Posts

5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Unique App Idea

Unless you’ve seen The Social Network – you might not know how Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook. According to the movie, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss created the idea with their own social network, Harvard Connection.

When Harvard student and programmer Victor Gao resigned he referred them to Mark Zuckerberg. The twins hired Mark and gave him access to Harvard Connection’s network passwords, files and servers. This led to Mark starting work on his own social networking site, thefacebook.

Years later, the legal battle between Winklevosses and Zuckerberg ended in a settlement worth $65 million dollars. To avoid this scenario happening to you, we’re going to outline the 5 best ways to safeguard your app idea.

1. Get a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

A Non-Disclosure Agreement helps protects your ideas being shared by others outside of the agreement. This document is important when you’re dealing with anything tech related that requires development. An NDA should be readily available by a developer if requested. It is important to remember that the NDA only comes into effect after each party in the agreement signs the contract. Anything discussed before the NDA gets signed may not be covered in the agreement.

 

 

Have a confidential discussion about your app idea with us! 

 

2. Don’t say too much

Another way to keep your app idea safe is to avoid sharing too much information about your app to others. Magicians don’t reveal their secrets, so you should not reveal too much regardless of how excited you are. Also, be selective of those you choose to tell your app idea. When speaking to friends, colleagues or app developers at the initial call, just give a brief overview or a sales pitch of your app idea. However, investors might want more in-depth information on your idea. They don’t normally sign NDAs, so you can do is add a confidentiality disclaimer in important documents.

 

3. Trademark your app’s identity

Trademarks prevent others from using your app’s identity. This prevents consumers from downloading counterfeit apps. protects your brand. Anything that distinguishes yourself from others, such as logos, screenshotsand phrases, can be trademarked. Protecting your identity can help build brand and icon recognition, especially if your app becomes successfulSnapchat can be easily recognised  by its ghost icon and Evernote with its elephant head icon. Before applying, check if existing trademarks have been registered at IP Australia.

 

4. Retain documentation

It is important to keep all documents related to your app and from third parties safe. Documents you should keep safe include: agreements, contracts, business plans, trademarks and meeting minutes. These documents can be used as evidence and help you when any disputes arise or any legal situations happen during the app development process. To avoid overflowing your cabinets and drawers with documents, you can scan them to your computer and upload them to a cloud.

 

 

5. Hire a reputable app development company

Once you’re at the app development stage, it is crucial to find a trustworthy app developer. Your app idea will be kept safe and also developed efficiently. During the hunt for the right app developer, make sure to check out information such as their experience, portfolio, and client reviews. Additionally, a good app development agency will be genuinely interested in your idea, not just developing it. They’ll guide you throughout the development process, giving you advice and ideas based on their experience to make sure it succeeds in the market.

 

 

By following this guide you’ll be at peace and won’t need to worry about getting your app stolen.

For further legal advice on trademarks or NDAs, it is recommended that you visit a lawyer or legal firm with knowledge in this area.

If you have an app idea, contact us for a confidential and informative discussion!

 

Australian App Developers

7 Kick-Ass Inspirational Female Entrepreneurs

There has been a rise in female entrepreneurs (also known as fempreneurs) not only in Australia but also around the world. Similarly to the success of app entrepreneurs, which we looked at previously, startup success starts with having the big idea coupled with the determination towards turning their vision into a reality. Today we’ll be focusing on 7 female entrepreneurs who took their passion and disrupted the industry with their business idea.

 

Related: 7 Successful Australian App Entrepreneurs

 

1. Justine Flynn – Thankyou

Justine Flynn is the co-founder of Thankyou, a social enterprise in Australia, where proceeds of its product sales are donated to help developing countries. Created in 2008, the idea came about when the founders saw an opportunity of the high bottled water consumption in Australia to tackle the water crisis. Thankyou has expanded their product lines to beauty, food and baby care, which are stocked in 5,000 outlets in Australia. They’ve raised over $3 million for projects, giving over 100,000 people access to water and food across 17 countries.

 

 

 

2. Whitney Wolfe – Bumble

Whitney Wolfe is the founder of social and dating app, Bumble, which is similar to Tinder (co-founded by Whitney) but with a twist. In the app, females make the first move and are the only ones who can start conversations with males. Additionally, matches disappear if the other user doesn’t reply within 24 hours. The app was created to challenge the dating rule of males starting the conversation. Since launch in December 2014, Bumble has more than 10 million users, more than 50 billion swipes and has been named dating app of the year at the US Dating Awards.

 

 

 

3. Jodie Fox – Shoes of Prey

Jodie Fox is one of the co-founders of Shoes of Prey, an online retail shop startup. It started in 2009 in Sydney and offers fully customisable shoes. Customers are able to choose details like shape, colour, and material. Jodie got the idea after being unable to find shoes that matched her preferences. She then wanted to give the same experiences to others. Shoes of Prey have received more than $20 million in funding and won multiple awards at the Telstra Business Awards.

 

 

 

4. Marcela Sapone – Hello Alfred

Marcela Sapone co-founded an on-demand app called Hello Alfred,  which is the Uber of butler services. Users are assigned a butler that completes household chores and tasks they want to be done through the platform. The app idea came when Marcela was unable to do chores because of late work hours in Harvard Business School. Since launching in Boston in 2013, Hello Alfred has raised more than $11 million in funding, won TechCrunch’s Disrupt Startup Competition. Marcela was also listed on Forbes’ 30 Under 30.

 

 

 

5. Genevieve George – OneShift

Genevieve George is the founder of OneShift, an online job marketplace for casual, permanent or shift work. The platform functions differently to other job marketplaces. Users create a profile and are matched with jobs based on the information they provide. The startup idea came from previous experiences of applying for jobs and working at a cafe. Genevieve wanted to make it easier for small businesses to hire and people to apply for jobs. Since 2012, OneShift raised $4.7 million in funding. They’ve also won multiple awards, such as the 2013 E-business, innovation and enterprise award. Genevieve also made the top 50 emerging leaders of 2015 list.

 

 

6. Jane Lu – Showpo

Jane Lu is the CEO and founder of the online fashion startup, Showpo. The store ships female clothing at affordable prices to 45 countries around the world. The idea came as a result of Jane wanting a career change and being unable to find stores that offered affordable on-trend clothing with fast shipping. Since starting in a garage in 2010, Showpo is now worth $10 million and awards, such as Smart Company’s Top Retailer of the Year and BRW Fast Starters. In addition, Jane has won multiple entrepreneurial awards like Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia and SmartCompany’s Hot 30 under 30.

 

 

 

7. Lisa Falzone – Revel Systems

Lisa Falzone is the CEO and co-founder of Revel Systems, a point of sale system that operates on iPad. The POS system enables a more efficient and smooth transaction process for customers and small businesses. The idea came when Lisa went out to restaurants selling an app, noticing that they used outdated, bulky and inefficient POS systems. Since launch in 2010, Revel Systems have raised $127.3 million in funding. They’ve also won the Tabby Award for Best Retail System. Lisa also won numerous entrepreneurial awards, such as EY Entrepreneurial Women, Forbes’ 40 under 40 and Business Insider’s’ 30 Most Important Women Under 30.  

 

 

Do you know any other kick ass female entrepreneurs?
Let us know on social media!

Why Everyone’s Talking about Snapchat’s Latest Update

A new year equals a new you. This is the case with one of the most popular social media platforms, Snapchat. Recently, the company announced updates to the app which will be released in the near future on iOS and Android.

What’s new?

The most groundbreaking change in the update is the addition of a universal search bar that allows users to find friends and people they want to follow. Another new change is the inclusion of a quick access chat directory screen, which lists out friends, groups, and contacts.

 

This update is great for businesses and startups. As users can discover other profiles easier, the new search bar will allow users to also discover businesses, allowing them to increase their brand and content exposure.

 

At this stage, Snapchat hasn’t announced plans for ads in search. However, this will be highly likely to be implemented as a response to Instagram, who is planning to implement advertisements in their Stories feature.

 

Another update has been added to the “Our Story” feature, where users can submit snaps wherever they are at any time. Snaps curate based on holidays, events and what’s trending around the world. This will provide businesses with the opportunity to utilise creative occasion-based marketing and create user engagement.

 

One of the main reasons for the update could be to improve the app’s user experience. On the business end, this could be a tool to motivate businesses to produce more content. The final reason might be a move to help Snapchat keep up with its close competitors.

At the end of the day, only time will tell.

 

What are your thoughts on the new search bar? Let us know on Facebook
We’re also now on Snapchat! Connect with us by scanning the Snapcode below.

7 Successful Australian App Entrepreneurs

“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen” – Scott Belsky, Founder of Behance

Do you have an app idea that has the potential to be the next big thing? All you need is the big idea coupled with the passion and drive towards making it successful. This means getting it developed and published in the app market. Here are 7 Australian app entrepreneurs who have turned their app idea into a success.

Related: 7 Kick-Ass Inspirational Female Entrepreneurs

 

1. Jess Wilson – Creator of the “Tinder for Clothes”

jess-wilson-stashd2Stashd is a fashion discovery app created by Jess Wilson. The idea came from the lack of retailers’ engagement she experienced when shopping online. The fashion discovery app lets users view clothing and accessories from global fashion stores. Then they either stash (swiping right and storing it) or trash (swiping left and deleting it). Stashed is used in over 80 countries with over 4,200 brands partnering with the app and over 500,000 fashion items accessible. It has even partnered with Tencent, a popular shopping app in China.

 

 

 

2. Chris Strode – Ensuring the numbers add up for businesses

 

chris-strode

Chris Strode is the creator and founder of Invoice2Go, which is a business app where users can create, send and manage invoices from their smartphone. Chris could not find accounting software that were easy to use, which sparked the app idea. From starting out as a side business, Invoice2Go is now worth over $100 million, has raised $50 million in funding and expanded overseas. It has been the number one business app in the app store and is used by more than 200,000 small businesses around the world.  

 

 

 

 

3. Melanie Perkins –  Turning the world into a graphic designer overnight

 

melanie-perkins-canva2

Melanie Perkins created Canva at the age of 19 in her home. The app makes it easier for users to perform advanced graphic design tasks on their Apple devices. Her app idea came as a result of the complexities of graphic design software. Canta is worth $458 million and has gained over $40 million in funding, with celebrities like Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson on the list. Since launch, the app has won numerous awards and achieved worldwide success with over 10 million users across 179 countries.

 

 

 

4. Luke Anear – Improving safety, thousands of workplaces at a time

 

luke-anear-safety-culture

iAuditor is an app created by Luke Anear that allows businesses to create checklists and audits on Occupational Health and Safety in businesses.The app idea came about while Luke worked in the worker’s compensation industry. He witnessed accidents in the workplace and wanted to prevent any more from happening with this app. Since launch, the app has gained $33.88 million in funding and gained international success. The app is used across 80 countries and they have expanded their offices overseas.

 

 

 

 

 

5. George Freney – Saving shoppers time and petrol every day

 

george-freney-booodl

Booodl is a store discovery engine app created by George Freney that shows users which stores and locations stock products they are looking for. The app idea began when George kept forgetting to buy a USB cable and could not find one at nearby stores. Since launching, more than 15,000 retailers have partnered with Booodl. They’ve won multiple awards, such as the 2015 Aus App design awards, and recently achieved a $2.85 million investment deal with a major shopping centre in Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

6. Andrew Low – Enhancing the supply ordering process

 

andrew-low2

Andrew Low is the co-founder of Ordermentum. Thea app helps businesses in the hospitality industry order supplies efficiently through a cloud platform. With vast experience in Finance and Fast Consumer Goods, Andrew created the app after trying to find a way businesses can order and pay for supplies more efficiently. Since launch, more than 3,000 businesses have signed up to Ordermentum, with more signing up each day. They have recently received $2.5 million in funding and plans of powerhouse investors coming on board.  

 

 

 

 

 

7. Peter Marchiori – Making job applications and hiring a breeze

 

peter-marchiori2

Peter Marchiori created Found Careers. The app is, essentially, the Tinder for jobs. Basically, users create their profile and tick jobs they want to apply for. Users can also chat directly to employers, making communicate easier. The app idea was the result of the founders facing difficulties of finding employees in their previous business.  It has over 25,000 downloads and over 2,000 jobs posted. Found recently gained $1.5 million in funding and voted as the #1 useful job platform in Australia.  

 

 

 

Get your app idea developed! Contact us for a free and confidential initial phone consultation!

7 Government Grants to Boost your Startup in 2017

With two weeks left of 2016, you might have some new year resolutions for your startup. One of your list priorities most likely would be to enhance your operations. Whether it’s finding investors or creating a mobile app, receiving government grants might be a high priority.

With the various grants offered by the Australian Government and the latest Innovation Agenda launching, 2017 will be a great opportunity for you to apply for some grants. In this post, we’ll be identifying grants that will help kick start your startup in the new year.

 

1. Entrepreneur’s Programme

 

The Entrepreneur’s Programme is an initiative that helps entrepreneurs and startups support and develop their innovative ideas or concepts. Through this initiative, entrepreneurs get access to networks and support from advisors and facilitators in the relevant industries.
Applications for this grant have no due date are on-going. You’ll need to apply for the elements separately on the official government program website.

The Benefits:

This program helps your startup achieve business grow through assistance with the following aspects:

  • Product/Service commercialisation (Accelerating Commercialisation):  This element of the program will give your startup the boost to launch your idea into the market. You’ll get a strategy of commercialising your products with an experienced adviser. The element will also help you offer partnering opportunities and access to a network of experts. If you go ahead and undertake a commercialisation project you can gain a grant of 50 percent expenditure of up to $1 million.
  • Business Analysis (Business Management): An experienced advisor analyst will go through business strategies, direction and provide recommendations to improve your startup’s abilities. You’ll receive a tailored plan which will help your startup increase competitiveness and growth. With this element you can also apply for a Business Growth grant of up to $20,000 after meeting with a service provider to fund your improvement projects.
  • Business gap analysis (Innovation Connections): You’ll be able to identify knowledge gaps that are restricting your startup from achieving growth from expert innovation facilitators. These facilitators will also help you identify opportunities to get your ideas research new ideas and provide other business service packages. There’s also an innovation grant available if you decide to undertake a product research project of up to $50,000.

 

2. Crowd-sourced Equity Funding (CSEF)

 

Launching sometime in 2017, the Crowd-sourced Equity Funding (CSEF) is a new initiative by the Australian Government that allows startups and  entrepreneurs crowd from the public of up to $5 million each year. To get your funding you’ll need to submit a CSEF document that contains information about your business and purpose, through an intermediary with a Financial Services License.

The Benefits

This is great for startups who have a ground breaking idea or product but need lots of funding to get it implemented.

The CSEF is still in development but if you want to keep up to date with the latest news you can subscribe for updates on the Australian Government site.

 

3. Small Business Grants Program – City of Melbourne

 

To support creativity and innovation, the City of Melbourne offers grants to startups that have a market ready product or service.

There are four grant categories: Startup, Business Expansion, Export and Business Support, however you can only apply for one category per round.

Your application will be assessed on Innovation and Creativity (23%), Business readiness (25%), Financial viability (20%), How it benefits the City of Melbourne (20%), Ethical and other considerations (5%).

The Benefits:

You can receive up to $30,000 to boost your startup and help you with business expansion. In addition there are also $10,000 grants to help export your products overseas and expand in new markets.

To be eligible, your startup needs to be located in the Melbourne CBD area or planning to move there in the future. Your team can only have up to 20 staff members, have an ABN, proposals and other documents.

Applications will open in June 2017, so now will be a good time to plan your application early.

 

4. Landing Pads

 

Landing Pads gives you the opportunity to travel and work in coworking spaces for 90 days overseas in areas known for innovation. Currently there two areas in operation; San Francisco and Tel Aviv, with plans of Landing Pads in Shanghai, Berlin and Singapore.

To apply you’ll need to fill in the application form online, which asks for personal details and answer pre-requisite questions about your startup, e.g. your key objectives, how you differentiate from others.

The Benefits:

Applying for Landing Pads gives you the opportunity to gain market knowledge, improve your  products designs and network with other startups overseas. Additionally, you get access to training, coaching and investor networking opportunities.

You’ll be fully supported from Austrade when overseas and after returning home. Here, Austrade will further provide assistance by introducing you to other service providers, corporate and government agencies.

Applications are ongoing and offered each time Landing Pads are available. You can reapply if you are not successful the first time around.

 

5. Grow your business – Victoria

 

Grow Your Business is similar to the Entrepreneur’s Programme but only available to startups in Victoria. The program gives your startup funding for attending planning and management services on offer. There are different program categories, consisting of development plans, strategic review, mentoring, group and network programs.

Each category has different criteria, which you can find here.

Applications are ongoing and are done online.

The Benefits:

These grants will help you cover costs for a certain amount of the project, which varies depending on category.

The Business Development Plan and Mentoring covers up to 50% of total projects of up to $7,500. The Business Strategic Review covers up to 75%, up to $4,000 and Group and Network projects covering up to 75% of a cost up to $15,000.

Your operations and strategies will be analysed and reviewed. You’ll get reports on your business and areas of improvements so that you can maintain long-term growth. Finally, this program helps you enhance your management and business skills maximise your competitiveness overseas.

 

6. Research & Development Tax Incentive

 

The Research & Development Tax Incentive will help your startup relieve costs with the help of a tax offset. The grant provides startups 45 cents back from every dollar spent on R&D but only if they earn under $20 million in a year. The minimum spending of R&D is $20,000 and you’ll need to provide supporting documents. As long as you’re actively trying to find solutions to problems  with products, you can apply even if you’re not in the tech industry.

Applications are done online and the deadline is 10 months after the end of a company’s year.

The Benefits:

This will most benefit new startups or those without sales as you’ll receive 45% back from Research & Development expenditure, such as wages for personnel working on projects. Additionally, R&D will enable you to enhance your products and achieve solutions. This grant will be a big help in the idea validation and product research stage of your startup.

7. Export Market Development Grant

 

This Grant gives reimbursements for exporting marketing activities and creating new markets. There are a whole range of categories you can claim, from marketing consultants, overseas trade shows  and free samples. This grant is mainly for startups who actively promote their products or services overseas.

Applications are done online but currently closed and expected to reopen sometime next year.

The Benefits:

You can get back up to 50 percent of expenses as long as they are at least $15,000. As a result, the Export Market Development Grant enables you to spend more money on promotional activities. Your startup will be able to explore more markets overseas and also reduce the financial risk of international business activity.

 

emmas-journeyAn example of how grants can help boost your startup

Takeaways

With these 7 government grants, you can be well on your way towards reaching your goal of boosting your startup in the new year. A final word of advice, as you start preparing your applications for each grant remember to incorporate what the Government is looking for in startups. For instance, in the Landing Pads program, the Government is looking for startups that have vision, market relevance, scalability, differentiation and traction.

 

Have you applied for any government grants in 2016? Which grants will you apply for in 2017? Let us know on our Facebook page.

 

The “How To” Guide to get Investors for your Startup!

The right investors for your startup won’t just provide capital. The right investor can add value as an industry expert, an insightful mentor, a well-connected network contact – pretty much as a driving force to accelerate your startup! To help you grab the attention of the right investors, here are the 5 key attributes they seek from startup businesses.

 

“How do I get investors for my startup?” It’s one of the most frequently asked questions from budding entrepreneurs. It’s a question we address during our Rocketfuel Workshop to help clients determine the best business model for their app startup.

In the future you might be looking towards increasing your investor base to gain startup funding. Whether it’s through investor networks, it is important to know what investors look for in a startup. In this guide, we’ll be going through the five traits investors look for in startups to increase your chances of getting funding.

What are the 5 things investors look for in startups?

 

1. The Right Team

The first important criteria that investors focus on consist of the founders and management team of the startup. In fact, many investors see this as the most important aspect. Investors look at the technical areas in founders, such as their skills, education, and experience. For instance, their experience with overcoming obstacles and leadership.

 

Investors also look for certain personality and characteristics of founders that are congruent with theirs. While there are many traits, the main ones desirable to investors include teamwork, determination, willingness to learn and perseverance. In addition, investors look at the founders’ past investments to identify whether business operations match their expertise and own experience. For instance an investor with a focus on health and wellbeing would most likely help a startup offering healthy snack bars. Overall, they want to make sure that the people they will be working with in the long term are trustworthy, committed and have the ability to get the job done.

2. Big Idea

The second aspect that investors look at is your overall business idea. The main aim here is to show that your idea will work and benefit the investor in the long run. To do this, you could create a Proof of Concept (PoC), which basically shows that your idea is feasible and scalable. Your PoC should answer questions that look at your product or service’s potential or is adaptable to future trend.

As mentioned previously, another aspect relating to your idea that is desirable to investors is your product or service’s ability solve a problem, be unique or innovative. For instance, Uber got its first funding, back in its early days, through solving San Francisco’s problem on the lack of cabs and transportation. One other way to further enhance the validity of your idea is through social proof, which is essentially where others, whether it be through customer testimonials or media reports, provide a good form of evidence.

3. Business Market

Another aspect investors look for when funding startups is the market landscape where your startup is competing, as it is a potential indicator of growth. Investors are looking to fund businesses with potential to be the next big thing in the present and in the future and, as a result, also offer a large return on investment. They need to make sure the market has enough demand and the potential for a large customer base.

The bigger and more stable your customer base, the more likely you’ll win over investors. In fact, investors even look at funding startups in new and promising markets, as long as you prove there’s growth and potential. If you’re operating in a highly competitive market, you’ll need to show how your solution stands out among others, which is tied back to your overall business idea.

infogThe 3 elements investors see as a successful startup

4. Business Plan

The next element investors want to see is your startup’s plans and strategies down on paper. It is important to note here that investors may have different criteria on your plan. However, the aim is to prove you can compete and there will be returns.

It should be detailed and have the basics of a standard business plan, such as background on your startup and strategies. Going beyond the basics, investors are particularly interested in elements focusing on the business’s potential. For instance, competitive landscape, financials and how your product/service offerings solves a need or problem. Additionally, investors want to see that you’re building your startup, so you’ll also need to provide evidence that you’ll gain continual traction, which I’ll speak more about later, through research and data.

5. Traction

Finally, investors look at a startup’s business traction, which refers to the startup’s progress and momentum in a market. You can show investors traction, through your current customer base or sales figures on your product or service offerings. Essentially, traction shows investors that your product or service offerings are in demand and are on its way towards success. Having traction gives you the opportunity to stand out among other startups.

For startups with limited or no traction, you can show investors that you will be creating traction through clear goals and metrics to measure its success. These aspects should be stated in your business plan. Other ways of getting traction include reaching out to customers and influencers, getting customer feedback and also getting publicity by showing your products and services at events. In fact, this is a method used by Twitter to gain success when they first started out.

 

tim-draper-infographicTo gain investors, you’ll need to think like an investor

 

 Key Takeaways

While there could be many more different criteria investors are looking for, in general they will be looking at the startup’s human resource aspect (Founders and Management), business plans, your overall idea, the market you’re operating in and the traction in the market. Remember to show and not just tell investors with evidence and research, which I’ve already mentioned throughout this post.

If you would like any further advice or assistance, contact Launchpad App Development to find out how we can help you launch your startup.

 

So what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.

The Top 6 Traits of Game-Changing Entrepreneurs

No two people are identical, just like no great tennis or basketball champions are ever the same. What they do have in common are certain characteristics that set them apart from the rest.

It’s these certain skills and traits that allow them to surpass the average sportsperson and become the best. It may be amazing hand-eye coordination or incredible athleticism, both of which are vital to be a great sportsperson. I believe the same can be said for entrepreneurs. The art of being an entrepreneur might not involve skills as tangible as athleticism, but there are consistent characteristics that all successful entrepreneurs must possess. Below are the 6 skills and traits that separate the entrepreneurial greats from the rest.

 

1. Invest in self

The most lucrative investment one can make, financially or otherwise, is investing in their ability and knowledge. Many of the great entrepreneurs of our time stress that success in business is not based on academic credentials, but instead achievement through self-education. Entrepreneurs often define it more broadly as a burning desire to continuously better themselves and always being proactive in improving their skills and knowledge.

All great entrepreneurs invest time in reading, learning and mastering their skills in their field of work. As Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin said “I see life almost like one long university education that I never had – everyday I’m learning something new”. They realise that every piece of information learnt is an opportunity, and passing it up may just give the competition the edge they need to get in front.

Melbourne App Developers

Continually educating yourself by reading books, online blogs (like this one), academic articles and, most importantly, learning from other successful people will keep you ahead of the game. Remember, YOU are the most important asset of your business.

 

2. Self confidence

If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? Most entrepreneurs agree that at the start of a venture no one will see your dreams and ideas as you will. Yet they ignore the naysayers and have confidence in what they truly believe they can achieve. No one will sit behind you telling you what your vision will look like and how you should strive to achieve greatness except for yourself.

Mobile App Development

Source: Forbes

 

3. Time Management

The ability to manage your time is essential for any entrepreneur. This is especially true in small businesses or startup ventures. It’s about managing your time to create space where you might not have originally thought possible.

A common problem that all entrepreneurs face is not having enough time. People assume that everything has to be done by themselves, when in reality, there won’t be enough time to do so. Especially in the early days when you may be trying to juggle a full time job, family and other commitments.

“Entrepreneurs understand that one person cannot do everything themselves.”

Being able to delegate tasks to others, when you may not have the time or the skill set to do is also a main component in time management. A good entrepreneur realises that they will not be the best at everything. Being able to identify strong points in others and delegating them tasks where they might be more efficient than you will free up time to be able to focus on other important tasks.

 

4. Salesmanship

Your ideas are only as good as your pitch. You have to sell your concept and ideas whether it’s pitching your idea to potential investors or negotiating business direction with business partners or other stakeholders. It’s no good having the answer to one of the world’s problems if you can’t sell your solution to the people you need to win over to make it happen. You also have to create a need for the customers to buy your product/service and it has to show a clear solution to a problem they pose.

Not only do entrepreneurs have to create the sale they also have to be able to keep everyone happy. Research shows that for most businesses, revenue comes from about 80% of recurring customers and only 20% from newcomers. This is certainly true for mobile apps.

The apps that generate the highest revenue are free to download and the revenue often comes from small subscription fees, in-app purchases or ads designed to continue users to spend. This is why customer satisfaction is the highest priority in business because in the end, it’s the customers that dictate whether you succeed or fail.

 

5. Perseverance

A good entrepreneur sees their vision with crystal clarity and never lets failure or naysayers get in the way. Failing is a part of life and most definitely a part of business. You may learn some of your greatest lessons by failing and as long as you have the perseverance to keep going each failure will become a stepping stone closer to success.

Business is a long distance marathon, not a sprint. If you have ever had the chance to speak with someone who participates in long distance running they will tell you that it’s your mind that will try and give out on you first, not your legs. The same can be said when it comes to entrepreneurship.

 

6. Inner Drive

Entrepreneurs possess a passion for success beyond that of the average person. Whether they had a tough childhood, coming from a household where money was a rare commodity or they were given all the tools from a young age to do well in life. Entrepreneurs have a deep inner drive that pushes them past the expectations of that of an average person.

No one can tell you to dig deeper and push harder then the next guy. Well, they can, but probably to no avail. It’s the true passion for their work or the crazy idea that they can change the world and make a difference that is the driving force that keeps an entrepreneur’s inner fire burning. Consistently striving to better themselves and their businesses.

One day you’ll look back on your life and ask yourself these questions: What did I contribute to society? How has my existence affected the people I co-inhabited this earth with? Will the mark I leave behind hinder or improve the world for generations to come? True entrepreneurs are answering these questions at work everyday.

So do you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur? If all these points resonate with you then I you are already on your way to entrepreneurial success! If not, there’s still time! You’re reading this blog because you want more from yourself.  Above all else, it is your inner drive that truly defines your success.

 

The 4 Characteristics of Successful App Startups

What are the shared traits of apps like Uber and Airbnb that help them become impactful multinational companies? The answer can vary depending on industry and business model. In this post we share the four most common characteristics of successful app startups.

Not since the dot-com days of the late 90s has there been such a prevalence of tech startups. The rise of mobile technology and innovations such as cloud computing has spurred this latest round of tech entrepreneurship.

As the mobile revolution becomes mainstream, new business opportunities are being presented. At Launchpad App Development, we help entrepreneurs and emerging businesses realise these opportunities through iPhone, Android and Web App Development.

Here are the important qualities to achieving app startup success in the evolving mobile marketplace.

They are disruptive

One of the defining characteristics of successful app startups is Disruption. A disruptive app challenges the status of an industry – transportation, retail, lifestyle, etc. – to such an extent that the traditional way of doing business becomes practically obsolete.

That’s easier said than done, and a lot more difficult than creating an app that follows consumer demand and market trends. So why are so many app startups aiming to innovate rather than regulate?

As the late Steve Jobs succinctly put it: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

So is a disruptive app created?

Clayton Christensen – who introduced the disruptive innovation theory in the Harvard Business Review – notes that disruptive innovation often starts from the low-end market foothold.

Consider an industry where companies try to provide their most profitable and demanding customers with ever-improving products and services. In such an industry, these companies are paying less attention to less-demanding customers. This opens the door to disruptive apps to provide these low-end customers with a Minimum Viable Product.

Example – Uber

The taxi industry is tightly regulated and the drivers face strict obligations. In most cities, drivers need a special operator’s license in order to act as a taxi. Furthermore, there are restrictions to what cars they can legally drive.

In comparison to traditional taxis, Uber started in the low-end market by allowing anyone with a car to drive other people around for money. No special certification or knowledge was required.

As Uber’s network grew in each city, ride costs and waiting times declined and the rating system ensured that the driver quality was relatively consistent. With this improved service quality, Uber was able to move upstream to attack taxis directly – a classic disruptive move.

Uber Most Valuable Startup

Now worth $85 billion AUD, Uber is the World’s most valuable startup. Source: Statista

They have a well-defined Value Proposition

A value proposition is a statement that explains what benefits your app provides and how it does it uniquely well. It describes your target users, the problem your app solves, and why it’s distinctly better than the alternatives.

A significant part of defining a value proposition involves what Forbes writer Michael Skok calls the 4Us:

  • Unworkable: Does your app solve a broken business process where there are real, measurable consequences to inaction?
  • Unavoidable:  Is it driven by a fundamental requirement for accountability or compliance?
  • Urgent: Is it one of the top few priorities in the marketplace that your startup is entering?
  • Underserved: Is there a noticeable lack of valid solutions to the problem you’re looking to solve?

If you answered yes to these questions, then you’re on the right path toward a compelling value proposition.

Example – Evernote

Evernote’s value proposition is to “help the world remember everything, communicate effectively and get things done”. From saving ideas and thoughts to preserving experiences to working efficiently with others, Evernote’s distinct app offering makes it easy for users to stay productive and organised.

With a well-defined value proposition, you know that your target market is primed for the solution that your app provides.

They start with a small market

When it comes to successful app startups, there’s been a lot of talk about the huge market that’s readily available through the ever-evolving mobile platform.

While it’s true that a startup must eventually reach a large market to transform into a large company, it’s actually best to identify a narrow market segment to begin with.

As we covered in a previous post, starting with a small market helps you to understand the behavioural traits of app users in an insightful manner, while also underlining any issues that need to be rectified more quickly.

“Begin with a really small market, take over said market, and then expand that market in concentric circles.”

Peter Thiel, PayPal Co-Founder and early Facebook Investor.

 

Thiel advises in his lecture , “the greatest mistake you can make as a new startup is going after a giant market from the get-go. That signifies that you haven’t defined categories properly. And you’re going to be dealing with too much competition in one way or another.”

If you want to turn your app startup into a successful company, you should first capture targeted small markets and then help that market grow over time.

They provide an outstanding User Experience

By definition, a startup is a new company. They can’t be dependent on brand loyalty built over years or decades like their big, entrenched competitors can.

This is why providing a useful app product that’s simple and intuitive to use is so important to the business’s long-term success.

So how do you deliver a great user experience for the app that you’re building? Here are some guidelines to get you started.

  • Easy flow and navigation – Once you’ve decided on the first set of features you want to be part of the app, it’s essential that you make it easy for the user to navigate from screen to screen, or from one feature to another. Your aim should be to reduce the learning curve for the users and make navigation more intuitive.
  • Understand your customer What is the profile of your typical customer (E.g. Age group, gender, their behaviour with technology, etc.)? The navigational features (such as button size, easy tap instead of swipes) will differ from a 5 year old compared a 55-year-old mobile user.
  • Utilise the platform – Each platform, iOS or Android, offers various gesture-based navigation tools. Swipes (left, right, up or down) can bring a new screen and remove another, while a pinch can zoom into content or move out of the current screen as well. Depending on the nature of your application and its purpose, platform-specified gestures should be offered to provide an intuitive navigation experience.

App User Experience

The iPhone’s gesture-based navigation tools. Source: Business 2 Community

The User Experience your app offers should be an integral part of your product strategy. Remember, success is by design, not by chance.

Remember, success is by design, not by chance.

Concluding Thoughts

Whether your app idea will grow into a successful startup depends on a variety of factors. They have common characteristics that can be identified.

Successful app startups are disruptive, have a well-defined value proposition, start with a small market and provide an amazing user experience. Making sure that your app concept has these four traits will set you on the right path to achieving startup success.

What additional characteristics do you believe lead to app startup success? Let us know in the comments section below.

4 Key Ingredients to a Successful App Startup

What makes an app startup successful? We outline the four components of successful mobile apps so you can strive for App Store success.

Success comes to those who persevere. It also comes by design and not by chance. Understanding this subtle, yet pivotal difference can set the direction of your efforts on the right path.

If you want to transform your innovative app idea into a sustainable business, there’s no secret method or ‘growth hacking’ technique that guarantees App Store success.

As an app entrepreneur, a well-crafted app development process that addresses market strategy, user experience and product execution provides the building blocks for a successful mobile app.

These are the four key ingredients that constitute those building blocks. An understanding of each component increases the likelihood that your app startup will attract a loyal user base and generate ongoing revenue.

 

Value

The building blocks of a marketing-leading app development process are laid down by identifying the value provided to its intended users. Every successful mobile app offers a solution to a problem that customers are willing to pay for.

Some of the most successful startups were established from problems that the founding entrepreneurs experienced themselves and then solved with an ideal product/market fit.

It’s not just about solving a problem, though. It is about whether iPhone and Android Phone users would be willing purchase your solution or shift from an existing app because you solved an intrinsic problem that no other app could.

Identify the core value the your app intends to provide to its target audience and validate whether there is a need to use the app a second, third and fourth time on a consistent basis.

 

Design

A key element in the success of any mobile app is a user-centric approach to design. The app’s design, experience and usability  should resonate with the target market.

As the late Steve Jobs succinctly put it: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”

Design can be broken down into two main aspects where one leads the other. The first is the functionality and form of the app. Once you’ve selected the first set of features that will comprise the app product, it’s essential that the flow from one screen to another, or from one feature to another, is as simple as possible for the user.

To make the navigation process more intuitive, you should aim to minimise the learning curve for the users. This part of design, commonly referred to as User Experience or UX, is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability and accessibility provided by the interaction between the user and the product.

This is followed by the graphic design or User Interface Design (UI), which is the process of understanding of who the customer is – factors such as age, gender and geographical location play an important part in how the app will look.

Furthermore, the colour scheme of an app design is scientifically proven to drive certain emotions in people. This is why you see specific colours used in certain brand logos and product design.

 

Branding & Marketing Colour

Colour Psychology in Marketing and Brand Identity. Source: Visme

When you have an understanding of your target market, design an interface and experience that incites an emotion that you would like your user to feel.

 

Distribution

Distribution can literally determine whether your mobile app is successful or not. Getting your app into the hands of both iPhone and Android users is potentially the biggest hurdle.

There are multiple marketing channels available to spread the word about your app, including Facebook Advertising and Blog Writing. In my experience as a Product Manager across an array of app development projects, you need to start the distribution process by exploiting every market channel at the early stages of promoting your app offering. This is the only way you will discover which channels produce the best results.

Mobile App Marketing

Flipkart distribute their app to Android users that Google a product that is available on Flipkart. Source: Business 2 Community

For our apps, we research and develop a marketing strategy document with a comprehensive execution plan across all channels. We then study the results of our marketing efforts across all the channels over a quarter to half-yearly period. This provides a comprehensive insight into the most effective channel that delivers best user conversion rate and ongoing revenue stream.

Along with a marketing strategy, you should create a compelling story about your app that shows its value proposition clearly. Consider Instagram’s value proposition: “Capture and share the world’s moments.” When it comes to emotionally connecting with potential app users, it doesn’t get more clear and simple than that.

 

Scalability

Scalability is all about how adaptive and flexible you are to your users’ feedback. It’s also about your commitment you are to continuous product iterations, improving the app’s features and enhancing the overall experience it provides over a period of time.

A good way to approach this is to identify a narrow market segment to begin with. This could be within your own social circle or an extended network of people that are potential app users – randomly selecting a user base doesn’t help. Another efficient form of market segmentation is reaching out to customers within your city – similar to how Uber started.

This helps you to understand the behavioural traits of app users in a close and personal manner, while also highlighting the mistakes that need to be rectified more quickly. The faster you learn from your users, the easier it gets to deliver them a better solution.

The moment you are able to satisfy the app needs of this smaller market segment, all you have to do is scale your efforts to distribute your app offering to similar users with the confidence that your app provides an ideal product/market fit. And remember, a loyal advocate of your app startup is worth a million!

Looking to launch your app idea towards startup stardom? Contact us to find out what we can do for you.

10 Apps on the Right Path of Disruption: Part Two

Disruptive apps create a ‘new normal’ for consumers and businesses alike. They make life easier and often improve upon the traditional practices that came before it. We look at five new apps that are changing the way we shop, find a car park and do chores.

A disruptive app strives to challenge the status quo within an industry – so much so that the traditional way of doing business becomes obsolete. That’s easier said than done, and a lot harder than creating an app that follows market trends and consumer demand. So why are so many app startups aiming to innovate rather than regulate?

Well, as the late Steve Jobs succinctly put it: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

In the first part, I discovered apps that aim to change the way we live. For instance, grabbing a coffee, finding nearby friends and even monitoring our health. I also discovered that these app startups that are crazy enough to think they can change world, are the ones who do.

Related: 10 Apps on the Right Path of Disruption: Part One

In this second part, I examine five more apps that disrupt the way we live our lives for the better.

 

1. Witness

What if live streaming, like those that run today on apps like Periscope or Meerkat, could be used to save lives? That’s the premise behind Witness – An app that does everything your phone can do to keep you safe in an emergency. With one touch, the app broadcast your location, audio and video to your loved ones and emergency contacts.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Live Mobile Video Streaming

Winner of the TechCrunch 2015 Hackathon, Witness can be activated by launching the app and pressing the ‘Witness’ button. As soon as you activate it, it will call and text your emergency contacts.

In addition to alerting your friends and family, Witness will record your location, camera and microphone activity. It also streams it over data and Wi-Fi to your emergency contacts in real time. In the meantime, your screen fades to black so nobody can notice that you’re streaming what’s happening.

Witness App

Source: iTunes

Changing the way we stay safe in an emergency

What makes Witness a game-changer in the live streaming app market is that rather than having the stream sent out to the public via social networks like Twitter, only designated contacts you’ve previously configured in the app’s settings are alerted to the incident via phone calls and text messages.

“Whatever emergency I have, I pretty much always have my phone and my wallet with me,” developer Marinos Bernitsas explains. That’s why he says it made sense to take advantage of the smartphone’s camera, microphone and GPS to build an app that could help keep people safe.

Operating as a ‘panic button’ of sorts for your iPhone, Witness empowers individuals and law enforcement agencies with a secure and efficient way to capture and deliver digital media in an emergency situation.

 

2. Membit

While searching for disruptive apps, I found that one of the most difficult industries to shake up was social networking. Companies like Facebook and Google are always striving, and spending, to remain at the forefront of how we connect to one another. With that being the case, how can a startup disrupt an industry where the most powerful are also the most innovative?

Well, when your app has a feature that Snapchat filed a patent for, it’s safe to say that you may have the attention of Silicon Valley. That’s what Membit has – a breakthrough mobile image sharing app that utilises a patented Human Positioning System (HPS) to share images.

Membit is a new way to share memories by letting users unlock past clips (‘membits’ ), captured at a specific location.

Changing the way we share memories

“Membit is destined to become the world’s way of memorialising and sharing moments that matter.” It’s a bold statement by Membit Founder Jay Van Buren. But when you consider the patented form of augmented reality the Membit has for geo-locative photo sharing, it’s a statement that he can say with confidence.

Membit photos know where they belong in the real world, and users can share Membits simply by leaving them in a particular place. Others can experience these images through a 3D interface or through their mobile devices at the Membit’s actual physical location. It’s a uniquely compelling way to experience and share photos.

 

3. Mallzee

Tinder-esque ‘swipe to filter’ interfaces (A.K.A. ‘Tinderfaces’) are in app vogue right now. ‘X app is the Tinder of Y’ has become the standard descriptive shorthand for this trend, named from the dating app Tinder which popularised making snap aesthetic judgements swipe style.

U.K. startup Mallzee is just one example of apps following in the gestural footsteps of Tinder by applying a Tinderface to high street shopping decisions.

The self-proclaimed ‘Tinder for Fashion’, Mallzee has captured the attention of fashion labels and investors alike. With a database that let’s you search over 2 million products from around 200 major brand retailers, the company has raised a nearly $6.7 million since being founded in 2013.

mallzee-app-screenshots

Source: Student Fashion

Changing the way we shop for clothes

Mallzee’s personalisation technology and retailer analytics appears to be the biggest draw here. The former creates what the startup describes as unique personalised style profiles that make finding ‘the perfect outfit’ quick and easy. This includes sending you alerts when items you have swiped-to-like are reduced in price.

For the retailers, Mallzee provides a data insight tool, which claims to provide ‘actionable real-time knowledge’ of how their products. For instance, how they are perceived and used across various consumer demographics, such as location, age and gender.

It’s quite the innovative shopping startup, but it’s Mallzee’s clever social twist that’s shaking up the personalised shopping experience for users. The app lets you share the item you intend to buy with friends. If the consensus is a thumbs-down, Mallzee will actually prohibit you from making a purchase — the buy button becomes disabled — helping to avoid any potential fashion faux pas. This feature could prove to be a viral hit with the young demographic. Or just a bit annoying. Time will tell.

 

4. DoStuff

Algorithms can’t tell you what to do tonight. You need a local who knows about all the events and can tell you what’ll actually be fun. That’s why DoStuff hire natives from cities across the United States to power recommendations in its new event discovery app.

The app is smartly designed to find awesome local events that are the real deal. While most other event aggregation apps force you through the chore of sifting out what’s good (I’m looking at you, That’s Melbourne!), DoStuff has real humans curating the events.

Changing the way we… well, do stuff!

So how does DoStuff stand out from the heavily saturated event discovery market? “There’s probably been 87,000 companies that have tried to tackle this,” DoStuff’s founder and CEO Scott Owens admits. “Where we’re different is that we’ve become a part of the scene in those communities by partnering with people.”

DoStuff understands that it doesn’t have to build an empire to create a disruptive app. The fact is that the companies perhaps best equipped data-wise to nail event recommendations just don’t care. EventBrite only makes money by selling tickets to events on its system, so Owens says “they’re fighting against themselves if they surface other things.”

Owens thinks similarly about Facebook. “It’s not in their DNA to be a part of a local community. They’re a platform.” Facebook knows where your friends are going, just not if where they’re going is any good.

Event discovery may be saturated, but that just shows there’s a clear need for it to be done well. DoStuff have realised that it’s people that are needed to do that.

 

5. Parkhound

After publishing the first part of this blog, I had a mate astutely say ‘Cool apps bro. Any Aussie ones?’. Considering Launchpad is Melbourne-based helping Australians develop their innovative app ideas, he had a good point.

As such, this app startup is disrupting a something that most Australians can relate to: finding a car park!

Enter Parkhound – An online marketplace that connects drivers looking for parking with local property owners who have spare parking spaces. A 2014 Australian Mobile and App Awards nominee, the app aims to make sure you won’t have to drive around aimlessly looking for a parking spot ever again.

Changing the way we find a car park

Parkhound works very similarly to Airbnb, but as a marketplace for empty parking spaces instead of rent accommodation. Drivers reserve a parking spot in advance and parking space owners get to make extra income on the side.

As a Melbourne motorist that heads to the city every morning, here’s how I feel about this app…

Blog Meme

As indicated in the above meme, parking has been a major issue for all Australian motorists. Lack of investment in infrastructure meant that parking is either unavailable or is too expensive.

Instead of ignoring the issue, Parkhound has decided to challenge it head on. The solution? parking spaces need to be better utilised. Through collaborative consumption, here’s hoping that Parkhound can give the Australian parking industry the much needed shake-up it deserves.

 

Bonus App (Surprise!)

Apps like Tinder have gained popularity by shallowly focusing on physical attractiveness. It’s unfortunate, but also understandable. How is another way someone can find the perfect match with an app? Well, Oscar Mayer believes it has found the perfect equation for this and it all comes down to bacon.

Last month, the company released Sizzl, a dating app that allows lovestruck users a closed network of bacon lovers where they can scour for their ideal dates. This ‘totally real dating app’ allows people to “specify their bacon preferences in a customisable profile, upload photos and start swiping through profiles of local fellow bacon lovers, with the ability to message and meet up with other Sizzl users based on a mutual-matching system,” according to a company press release.

Changing the way bacon lovers find their soulmate

“In love, as it is in bacon, it’s important to be discerning when selecting your perfect match and to never settle for less than the best,” said Eric Dahmer, Oscar Mayer’s marketing director in a statement. “With the launch of Sizzl, we’re thrilled to give our true bacon lovers the chance to find each other and potentially meet their soulmates, in life and in bacon.”

This is a real app, and you really can attempt to meet your love match via a bacon-based matching service. It may not be disrupting the online dating industry anytime soon, but let’s be honest — it can’t be any worse than what’s already out there.

Are there any other disruptive (or bacon-centric) apps we should be checking out? We’d love to hear about them.

 

VALIDATE-MY-IDEA!

 

Rocket Icon