Whether you are a Startup raising money for your first project or need to develop an app that will be part of a well-established product, you might need the help of an experienced development partner.
If you have an idea of what features you need and how you want the app to look but lack the expertise to bring all of the pieces together, a mobile development studio can help answer all design, functional and technical questions. The development team is mainly composed of experienced designers, developers and engineers that will listen to your needs and desires and work to arm you with all of the information you need to create the perfect pitch for potential investors.
What You Can Present in Your Pitch
This first stage is vital for creating a great project pitch. In this stage, the development team works closely with you in order to understand your specific business objectives and demographic while also answering any remaining questions and framing the analysis and development work to be done. Pitch presentation areas that you can cover together could be:
Defining the Problem and Articulating the Solution
You need to define the problem your product is going to solve and be able to explain to investors why they should care about solving it with your product or app. Problems can be simple, but use-cases must be valuable. Your development partner should be seen as a resource that can help you to define potential use-cases and present valuable ideas on how to deliver your product in a way that will work for your targeted demographic.
More important than finding the use-cases for the problem is bringing a valuable proposal of the solution. While it would be useful to have a demo of your product ready to fully validate your idea, this is almost always unrealistic. If you don’t currently have the resources necessary for developing a working prototype you can explain your solution in other ways such as:
- describing your solution at a high level in just a few sentences
- wireframes or mockups of the app or project
As you define the problem you are solving, you should be thinking about potential users who have this problem. In your pitch, you will have to include a section where you will define a target demographic that has the problem you are solving along with an estimate of the size of this targeted market. One more thing you should consider are your competitors. Even if you think your product is something completely new and unique, there is someone out there doing something similar. Knowing who this is and successfully articulating how your idea is different and why it is better will go a long way with potential investors. In addition, researching your direct and indirect competitors will enable you to improve your concept by avoiding certain pitfalls and adding features desired by users.
Set Appropriate Milestones
Milestones are, of course, essential both before and after you start pitching your startup idea. When creating a plan for your project’s fundraising and growth strategy, it’ll serve you well to break down what you need to do in terms of projected milestones. If you work with a development studio, keep in mind that the planned milestones should go along with a functional specification document and cost projection for each milestone. Milestone development duration can take from a few weeks to a few months, same as milestone scope it can variate from project to project. If development is done according to Agile principles you will be able to test and validate the work early and often.
If you don’t have enough loose cash, your first milestone could include:
- Interactive wireframes or a browsable mockup including the information architecture and interactions that will show how the application will work
- An established visual design direction can bring life to your wireframes and emotionally impact investors in the same way it will your eventual users. This includes the design of all main screens, a defined color palette, your chosen typography and an icons styleguide.
A milestone like this would take about one month of design work not require any input from the engineers. With complete interactive wireframes, you will be able to compellingly present your project to investors without spending a fortune.
If you plan to showcase the demo version of the app or project your second milestone could include the development of certain key features. Cooperating closely with your development partner is essential at this stage because they can help you:
- Define the minimum viable product that will enable you to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers and use cases
- Develop the MVP and deliver it as a working prototype that you can test, review and provide feedback on
- Test your minimum viable product and then integrate lessons learned
A great example of a startup that began with a great MVP is Angellist. Angellist is a platform for connecting Startups and investors. The problem they are trying to solve is how to connect startups with potential investors. The main feature of their MVP was to facilitate email introductions between startups and investors. Early use patterns fully validated this feature and it still forms the core of what Angellist offers today.
Financing and Business Model
Every investor will ask you about your plan for generating revenue. It is important to define how you plan to generate revenue from your app or product. If your management team is inexperienced with mobile, your development partner can provide significant insights into how you could monetize your app.
Investors always want to know how much money you will need to get started and how much revenue you believe you can generate and at what point. The cost projection provided by your development partner back at the milestone stage will give the investors a better idea of what their investment will be used for. A great business plan should also address the lifetime value of each user and plans for keeping them engaged.
Preparing Your Pitch Presentation
Once you cover all pitch areas, the next step is to bring them together into a short presentation that clearly demonstrates your idea and the reasons why your team will succeed. You can easily download Guy Kawasaki’s pitch template for inspiration. Your development partner can also provide design support for your pitch deck.
Development studios gain little from working with failed startups. They have the skills, experience and motivation necessary to work with you from the initial fundraising through the development and launch of your app.