This is the first part of a 7 day series titled “7 things to learn from our app startup”. We’re rapidly growing and expanding, and while we are always learning something new, this series may give a little insight to some of the things we faced to get the app off the ground.
Key Point: Money isn’t always the answer. Seriously.
We’ve been there. The almighty “dollar”. Or should I say “the holy grail” in a startup. You don’t need money to get started. Trust me. Had I read this a few months ago, I would have laughed while reading this, saying “You’re crazy, there’s no way that applies to me”. Don’t be afraid to bootstrap. Boy, that’s a scary word isn’t it? “Bootstrapping” a startup. What does that even mean? Taking your idea from absolutely nothing, to a functioning product or service, using your existing resources. What it meant for Cyphr? Creating an app based business shaped around a concept that had never been done before, with no app development experience, some graphic design and business experience, and no money. I’m not talking about guys that each have $30,000 in savings that they can put towards a startup and say “We had no money to start”. I’m talking about legitimately no money. The “Hey, how are we going to pay for this lunch we’re eating while we discuss Cyphr” kind of monetary constraints. When we first came up with the idea for Cyphr we spent weeks ironing out details with the concept. Once we had removed the initial “big problem questions” we became stuck. Ok, now what? We’ve created this awesome concept. Heck it’s even got some potential screen shots! (JACKPOT!) We’ve ironed out all the initial flaws with the concept, now we need A) Money and then B) The app developed. Where do you even begin? I know what you are thinking. “Well, like any startup, you need money! But, before you can ask for money you need to know how much are things going to cost.” In January, we met with an Austin based app development company who will remain anonymous for the purpose of this post. Let’s just call them “Chaotic Sun”. So we met with “Chaotic Sun” and they told us it would cost $200,000 for the discovery meeting and $500,000+ to develop the iOS app. The whole process? 8-9 months. Heck, these guys have worked with HUGE names. The”Big Boys”, which to us translated to the “ideal businesses” to have on Cyphr! Perfect! All we need to do is get $1,000,000 of funding for our concept and we’ll be in business! Easy enough? We believed this was the best (and only feasible way). While seeking funding we were sold that this was THE company for us. We played the “what if” game for hours. Scratch that, for WEEKS! “What if someone beats us to market?”, “What if we don’t use this company and don’t leverage their great contacts to help us grow?”, “What if we can’t raise the money?”, “What if it costs over $1,000,000? “. Then, we asked the most important “what if” question of all. “What if we do this in house?”……….. hahahahahahaha! No way is that feasible. Yet, that’s exactly what we did. We begin the search for the best and brightest of family, friends, or friends of friends, and quickly built a team. A team that is comprised of great people, with a similar belief and vision. We have done everything, to date, on a shoestring budget. We have created the app, the back end, the designs, the sales process, the whole business, just by bootstrapping. Not only did we do it, we did it two months faster then the company we were going to pay. If you believe in your app (or any business) enough, I mean, really willing to do “whatever it takes”, you’ll figure out the “how”.
Comment below and let us know what questions you have. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our series tomorrow!