app concept that you have developed.

Instead of jumping the gun and immediately hiring your local dating app developers; start by blueprinting your idea to visualize how it will look, then have it designed. Develop a low-function (or no-function) demo or prototype, or in some cases, even a well put together app video will do.

Create a focus group of individuals within your specific demographic. If your dating app specifically targets 20-35 year old musicians who are looking to date other musicians – get ten single musicians together to form your focus group. Show them the demo, ask them questions about their thoughts and encourage them to give feedback; open up the floor and allow them to ask you questions about your concept. By going through this focus group process, you will realize one of three things about your dating app concept:

  1. It’s awesome just like you thought it would be. Everyone loves it, says they would use it and tells you that it’s exactly what they were looking for. You’re ready to move to development.
  2. It’s sort’ve cool – most people like it, but many people also had suggestions about what could make it better. With a few tweaks and a slight pivot, the app concept can be strengthened and made more effective.
  3. Everyone hates it. The majority of people remark that it wouldn’t really help them, or that it wouldn’t help them better than other solutions. Either way, the cost of making a dating app is extremely high – and you just saved tens of thousands on wasted development. Back to the dating app drawing board you go!

If you want to know how to create a dating app that doesn’t suck, the first tip is – make sure it doesn’t suck before you develop it. Focus groups give you the opportunity to test the awesomeness or suckiness of your concept before undertaking the expense and effort of developing it into a functional application.

how to create a dating app - vector with two smartphones

Creating A Buzz

Dating apps often fail because they can’t generate enough traffic to sustain the demand of their users. Imagine these scenarios:

  1. You are a startup in Chicago and you just launched your dating app. A single man in Detroit downloads the application and finds that there are no matches in his area – and actually, only a few total users in his area. He deletes the app.
  2. You are a startup in Miami. A single woman in Miami downloads the application and views the limited pool of potential daters. She logs out. She signs in two weeks later and the pool still only includes the same people that were there weeks before. She deletes the app.

Downloads mean very little if there is no retention; and if there is no momentumous traction to your dating app, users likely won’t stick around for long. The success of your dating app will lean heavily on how you launch it and how you market it.

Launch Regionally

There’s really no point in immediately launching your dating app to a huge market. Consider the first scenario – if there are very few users in a region, there is very little value for a consumer within that region. For dating apps to work, there must be a dense pool of daters within the region that a consumer will want to date.

Start by launching in one city. Penetrate that city as deeply as possible so that daters in that city can access a large pool of potential matches. Once successful, scale into another city (or several cities), and then throughout a whole region. As you create more buzz, the user adoption process will become much easier each time you scale.

Develop A Strong Marketing Strategy

Knowing how to make a dating app means very little if you aren’t able to get it in front of your audience. Dating app startups have less options when it comes to marketing online. Some platforms, like Facebook, don’t allow dating apps to purchase ads, which limits the opportunity for these apps to reach social media audiences. Marketing is critical to building traction for your dating app. Consider scenario 2 – if new daters aren’t constantly being added to the network, users find no reason to revisit the application.

Be creative in your strategy. Some dating apps start at universities, advertising their apps on site (Tinder partnered with sororities). By launching regionally, you can even take advantage of traditional regional marketing channels such as radio and television. For more ideas, check out our article on how to make an app go viral.

Finding The Right Developers

Lastly, it’s important to have the right dating app developers on your team. Your developers shouldn’t only understand apps – but they should specifically understand the functions of dating apps and be highly experienced in building technology with a lean process.

At ThinkLions, we know exactly how to start a dating app that doesn’t suck. We have worked with several dating app startups – helping them raise hundreds of thousands in investor seed funding to bring their app ideas to life. Ready to create the next major dating app innovation? Contact us today and see how we can help you reach your app startup goals.

What Can You Learn From These
5 Unique And Interesting App Ideas?

Over the last several years, the growth of mobile apps have allowed us witness the launch of some of the most life-changing technology the world has ever seen. Unfortunately, these days, unique and interesting app ideas are few and far between – for every Uber there are 20 app copycats and for every Tinder there are 100 other swipe-based dating apps that you’ve probably never heard of. Developers know how to create an app, but creating unique, first-moving and extremely interesting apps? Well, that’s something only few tech entrepreneurs can truly achieve.

This post isn’t about the copycats. It’s not about the entrepreneurs who took a concept, added a small feature and claimed to have developed some “disruptive” new app idea. Instead, it’s about the innovators, the ones who saw a problem and created a new interesting way to solve that problem. Furthermore, we’ll show you what you can learn from these interesting app ideas so that you can come up with your own unique app solution.

In the following list, we’ll offer the ten most interesting app ideas that caught our attention. Here’s the awesome part, none of these apps are especially complicated – and they were created by someone just like you; a normal person with a great idea, a high level of commitment, and a focused follow thru.

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5. Dubsmash

the most interesting apps - dubsmash app screens

Dubsmash is a unique video recording app that was created by three German engineers in 2014. The app allows users to record and blend lip sync videos. With the app, users can choose their favorite music or sound clips, blend the content with their videos, add special effects to the video, and create one-of-a-kind videos that can be shared with their friends.

Like many other social type apps, Dubsmash feeds into our need to connect with one another – and to simply kill boredom. Dubsmash created a craze with users around the world; uploading and sharing millions of their fun (and often funny) lip sync videos. The hype around Dubsmash created a FOMO situation – users had a fear of missing out on the social action.

What really drove the Dubsmash craze was the participation of several celebrities. Whether it was Lewis Hamilton lip syncing to a sound clip of Chris Tucker in Rush Hour 2; or Hugh Jackman, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez or Rihanna lip syncing to their favorite clips – Dubsmash was able to create fans out of some of Hollywood’s most effective social influencers.

During the highest point of its popularity, Dubsmash served over 100 million users around the world.

Interesting App Ideas – Insights:
Your idea doesn’t have to be revolutionary, but it does have to be “different”. Being the first mover of an idea allows you to capture the market, and its influencers, with a fresh idea that has never been seen before. Influencers play a huge role in what consumers find ‘interesting’ – get them talking about your idea and their followers will do what they do best – follow.

4. Puddle and Pile

interesting new app ideas - puddle and pile

Wherever a problem exists, there will be an entrepreneur seeking to create a solution – and puppy poo is no different. Puddle and Pile is a puppy training app that allows pet owners to learn their canine’s toilet patterns, monitor their schedules, predict “puddle periods” and alert them before accidents happen. Relying on data inputs, the app uses smart technology to remind you when outside time is needed. Furthermore, collected data can be shared with veterinarians for diagnosis in case strange patterns arise.

Puddle and Pile was created by the Paul, Fiona and Keren Manser and is available for $1.99 in both the Apple App Store and the Android Play Store.

Interesting App Ideas – Insights:
Successful and interesting app ideas may not always be glamorous, but they solve problems for a large portion of their intend market. Whether you think a dog poop training app would gain mass success is a matter of opinion, but one thing is for sure; there are millions of dog owners around the world, and each and every one of them must deal with puddles and piles in one way or another!

3. Cheatsheet Widget

Interesting & Cool app ideas - Cheatsheet Widget

Let’s face it, security means everything – whether it’s the password to our email provider or a code to our gym locker. With so many passwords and codes to remember, security can become an issue when we accidently secure our items or accounts… from ourselves! Christopher Overholtzer, a California-based developer, had this same problem when he launched the Cheatsheet Widget in 2014. Like many of us, he found himself always forgetting his ID numbers and the passwords to his many accounts.

Cheatsheet is an app that helps your remember all of your codes and passwords – ID numbers, license plates, luggage combinations, bike lock combinations, locker combinations, and all those other numbers that we fail to remember from one day to the next. The app has over 150 hint icons to help users easily organize and locate their information. Cheatsheet is also compatible with the Apple Watch, making it ultra convenient to those who need to quickly pull up their code or password.

Interesting App Ideas – Insights:
Interesting apps don’t have to be complicated; sometimes simple mobile app ideas get the job done jus as well. Cheatsheet is an ultra simple app that provides an extremely beneficial service to a mass audience. While you may not use Cheatsheet everyday, users tend to rely on it heavily during certain times – such as when they are traveling and must remember their luggage codes. Don’t overcomplicate things – find a problem and create a simple solution to help others overcome it!

2. ParkJockey

Interesting app ideas - ParkJockey

There are dozens of parking apps available in the App Store; the issue is, many of them do not have the bandwidth (enough parking lot partners) to make them effective in a realistic setting. ParkJockey is a mobile app that connects drivers and available parking spots to eliminate the dreaded “parking spot search”. Specifically, the startup bridges the gap betweens drivers and parking lot operators; allowing drivers to find the most ideal parking spaces and book them instantly (pre-booking or real-time booking).

Park Jockey currently operates in the UK, Chicago, Miami, New York City and San Francisco. The startup has an estimated annual revenue of $4.2 million and has secured partnerships with several corporations including mobile payment services provider, PayByPhone; ticket sales company, Ticketmaster; the Miami Heat basketball team; American Airlines; Odeon Cinemas; and online reservations leader, ResDiary.

Interesting App Ideas – Insights:
Interesting app ideas usually aren’t the only solutions serving their market. In many cases, successful apps solve the problem better or more effectively. ParkJockey was able to secure the right partnerships to make their app as useful as possible within the markets that they serve. Look at your competition and find their strengths and weaknesses. Capitalize on their weaknesses to create an advantage.

1. Shapr

Interesting mobile app ideas - shapr

Hailed as “Tinder for networking”, Shapr is an app that helps professionals connect with one another. Using a sophisticated algorithm, Shapr provides users each day with several profiles of other professionals within their vicinity that have similar interests. A quick swipe to the left or right will indicate whether they want to connect with the professional, or pass on the opportunity. If both users swipe right (indicating they want to connect), messaging capabilities open up to allow the two to connect with one another.

Shapr was launched in 2014 and has raised over $16.5 million in funding from over 80 private investors. While other professional social media platforms exist (like LinkedIn), Shapr specifically targets millennials, who are growing more accustomed to the “gamification of life” – or the gamifying of processes to streamline them or to make them more effective. Shapr now has over a half million users active on the app and generated more than 3 million matches in 2017.

Interesting App Ideas – Insights:
The best app ideas aren’t always that innovative. Sometimes, an existing idea can be introduced to a new market to solve a totally different problem. Tinder, for instance, solves the issue of meeting interesting people – for dating. Shapr, on the other hand, solves the issue of meeting interesting people – but for professional purposes. Look for opportunities in existing apps – can that same technology be used to serve a similar problem for a totally different market? If so, you may have major opportunity!

Ready To Build Your Interesting App?

Unfortunately, a great app idea means very little if it only sits in your head and never makes it to the App Store. If you’re ready to take the first step and bring your amazing app ideas to life, we’d love to help. Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our app startup specialists!

How To Advertise An App
For Maximum Exposure

Developing an awesome app is hard work, but when it’s finally launched into the market, that’s where the real work begins. Many app developers and app entrepreneurs know how to create an app, but they have no idea how to advertise an app. The truth is, the mobile app market is highly competitive and advertising apps properly can be extremely difficult – especially when you are competing against established players with huge marketing budgets.

It’s easy to envision the end result – millions of users downloading the app and telling their friends about it; but how to do you get there? How do you advertise an app? Even knowing where to start is a challenge, especially when your marketing budget is low or non-existent.

In this post, we want to explore exactly what it takes to advertise apps the right way; getting your idea in front of the consumers who will most benefit from it and persuading them to download it. To get the best advice possible, we turned to several experienced app entrepreneurs, app marketers and marketing experts and asked them – what is the key to marketing and advertising apps?

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How To Advertise An App – The Must Do’s

It’s always nice to try out cool marketing tactics like contests, giveaways and other out-of-the-box ideas – but none of these methods are effective if a few app marketing basics have not been established. More specifically, every app startup needs to: build an associated website, optimize for App Store rankings (ASO), and optimize for Search Engine rankings (SEO).

Andrew Glantz, founder of GiftAMeal, suggested the following – “There are several ‘must-dos’ when marketing apps. You need to ensure that your app is easily discoverable with valuable keywords, have preview app screens that accurately capture the value of your app to potential users, and provide a compelling app description.”

The way your app performs in the App Store is extremely important. Apps that are featured receive considerably more downloads than those that are not; and those that show up first for related keywords receive considerably more downloads than those that are ranked in lower positions. Not only does your app description need to be written with a persuasive and consumer-forward tone – it also needs to cover ASO basics to ensure that it is visible to potential users.

How To Advertise An App - The Must Do's

Stav Tishler, Head of Marketing Communications at Lightricks gave the following advice, “SEO – that’s how people find your apps online. If you’re buried all the way on page 13 of a Google search result, will anyone ever find you? Does anyone even click to the second page of the SERP? I don’t know if I ever have.”

SEO is competitive, and ranking highly for valuable keywords includes many factors, such as: on-page optimizations, links from high authority websites and the website’s relevancy to the keyword. Furthermore, SEO is a long-term strategy – but establishing the app’s website early on gives startups an advantage; allowing them to generate organic and free online traffic. Paid ads on the other hand, can allow a startup to receive traffic to their website immediately. Since advertisers must pay for each click however, the benefits of paid ads end once the advertising budget has run out. When it comes to the must-dos of advertising apps, ASO and SEO give startups the ability to level the playing field with more established competitors.

Figuring out how to advertise your app on search engines with the right keywords can be challenging. Adrien Caiazzo, Marketing Director of Narraly (parent company of Flixup.io) says, “We use solutions like www.thetool.io and www.appannie.com to find the best keywords for our app, and also compare those with our competitors’ keywords. Before we could afford other paid avenues, finding strategic keywords was the best way we could get people to find our app.”

Caiazzo also added the following advice for app advertising must-dos, “Make sure the app is functional, as early adopters are incredibly valuable. And use your networks. Friends, old coworkers and family are more likely to download and rate your app than new users. If your app is very innovative; post it to different websites such as www.launchingnext.com or www.producthunt.com. These offer great visibility, and many of the users are passionate about tech, so they give helpful (albeit direct) advice.”

Mobile App Advertising – Establishing Authority

Publishing high quality content has become a leading way of advertising apps and marketing online businesses. Consumers are aware that competition exists in every industry and often, it is the credibility factor that makes them choose one solution over another. Furthermore, each piece of new content a startup publishes becomes another marketing asset; giving the business an additional avenue to connect with consumers. Content however, is extremely competitive as well. The quality of information you are putting out there is much more important than the quantity.

Mobile App Advertising - Establishing Authority

If you want to know how to advertise an app the right way with content, look at Mint.com for inspiration. Before Mint.com was even launched, the founding team already had a target customer in mind – young professionals. To reach them, they focused on their finance blog, MintLife. By publishing strong content, they were able to build themselves to the largest financial blog online. When Mint.com was launched, they already had a direct link to young professionals – their blog already had the market’s attention.

Eric Chiang, Marketing Lead at GooseChase Adventures says, “The most effective way we’ve been able to market our app in the recent months has been to create content showcasing how users are engaging with our app; instead of focusing on content that simply just shows how the app works. In general, potential investors might be interested in hearing about the technology and innovation behind your product – but your target demographic, the people who you’re actually trying to sell to? They only care about how your app will improve their life.”

Brit Armour, Director of Marketing at Kibii says, “Maintaining a blog will help you establish brand awareness and visibility. Most importantly, it allows you to gain trust and credibility by connecting with your audience on a deeper level. You need to appeal to your audience’s emotions. To be considered a thought leader, you must provide extreme value and provide consumers with the expert information that they seek. Content marketing is something I invest a large amount of time into. You can promote your app and its features as much as you want, but if your audience doesn’t resonate with your brand, they won’t give you a second thought.”

How To Advertise An App Through Communities

Like marketing other types of businesses, mobile application advertising requires a strong engagement with your target market – and there’s no better way to engage than social media.

advertise app through social media - lyft facebook feed

Lyft for instance, which has always competed against the larger rideshare company Uber, uses social media to really engage with their drivers and build user loyalty. Lyft’s CMO, Kira Wampler says, “While rival Uber is an efficient delivery service, Lyft is seeking to differentiate itself by offering a combination of ‘humanity and technology.” Social media offers the perfect opportunity for them to bring in the humanity aspect of interaction with their users. As a result, their social media page is filled with awesome customer photos, comments from drivers and passengers, driving stories and other content that engages fans and followers.

Regarding social media, Tishler answered, “Specifically for our apps, which are all about being creative, we use community-oriented social tools: Facebook and Instagram Live, Facebook groups, subreddits, and any new tool available to create a community. This allows us to provide a place for users or potential users to ask questions, get inspired and engage in a community of like-minded individuals.”

Creating Media Relationships through PR

Creating Media Relationships through PR

The way your startup is introduced by the media will play heavily on how consumers perceive your brand and app. When advertising apps, it’s important that the media is not only talking about you, but that they are mentioning your business in a positive light. Media relations requires finding journalists and media sources that cover products and software in your industry, and reaching out to them with a newsworthy story. Here’s the thing – if a media source is worth it’s weight, they probably receive dozens of pitches from startups each and every day. For your pitch to be effective, you must be offering them a quality story – not just another ‘app feature’ opportunity. Nobody wants to talk about another new app – but a startup that just received a high level of app funding? Well, that’s a story worth writing about.

To take advantage of media relationships early on, you may want to consider hiring a PR agency. Tishler points out, “Find a PR company. It’s expensive, but they tend to work. And if they don’t, you’ll know early on and you can find a new one.”

It can also be extremely beneficial to focus on building relationships with social influencers. These are individuals that are within your industry that influence the market through social media – whether it be through Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, or another platform. A single mention from the right influencer can instantly lead to thousands of downloads of your application and can have positive lingering effects when advertising apps.

Establishing Great Feedback – Reviews

Even if you know exactly how to advertise an app and implement every trick and hack; if users come across your app in the app store and your reviews are bad, they won’t download it – especially if it’s a paid app. User trust is built with 20% of what you say about your business, and 80% of what other consumers say about your app.

Whatever strategy you use for advertising your app, make sure to start establishing your reviews early on. Invite people from your personal network to use your app and ask them to leave a review. Incentivize users to leave reviews, offering them free credits or other rewards. Remind them to rate your app with the occasional popup notification.

Establishing Great Feedback - Reviews

Nate Masterson, Marketing Manager at Maple Holistics says, “With a surplus of good reviews, the sky’s the limit. The app with the most five-star ratings is going to hit the top of the search page quicker than those that are lesser reviewed. Having a good rating is all about having a functional app, that does what it says it’s going to do and brings excitement to the user. Asking for a review in a witty way could be just what you need. Being persistent is good, but being clever is better.”

Advertising Apps By Thinking Outside The Box

As mentioned, marketing apps can be difficult due to the sheer amount of competition that you will likely face. Sometimes, startups need to think outside of the box to make sure their solution is visible to their audience. Tinder for example, went straight to the “party” schools to market their application. They pitched the app to sororities and signed up sorors on the spot. They leveraged the participation of these sorority women to persuade the campus’ men to sign up.

GiftAMeal also does on-site advertising. Glantz remarked, “We also physically advertise our app at our partner restaurants. We put out table-tents and window decals at participating restaurants to encourage customers to download and user our app.”

How important is it to think outside the box when marketing apps? Caiazzo of Narraly says, “I try to spend a third of my day on out-of-the-box strategy planning. I think the real questions should be: how do entrepreneurs brighten their creative process to find out-of-the-box ideas? For me, that includes meeting and talking to people, reading articles, brainstorming with colleagues or other companies, and studying other businesses that use creative marketing techniques.”

Advertise Your App Like A Marketing Master

Advertise Your App Like A Marketing Master

The key to knowing how to advertise an app like a master is to test your marketing techniques on a small scale before betting it all on one horse. Focus on the ‘must-dos’ first: creating a strong website with on-site optimization and ensuring that your app description is optimized for ranking highly in the app store. Then move to establish yourself on social media, build media relationships and generate positive customer reviews. If the competition is thick, use out-of-the-box methods to reach your consumers directly or to stand out against competing brands.

Marketing apps can be challenging, but fortunately, we know exactly what it takes to create a winning marketing strategy. Contact us today to setup a free consultation with one of our expert startup consultants!

Do you have an out-of-the-box method for advertising apps? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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!

8 of the Best Pitch Decks
That We’ve Ever Seen

Great businesses are built on making great deals; and creating the best pitch decks with a branded pitch deck design is an integral part of presenting your startup to the people and institutions that can make great deals happen.

Startups are fundamentally different than other types of businesses. Although they are relatively young in age and smaller than enterprise organizations, they hold the potential for explosive growth. Take a new pizza shop as an example – no matter how successful they are and how great their product is, it is not a startup because it is not designed for quick and rapid scale. As Paul Graham of Y-combinator emphasizes, a key to a startup is its ability to grow.

Fundable startups sit in between the idea stage and the explosive growth – they have proven that there is a high potential for growth, but have not yet realized that growth. Usually, the thing preventing these startups from scaling widely is a lack of resources; they need all the help they can get to convince an investor audience that their growth potential is a real and likely possibility. While a strong presenter is necessary, nothing helps support an investor pitch like an awesome startup deck.

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Combined with a impressive presentation, a pitch deck is essential for successful fundraising. A great idea (or budding startup) with a sloppy presentation or pitch that leaves key questions unanswered has little to no chance of persuading investors to part with their dollars. An average idea with a great pitch deck will have greater potential. The sweet spot of a pitch however, is when you have an awesome and proven idea, a confident pitch and a memorable startup pitch deck that sells.

When it comes to pitching, competition is thick. Startups use all the ammunition they have – number of users, monthly growth, revenue, feature concepts, prototypes, MVPs, usage feedback, and anything else that will help prove their case. The best pitch decks provide an organized presentation that allows the founders to perfect the right arguments, in the right order, with the right visual tools to create the maximum effect.

A pitch deck isnt something thats just tossed together in a rush. The best slide decks are a mix of science, persuasion and art – using each slide as another stroke of paint on the canvas. It can be tough to create a winning pitch deck without some inspiration, so here are 10 of the best pitch decks that weve seen over the years and the reasons we love them!

The 8 Best Pitch Decks for Inspiration

1. Castle

Castle is an innovative real estate solution for rental property owners. This startup lives by the slogan, Put Your Properties On Autopilot! and exists to help owners manage their properties without the usual headache of being a landlord. Castle serves a niche market so you may have never heard of them; but still, they have one of the best pitch decks and one that you can definitely learn from!

Heres why we love it:
The pitch deck has a modern and exciting design with visual aesthetics that draw in the audience. Starts off immediately by identifying the problem – Rental property owners want to make money without the work of being a landlord. This immediately gives investors an idea of why a solution needs to exist. Uses simple icons to explain each point, making it easy for the viewer to digest. The best pitch decks know how to give an incredible amount of information without cluttering the slide. Leads viewers into a strong and concise elevator pitch – Automate landlording through software and on demand labor. Provides an easy-to-understand growth plan that showcases historical growth as well as projected future growth.

How much did they raise?
As of date, it is reported that Castle has raised around $3.3 million in investor funding.

2. Adpushup

Adpushup is a unique startup that has streamlined the process of optimizing ad placements. The solution allows publishers to optimize their ads by testing different ad placements, sizes and types. While the design of this sample pitch deck is extremely minimal, the data they were able to display was critical to their funding success.

Heres why we love it:
Traction slide shows rapid growth using impressions as a metric. By focusing on this metric, they are able to show that while revenues may not yet be established, there is already a high demand within the market. Includes a case study that shows the effectiveness of the product. Case studies arent just gold for potential customers, they also help sell your pitch to potential investors! Milestones slide shows how the Company quickly grew from a weekend project to 10 million impressions in only a one-year timespan. The best pitch decks aren’t just design heavy, but clearly state where the business started, where they are currently, and where they are going in the future.

How much did they raise?
It is estimated that Adpushup has raised approximately $632,000 to date.

3. LinkedIn
pitch deck examples - LinkedIn

(Click image to view pitch deck)

LinkedIns Series B pitch deck is an oldie, but it is a must-read for anyone looking to build a strong pitch. Although this deck is quite long and thorough, it is a great example of how a seed funding round pitch deck may differ from a VC pitch deck for a Series B round of financing.

Heres why we love it:
Because they had to explain how the internet works and predict how users would use the internet in the future. Remember, this was 2004! There are many factors that played into this explanation from online search to online payment – and all of these trends needed to be explained to prove why LinkedIn was the right solution for the problem. It clearly detailed their first priority – establishing the network; and furthermore, explained exactly why this was important to their ability to scale rapidly. The best pitch decks identify how the funds will be used to progress the business and push it to the next level. Showed how their actual growth far outscaled projected growth, proving to investors that there is a wide potential for growth.
How much did they raise?
In total, LinkedIn has raised over $154.8 million in investor funding, and was valued at $352.8 million when they went public in 2011. This pitch specifically led to a $10 million from Greylock Partners.

4. Canvas

Canvas is a business solution that allows corporations and organizations to digitize their paper assets. Their goal is to rid the world of paperwork by transitioning business processes into mobile apps. When it comes to the best startup decks, Canvas shows us how to use imagery and simplicity to get the point across.

Heres why we love it:
They start the pitch with simple visuals that show how all of our processes, from listening to music to reading, have become digitized over the years. They provide statistics to show how their application has helped high profile businesses like Pepsi and Healthtronics; giving them instant credibility. They use a clever strategy to compare competitors by showing that they focus on the why while competitors focus on the what.
How much did they raise?
Overall, the GoCanvas startup has raised approximately $24.1 million in investor financing.

5. SickWeather

Sickweather is an app that analyzes data to predict and forecast population health. The app claims to accurately predict illness outbreaks 91% of the time and 2 weeks before the CDC on average. This sample pitch deck shows how important credibility is – especially when your clients are some of the most respected brands in the world.

Heres why we love it:
It includes a pitch video. While this wouldnt be included in a presentation deck, it works fantastic for pitch decks that are sent via e-mail or posted to online platforms for viewing by potential investors. Early on, they provide a list of previous clients. These clients are extremely well known brands, which immediately gives the startup a high level of credibility and authority. Graphs showcase impressive growth in monthly recurring revenue, giving the startup a great argument for rapidly rising projections and forecasts.
How much did they raise?
To date, Sickweather has raised approximately $2.6 million in investor funding.

6. Match Box (Tinder)

Match Box was the original name for the globally recognized dating app, Tinder. Although there were many dating apps in the market, Tinder was able to succeed by adding a gamification aspect – allowing individuals to swipe left or right to express interest or to pass on another user. Match Box’s startup deck shows how to balance creativity and simplicity to win investors over.

Heres why we love it:
Its extremely simple but it uses a real world scenario to explain the problem (fear of rejection) and the solution (Match Box). It gives an under the hood look on what the app will offer. It shows a clear monetization model – and although it has changed significantly since this pitch deck was created, it at least let investors know that the founders had considered how they would create revenue.
How much did they raise?
In September 2016, Tinder received an investment of $1.4 million. Since then, the company has been acquired on three separate occasions.

7. WeWork

WeWork addresses the startup and freelance market by offering Space As A Service. Individuals can rent co-working space instead of renting a whole office; which helps them save on rent, provides them with a community of like-minded individuals, and offers services to help them advance their businesses. This VC pitch deck was created for WeWorks Series D funding phase and is quite long in length; but it shows how as more data is collected by the business, more growth insights can be presented for a stronger case.

Heres why we love it:
They use several slides to describe the why. It would be impossible to explain why coworking space is important without first describing how the employee economy has shifted. The WeWork Effect slide shows exactly how the WeWork business model meets the new demands of the market. Since this is a Series D pitch deck, the Company had to take several slides to explain their current traction. By describing their first mover advantage and showcasing their growth, they were able to successfully present the grand potential of their concept.

How much did they raise?
According to CrunchBase, WeWork has raised approximately $8.1 billion over 12 funding rounds and has had 10 acquisitions.

8. Crew

Crew exists to connect developers and creatives to clients, without the headache of normal freelance sites. Once a job is posted, clients are recommended three makers (usually within one to 24 hours) who can complete their job for them. We love awesome pitch decks, and Crew shows us how to really showcase the features of a product, while maintaining focus on the startup’s growth.

Heres why we love it:
Their growth is staggering and they showcase it with clear graphs that present a 10x increase in total project revenue. The pitch deck subtly describes the apps USP by detailing how the higher priced projects on the app bring in better talent than the low priced projects on other platforms. Furthermore, they show exactly how their app works from a user side – displaying a much cleaner user experience. They explain the data collected from their pilot launch. Having a strong MVP with great traction is key to securing investor funds.
How much did they raise?
Crew has raised approximately $9.9 million in total investor funding and was acquired by Dribbble in 2017.

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Creating The Perfect Pitch Deck

We chose these pitch decks as our favorite and best pitch decks for many different reasons. While some of these businesses are smaller and some are much larger, there are some elements that each of these great startup pitch decks have in common – and if you want to raise seed funding, your pitch deck should share these elements too. Specifically, the best pitch decks:

Specifically, the best pitch decks:
Address the problem up front and show the current state of the market.

Provide a tested and validated solution

Explain how that solution is better than the competition.

Showcase some initial traction and forecast future projections.

Your pitch deck will either give you a huge advantage during your pitch, or will completely turn investors off. Use our best pitch decks examples as your motivation to create something amazing and memorable. As always, if you want to create the best pitch deck, our experienced startup consultants are here to help! Contact us to today and set up a free consultation.

Is there an awesome pitch deck that should have made our Best Pitch Decks list but didnt? If so, tell us about it in the comments below!