Any advice when it comes to building a mobile app?

Hey Elpha community! Reaching out to see if anyone has advice when it comes to building a mobile app (and scaling from there). My idea is to create an event sharing platform for local organizations and businesses to connect and share their events with the local community. I come from an events background, but certainly not tech! So I'm wondering...-Have you worked with a developer or company to build your app that you trust?-Have you been through any pitfalls and have advice for avoiding mistakes/scams?-Is it worth learning to code myself and building on my own app?Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Hello!Very cool that you are building this -one of the main thing I caution aspiring founders looking to build an app and wanting to outsource (essentially that's what you'd do) is to see if there is any IP rights and ownership meaning if you ask someone to build something it is likely that they'd own the tech behind ie. they could just replicate it with whoever making you/your business worthless especially if you are looking to build smth fast growth that might need external capital. Of course something you'd need to clear out!With that I know @marianah was working for a software consultancy and wanted to spread her own wings a year ago (see thread for ref here)@sandramedina also runs a consulting business so she may be able to support you? You can see more on this thread)!Good luck and happy building!
Thanks for connecting us @iynna and impressive memory :)
Of course! I'm thrilled for you two to connect!
Thank you so much for this info! I really would not have thought about that, so I appreciate the heads up.
Ha yes. But I'd definitely explore no code platform (as Teresa posted below)
Yes, I think that's my next step - test and validate the concept. Do you know if there's a good way to test at scale and with the right market?
You really just need to start somewhere ie. you need to come up w/ a set of assumptions that you want to (in)validate - very much like a researcher, in your case: what market do you initially want to go after (think deep as to why you even want to build this and you will have your answer on potential market), then put the product out there and observe/study the market reactions: do people want it? think it sucks? think it's great? Most importantly why? But you have to start somewhere :)
Got it, let the cold calls begin.. 😊
That's right!
@marianah and @sandramedina would absolutely love to hear if you have any advice or resources as well. I have actually created wireframes myself on Sketch, but not sure the best way to validate the idea (it's mostly based on my hypothesis and some market research I've done).
@LilyRachelle I am happy to chat more and share some of my expertise! I am a product designer, so my perspective would be more on the product strategy and design side vs. the technical side, but I think it would still be valuable. I am available to connect over the next couple of weeks, reach out and we can set up a quick chat?
Great! I’ll DM you so we can schedule some time. Thanks so much!
On your last question, something too to think about could be, whether or not you need a coded solution or something via no-code tools (eg. any listed in here would suffice to test initial concepts, validate market, etc.!
This is a great resource, thanks so much for sharing!!
Hello!! I am a mobile engineer at a mobile consulting firm! I'm happy to chat sometime about options if you need it!
Yay! I'll DM you to schedule some time. Thanks!!
Unrelated, but then, wow, glad to see someone from the Events world. We built a solution catering to Event check-ins, but then after the onset of covid, kind of put a hold on that space.If you are okay, we can just do a casual catch-up. Would be nice to see how you look at what we've built, an expert's view would help us, especially someone outside my geography.Sorry, if I just barged in, got a bit excited, that's all :)
Absolutely, would love to take a look at what you're working on. I currently do a lot of webinars and virtual events, and I know many companies are trying to find the best platform or build their own! Feel free to DM me your availability and we can find time to meet.
Super. I shall DM you over the weekend and let's catch up sometime next week. Thanks a lot, Rachelle!
Sounds great!
Hi Rachelle,Feel free to book a suitable date from forward to a casual chat :)
Confirmed a time. Looking forward to it!
Sent you a google meet link for tomorrow's catchup. Kindly check your message tab.
I had an app & SAAS platform built by a developer some years ago - happy to speak to you about that. I also built a prototype solution myself - which was pretty easy. Let me know if I can help. Thanks, Shreya
Fantastic! I would love to chat with you. I took a look at your website and would love to hear more about the events you host as well. I will DM you to find time to meet. Thanks!!
I would recommend taking online classes on to at least learn UX. You need to be actively involved in building your product even if you can't initially code. you need to be able to map it out ... and understand every single step of the user journey. You can build prototypes without code using Invision and other apps... don;'t expect developers to *design* the application, that's your job, not theirs. Their job is to build it. THEN you can decide whether to code or try to find a co-founder or hire outsourced developers.Yes it's worth learning how to code but it will take time. Serious investors will not invest in companies without technical co-founders so keep that in mind before thinking of hiring outsourced developers. Also think of how your solution differs from what is currently being used ... would there be demand? Why would anyone use an events app during covid? This may sound harsh but unless you have lots of money to spend, you are going to need external capital and investors are less likely to invest in an events company at this time for obvious reasons.
All really great advice, and thank you for your candid questions and feedback!My question regarding 'learning how to code' would be more about *how much* should I know if I'm not planning to be the technical founder. I definitely plan to hire or find a technical co-founder, so if you or anyone else knows anyone technical - hit me up!I'm currently doing some outreach for market fit and use case validation, but covid is a huge factor of course.. my theory is that we will eventually go back to being able to gather in larger groups, and once we do people will be super excited to get out there to hang with friends and engage with their community. If anyone feels differently though, I'd love to hear your thoughts!!
I *REALLY* recommend the start up school which is a free online program run by Y Combinator. Anyone can do it. I am doing it now, it's soooooo helpful. Also I recommend for online courses I have free access through the New York Public Library and I learnt a lot about programming from them. They have great foundational courses and in-depth courses as well.... super clear organized and jargon-free...I actually think it;s not that hard to build an app for the iphone so if you can manage the basics maybe after that you could take courses to teach you to build a simple iOS app... that way you can either do your own MVP or at least know how to talk to your future co-founder about it. it will take a few months but it's worth it.
The Start Up School has a feature that matches people looking for co-founders ( technical and non-technical ) that's another reason to sign up for the program. It's self-directed and you can start it anytime.
Amazing, thank you! I will absolutely check out both resources.
Hi @LilyRachelle I've made a promise that if I come across anyone who is about to build an app that I'd share my experience however it may help! I have a developer to recommend if you are looking for a low costing POC to work with after doing an initial market survey with wireframes. PM me if you would like the info.There are some things that I wished someone told me before I delved right into it, so I would share this with you that I learnt over time:- Consider a Progressive Web App instead of mobile app for a lower cost to entry unless you feel strongly about mobile notifications that PWAs cannot do. Getting mobile app downloads versus website traffic is tougher as it takes more steps to install and register for an app.- Note that there are a lot of cost and resources considerations when it comes to app building such as Apple/Google Play developer costs, launching builds and getting approvals. Cloud storage and server costs on AWS.- It is good to understand coding but to learn it may take a lot more work and as the main driver behind the business you will have many other aspects to look into so might be better getting external help. UX is definitely key however and easier (in my opinion) to get up to speed to. This is one course that I found useful it helps some! Blessed journey :)
So so happy to have your insight! Thank you! I would love to pick you brain even more if you have a spare 20 minutes? I'll DM you so we can connect. Signing up for that UX course asap... ◡̈
Most welcome of course looking forward to your DM
Hello Lily, What a special idea! Stepping out on your own is a major step - congrats! I’m a non-engineering product maker with over a decade making apps. From concept conversations, and wireframes to managing development and a closed-loop testing strategy and brand development. I have time in the coming weeks for mentorship/support calls, if that feels helpful. There’s a lot to consider in a broad, over-arching way that’s really helpful to talk out. When I was a founder, just having someone in the early days to talk things through with was what I needed most, happy to help you if that’s also your need. [email protected]
I would so so appreciate sharing my ideas and gleaning learnings from your years making apps. I'll email you to set up some time to talk. Thank you thank you!
Hey Amanda, I just sent you an email in case it lands in your spam. Heads up it's listed as 'Rachelle' instead of Lily (I go by both names).
Hey - this is so excting, the idea sounds fab and something we'll 100% need once we can all meet in person again.I run Techniclarity which supports female founders in your exact position. I started it as I got fed up of seeing potential female founders stalled because of tech.I'd happily run a mini-session to help you work through all those questions from my point of view as a 2x CTO.
Thanks Sophie, I saw your DM. Looking forward to connecting!
Answering your last question, It could be great that you can code your own app, but it takes time to learn and you need to be patient and find a good developer as a mentor bc that can help a lot to grow faster as a developer, also there're a lot of platforms where you can learn, but If you decide don't do that, well I suggest to you two possibilities:1.- Find a software consultancy but probably you'll spend a lot of money 2.- If you don't have external capital for a software consultancy you could make an alliance with some developers interested and build the app.Btw I'm a developer and if you decide to become a dev don't hesitate to message me and I can share with you the books that I have and the courses that can help you.
Hi there.I have a small team of developers that does web and mobile apps. My rates are very competitive. The code we generate for our clients belongs to the client. I also advise clients on long term goals, scalability and architect. One advise I give when someone calls me with a mobile app idea is how will they market the app. My take is that you can have the best idea for an app but if not many people know about it you wont get downloads, and how do you continue to get users to use it frequently. Apps fail because people end up uninstalling it or just not using it. So you need a very good marketing plan to have it go viral. I would be happy to chat with you to discuss your app.
Hey thanks for responding to my request. Would love to connect and learn more! I will DM you to find the best time. Thanks!
I have seen many founders in get trouble by not getting appropriate agreements in place. If you need assistance with that, please feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]
Thank you, I’ll keep that in mind. 😊
I can only speak from my personal experience, but I’d advise against using offshore companies, we lost around $20k on it before deciding to build it ourselves.Platforms like are a great alternative if you don’t have prior dev experience. And a great way to test your MVP.
Thanks for the tip!
SO much advice! I'm a founder and work as a CSM at a mobile app development firm in Philly - happy to set up a call if you're still looking for advice!
Thanks May!
My pleasure! Sent you a DM with some thoughts on what I learned when I was first starting out as a founder :)
I love this idea + excited to see your app! I could def use this as an entrepreneur
That’s great to hear! I would love to get your feedback if you host events actually. Could I pick your brain on pain points you have in planning/promoting your events??
Yes ma’am! I do host events! Happy to help.
Hey Lily, I'm currently a first-time Founder building a mobile app and I have a few learning points that might help you. - First of all, is suuuuuper important to validate the idea prior to starting developing it. Development is crazy-expensive. What I did was to find a UI/UX design that created some screens design of how the app would look like. We used Figma to connect the screens between them and it also has a mirroring option so you will be able to actually click on some specific buttons that you plan to have. With that interactive prototype we've met with potential clients and got feedback from them. This was an ongoing process: design-showcase-feedback-improve-repeat until we've reached a point where we were happy with what we have and the users confirmed it - After we had this final version of the prototype, we built an initial version of the app with the minimum functionalities - Once we had it we have started a beta test with a small group of people from our target audience and we have to gather actual feedback per functionality/concept/payment From my experience, I recommend doing intensive research prior to starting anything. Try to see what other solutions are on the market and how would you differentiate from them and more important than anything how will you make money. Also, you can take into consideration working with a freelancer developer, software companies are pretty expensive. I think there is no need for you to start learning to code, you should focus on your skills and how can you use them to develop the business side of the app. I have a looooot of learning points and tips and tricks so if you think I can help you just let me know.
This is such great advice and really helps establish what I’ve been told by a few other people, so thank you. I’m in the process of getting feedback and developing a prototype to test. How many people were in each of your test groups?