Category Archives: Project Funding

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My idea – you do the free mobile app development

A sample of recent funded mobile app development successes

A sample of recent funded mobile app development project successes

I have an idea for a mobile app development project and I am looking for a 50% partner. All you have to do is develop the app.

Every so often I get a proposal like the above, for me to develop a mobile app for free, on a “partnership” basis. The result is almost always a polite no.

Why don’t mobile app developers accept such offers?

The reason is the asymmetric timing of the effort.

In a normal partnership deal, such as say building a house, both partners contribute effort at roughly the same pace. Both partners start by putting a big downpayment of money into the deal, both partners, if they have building skills, contribute effort at the same time. Both partners have as much to lose as each other, if the project does not work out.

A mobile app development project is different. You have to develop the mobile app, before you can sell it. When someone proposes I come onboard as a partner, what they are really proposing is that I should sink a few hundred to many thousands of hours of effort into building the app, then they will do their part – marketing the app.

The reason mobile app development is different to building a house with a partner, is the work of both partners is not performed at the same time. The mobile app developer has to finish their job first. The mobile app developer has no way of knowing in advance whether their marketing partner will pull their weight – will match the effort the developer made to create the mobile app.

The mobile developer’s job, developing the mobile app, is complete before their partner starts their job of marketing the finished mobile app. If the marketing partner gives up without making a real effort, the developer is stuffed – they have lost all the time they spent developing the mobile app. Worse, if the developer now makes an effort to market the app, because their marketing partner let them down, the unreliable marketing partner will still expect a share of the profit.

I can demonstrate my mobile app development skills – what can you do to demonstrate your mobile app marketing ability?

There is a step you can take which demonstrates your ability to market your mobile app development idea: raise some cash.

If you mobile app proposal is a good idea, and you do a skilful job of marketing your idea, you will successfully raise the cash – which you can use to pay your mobile app developer. Raising cash for a mobile app project is an application of marketing skill.

How can you raise cash for a mobile app development project? One way is to use crowdsourcing – to promote your project on a website like Kickstarter, to attract funding for your idea.

Click here to see a list of recent mobile app project proposals, which received substantial funding from Kickstarter

What if someone tries to steal my idea?

A lot of people who want to develop a mobile app are worried that if they try to raise cash, by telling everyone about their idea, then someone will steal their idea. Putting the idea on Kickstarter is telling the world – how do you prevent someone from cashing in on your intellectual effort?

The answer in my experience, is developing a successful mobile app is a lot more than an idea. How many times have you had a terrific idea, told yourself “wow, I must act on this idea” – then done nothing? A mobile app starts as an idea, but that idea has to be nurtured – it has to be fleshed out, developed, moved from concept to design to funding to construction to marketing to success – a lot of effort.

I’m not saying stealing ideas doesn’t happen – there is always a risk someone will see your idea, decide they like it, and make the effort required to bring your idea to completion, before you have to chance to fulfil your goal. But people who want to steal the ideas of others, effort is usually something they are trying to avoid.

If you don’t raise the money for your mobile app development dream, it may never happen – or worse, you may eventually see someone else build your dream mobile app, and live your dream if it succeeds. Crowdsourcing, telling people about your idea, is a risk – but the bigger risk is surely inaction, the risk that you never find the capital to fulfil your ambition.

Are there other sources of funding I can consider?

Another method of raising cash for a mobile app project is to borrow the money. I have business associates who can provide loans for developing mobile apps – in the last few years the credit and loans industry has woken up to the possibilities of providing funding for people who want to develop mobile apps. You will still have to explain your idea to the loans company – but this approach avoids the need to tell the world about your idea. The downside is you are essentially funding the development effort yourself, with the help of a loan. As with any other credit scenario, make sure you can afford to repay any money you borrow. Some mobile apps make people rich beyond their wildest dreams – but some don’t. Mobile app development is high risk, high reward.

Are there any circumstances under which you would consider a partnership?

I’m happy to talk about your proposal – helping people find a way to fulfil their mobile app dream is what I do. I can imagine some possible circumstances under which I might agree to a partnership, but they all involve some sort of guarantee that my coding effort will be rewarded. Of course, we could just keep it simple – you could pay me for my time.

If you would like to discuss your mobile app development project, and methods by which it could be financed, please contact me.

Shapr raises $3 million for Business Mobile App

Shapr app

Sharp announces it has raised $3 million of investor finance

New York / Paris based startup Shapr has raised $3 million funding to help them develop a new business networking mobile app. They plan to build both iPhone App and Android app versions of their product.

According to Techcrunch;

… the idea for Shapr came to him [Ludovic Huraux] early last year because, as an entrepreneur, he loved to get connected with other people. “I was frustrated because now, [getting connected with others] is very random,” he says. Meanwhile, on LinkedIn, users are often connected to a number of people, some of whom they don’t know that well or haven’t kept up with in years, making it more difficult for online introductions to work as well as those that take place in the real world.

Although Shapr currently bases their service on the LinkedIn social network, Shapr extends LinkedIn functionality, by allowing users to select up to 50 contacts with whom they have a close connection. The idea is to provide an enhanced version of LinkedIn contacts, by encouraging mobile app users to select people with whom they have maintained strong connections, rather than just providing links to everyone in their network, with no qualification based on how up to date that link might be.

Shapr also sees one of their strengths as being mobile centric – designed from the ground up as a mobile app, rather than being retrofitted to iPhone App and Android App platforms after initially being developed as a desktop system.

… unlike business networking giant LinkedIn, Shapr’s software is mobile-first, with apps for both iOS and Android devices that allow users to select a subset of their contacts who they really know and endorse, and then share those contacts with others in their network.

The Shapr announcement is firm evidence that there is ongoing strong investor interest in networking apps. While it might seem sometimes that billion dollar companies like Facebook own the world, the truth is all social networking businesses are one innovation away from losing their crown to an ambitious newcomer.

If you have an idea for a networking app, or would like some help preparing a proposal to attract investor support for your mobile app idea, please contact me now.

Blackberry to force YOU to pay for their app mistakes

The failed mobile app platform that wants to force you to help

The failed mobile app platform that wants to force you to help

Blackberry has outrageously demanded that app developers be forced to support their platform, at the developer’s expense – that whenever a mobile app is released, app developers should be forced by law to also release a version of their app for the Blackberry platform.

In the late 90s, Blackberry was a popular platform. But they lost their crown to Apple and Google Android, because there was one crucially important aspect of their business which Blackberry neglected – their app developers.

Developing for Blackberry was difficult and expensive – from memory, you had to pay thousands of dollars for the Blackberry development environment, then you had to pay hundreds of dollars when you submitted a mobile app, for Blackberry to evaluate it. As a result, hardly anyone developed mobile apps for the Blackberry platform.

When Apple iPhone exploded onto the scene, Apple’s focus on encouraging mobile app development gave their iPhone platform an unprecedented level of versatility – and swept previous incumbents like Blackberry from the field.

If you were CEO of a company which had just been so soundly outcompeted, what would you do?

The obvious solution, you could attempt some product innovation, you could try to find a way to tempt consumers back to your brand, by addressing its shortcomings.

Or you could do what Blackberry has just done – run to Washington, to try to force mobile developers to support your platform, by convincing politicians that your proposed anti-freedom law should be passed in the name of ensuring “equality”.

If Blackberry gets away with this audacious attempt to force others to prop up their business, to pay for their mistakes, this madness won’t stop with Blackberry – the law will apply to any mobile app platform, no matter how obscure.

Where do you draw the line? If some mom and pop business releases 500 phones, do you have to support their platform as well? If a Taiwanese manufacturer creates a new mobile OS, which has no presence whatsoever in English speaking markets, could they sue you if you fail to support their mobile app platform?

And of course, it won’t be long before other industries take notice, and start clamouring for “neutrality” laws of their own, to secure market share through government fiat rather than product innovation.

This madness must be stopped. The potential for this proposal to stifle innovation and crush startup businesses is breathtaking, but Blackberry doesn’t care. All they can see is a possible opportunity to convince legislators to force developers, anyone who commissions an app, to give Blackberry’s business a boost, without Blackberry having to pay a penny. Given Blackberry’s dismal market share, none of the effort devoted to creating blackberry apps is likely to yield a profit – but the “Blackberry Law” would still force you to provide an app for their system, at your own expense.

An Amazingly Simple, Successful iPhone App

Yo Author Or Arbel

Yo Author Or Arbel

Yo, an iPhone App which was written in 8 hours, has changed the life of its creator.

Yo allows the user to send a single word “Yo” to a recipient who also has the Yo iPhone app installed.

Thats it. I mean, how simple can an iPhone app be?

Yet this insanely simple app has taken the world by storm. 100s of reviews, thousands of downloads, an app phenomenon.

On the strength of this 8 hour effort, the inventor has moved halfway round the world to America, raised a million dollars in venture capital project funding, and is now hiring staff to progress his ideas.

Yo was apparently inspired by the author’s old boss, who wanted a push button app to summon employees to his office.

The first version of the app was released on April Fools Day.

The first attempt by the author to release “Yo” was rejected by App Store – they thought the app was unfinished.

As an app developer, its a serious kicking myself moment – I could have written this iPhone app in my sleep. But it never occurred to me to write it.

And thats the point – the author, Or Arbel, thought of it first. He didn’t sit on his idea, he got on with it. And thanks to that, he’s now a million dollars better off.

Perhaps Yo iPhone App is a fad. I mean, how often can people send the word “Yo” to each other before it gets boring? But this fad has given the author a million dollars worth of opportunities to change his life. And who knows – by the time people get tired of “Yo”, Mr Arbel may have written the “Hey” iPhone app…

Why Developers don’t do Unfunded Joint Ventures

Every so often a client with a great idea offers me a joint venture. And it often is a great idea – but unless they are funded (have already raised financial backing on the basis of their idea), I almost always say “no”.

The reason is the balance of risk and effort.

With an unfunded joint venture, everyone is committing to give their time and money to a project on an unpaid basis. But the timing of the effort is very different for say the developer compared to the marketing expert.

With an unfunded project, the developer has to commit their effort first – they have to develop the product, which the other team members are committed to market. For the developer, this represents a serious risk – they could sink hundreds, maybe thousands of hours of their own unfunded time into a product, just to see the other members of the team give up and walk at the first obstacle.

At least half, maybe more than half, of the effort of launching a successful product, is skilful marketing and promotion of the product.

Why is a funded venture different? The reason is, if a joint venture has funding at the time the partners approach a software developer, then either the marketing people have already done a great deal of work, promoting their idea, or, if the idea is funded out of their own pockets, other team members have committed the time and effort it took for them to earn the money they put up as funding.

And there is no reason why a project shouldn’t be funded. Fund raising has never been easier – for example, Kickstarter invites people to contribute funding for very little in return, other than seeing the idea come to fruition. Browse through the projects, and you will see the most unlikely ideas funded with large contributions – but who am I to judge?

If you have a great idea for a joint venture, I’m happy to discuss it – you can always contact me at But please don’t be offended if my initial answer is no – because if you are willing to work with me, I will do my best to help you find a way to turn your idea into a product.