With the “There’s an app for that” adage going stronger by each passing day, everyone and their grandmother seem to have ideas for ground-breaking apps by the dozens.
As a Mobility Solutions Consultant, I regularly come across people who claim to have the ‘Next Big App’ Idea. The answer while it is one thing to conjure up a rough concept of an app with a lot of potentials, it is an entirely different dimension when it comes to actually turn your idea into a robust and functional mobile app.
The primary hurdle most people encounter is how to fund the app development process – how to take your app from the inner recesses of your imagination into the mobile devices of your target audience.
The most popular route, in the last few years, has been seeking out good investors – people who see your app idea the same way you do. With the chance of becoming a best-seller or the next Snapchat or Instagram, investors are always on the lookout for potentially profitable apps that can more than repay the investment.
And with a 10% average funding rate (out of every 100 ideas, good investors usually positively consider 10 app ideas), it becomes imperative to put your best foot forward while presenting your idea to an investor.
So how to get investors interested in your app concept? Believe it or not, it’s not all about the “app” or your “concept”. Instead, many small seemingly innocuous factors come into play that differentiates a good pitch from an effective one.
1. Punctuality: Not being on time only rarely proves to be the best thing. And when you are only going to get a few dozen minutes to make or break your app, it makes sense to come on time and fully prepared.
2. Carry extra ammo: It is always better to have a Plan B and not need it than to need a Plan B and not have it. Come fully prepared to your meeting with potential investors.
Bring backup documents, multiple prototypes, and a well-planed contingency plan to make sure that no technical glitch can keep you from turning your app concept into the next big app.
3. The right ounce of confidence: What do you need to become an entrepreneur? CONFIDENCE!
And what you don’t need to destroy your entrepreneurial journey even before it begins? OVER CONFIDENCE!
From the minute you walk into that room, your potential investors will be keeping a close eye on you and your demeanor. So give them something that makes them trust you and makes them comfortable with the idea of giving you the responsibility of the judicious use of their investment.
If you are not able to convince your audience (potential investors) about your idea, your vision, and what to do with it, chances are you will never be able to convince your future customers/clients and that is something that your investors will notice from the get-go.
4. Suit-up: I don’t mean literally but do wrap yourself up in the most presentable outfit from your collection. Mostly, people go with the suit, that’s because that’s what your investors will be wearing, right?
You will be shocked to know that even big-shot investors sometimes let it go easy. So, going with smart casuals (dark pants and a smart shirt) tagged along with ‘not necessarily’ clean-shaven look but a bearded look will do just fine as long as you deliver it with a side-order of confidence.
5. Bare the essentials: When things don’t add up, start subtracting.
No, seriously don’t go all in, but keep it simple. Make sure you have prepared an executive summary for your presentation which gives a brief insight into the key details of your pitch.
Because the devil is in the details!
Investors should get a quick picture about your idea, like the what, why, how, and who of the idea by simply assessing the document.
6. Establish Your Commitment: It’s very important that investors understand the love of your commitment to the vision.
Although there’s no need to harp on about it all the time, it still should be evident to the investors that you are in it for the long run, and not for short term benefits.
7. Get Facts or Get Out: Don’t risk being considered a dunderhead. Your potential investors have summoned you because they want hard and straight facts, not assumptions.
If you don’t have a proof for something or real market data, it’s better if you don’t present your idea to them at all.
A solution to this dilemma can be you providing them three scenarios: best case, moderate case, and worst-case about what is it that you really are trying to forecast with your idea.
By doing this, you will be showing them that you are a realist and understand the ‘risk’ element in business.
8. Focus: An idea/product can never appeal to or satisfy the needs of all the verticals of the audience at once. And releasing multiple variations of the same product isn’t what many brands look for or prefer to go after.
Focus on the minimum viable product (MVP) that will be key to a successful pitch. Investors will recognize this trait and acknowledge the fact that you are ready to slog during the infancy stage of your idea and business.
9. Be frugal: Don’t expect a large share or salary overnight. Work hard and pave your way to it.
Nothing turns off investors more than startups with a demand for high salaries. Always look to reinvest as much revenue back into your business as you can and make sure your investors are aware of this attitude.
10. Know the difference between ‘What you know’ and ‘What you don’t know’:
It’s never a one man-ship – surrounding yourself with the right team of people is a great way to build confidence with the investors.
They know you can’t do everything on your own.
Your team will fill the holes in your knowledge and bespeak your ability to You have an idea for the app – Great!
You can’t stop thinking of how it could bring about a change in the market and for yourself too. But what’s exactly the process to take a good idea to a 5 star featured app at the top of iTunes or Play Store.
How do you make it so engaging that people can’t resist using it?
How do you avoid sinking thousands of dollars and get the most bang for your buck?
There are these and hundreds of other questions that will eventually need an answer from you or your team at the investors’ pitch.
First things first:
For Mobile app funding, the first thing you need is a working prototype to inspire confidence in your investors.
In the real world, if the main concept for your app doesn’t go beyond ‘it’s cool’, it probably won’t go far later.
Look at the other apps that started out as an idea and later brought about a revolution in the app market –
Instagram – An easy, fun, and engaging way to share photos with your friends.
Primarily for the hipsters it initially served, Instagram solved the problem of adding filters and sharing them to the social networks fast.
Likewise, Evernote – Promises you the ability to capture everything, access it anywhere, fast.
For the creative demographic, Evernote serves as the second brain.
Before Evernote and Instagram, there were several other apps promising to solve the same problem but these 2 emerged as winners
Simply put, they didn’t just solve the problem, but they did it in a way that was better than the others in terms of design, functionalities or maybe they were just faster.
After you have a complete understanding of how your app will solve the problem, visualize how people will interact with it.
When it is up to me, I just create an imaginary box around my smartphone’s screen and mimic the gestures necessary to interact and play with the app, while keeping ease-of-use in mind.
After playing with one of the above apps, it’ll be clear to you that you have to design your interface for interactions, and not simply for aesthetics.
After all, it is the deciding factor for users to choose your app as the long term solution.
Here’s exactly where Instagram and Ever note were able to put their competitors to dust.
Once you pay heed to the 10 points plus the one bonus above, and you will have a useful mobile app that can solve a real-life problem.
You are all set to go off on your first Investors Pitch.
Do mention it in comments if this helped you snatch funding off the investors’ pockets.