Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company?
ISBX is the largest mobile app developer and software services company in Los Angeles, both by revenue and company size. Our company was founded in 2009, and was the first app developer in the Los Angeles area. We were invited by Apple to create the first iPad apps, to coincide with the launch of the iPad in 2010. We service a wide range of clients from large brands such as Red Bull, Apple, Nike, Lexus, L’oreal and Warner Brothers, to some of the most well-known startups in the LA ecosystem such as Wag!, Soothe, and Science 37. I am the Co-Founder and President here at ISBX and have been here since its inception.
What was the idea behind starting this organization?
We felt the future was in mobile and that other agencies were focused on servicing the already saturated web agency market. It was difficult to convince our early clients to agree with us.
What are your company’s business model–in house team or third party vendors/ outsourcing?
All of our work is fully executed, in-house. We do not rely on third-party vendors or contractors. We are very proud of our team of almost 70 software design, engineering and testing professionals.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
We have a particular expertise in providing deep consulting expertise for enterprises and startups. The specific needs for these two segments are unique. Technology startups need to constantly learn, adapt, innovate and disrupt. Their work needs to be defensible in the market of competitors, as well as to their board and investors. Enterprises need the best possible technical knowledge and engineering capability with a strict adherence to best practices. The work should be reliable and scalable.
What industries do you generally cater to? Are your customers repetitive? If yes, what ratio of clients has been repetitive to you?
We cater primarily to:
• Enterprise / Large Brands
• Venture-backed Startups
50% of our YoY revenue is from repeat clients.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing a mobile app.
• First and foremost is the extensiveness and complexity of the features.
• Second is the requirement for scalability – for example, if the app is for a large
brand, there may be millions of potential users from launch – in this case, extensive
load, performance and scalability testing must be performed.
• Just as importantly is the responsiveness and clarity provided by the client. If the
client is still unsure of the exact approach, more time may be spent in product development and ideation, causing expansions in the timeframe.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of a mobile app?
It completely depends on the type of app being developed, however, the expectations from our clients and their users are generally quite high to start with. Most of the apps we develop require a fairly robust backend. A good ballpark is 40% front end and 60% backend, however, we have developed apps that were just 10% frontend work, and 90% backend due to things like compliance, certifications, scalability, and functionality.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a mobile application?
Features, market segment, cost and whether the customer has existing users. For example, a popular provider of in-home massages found that their business operated in a premium services segment and therefore made the decision to launch with iOS first. However, another enterprise client had an existing consumer base so the decision was to launch on multiple platforms.
Which platform do you suggest your clients to begin with when they approach you with an idea (Android or iOS) and why?
We do not push one platform or another. The decision must factor in the above-mentioned criteria at the minimum, but generally, our process is much more consultative. That being said, most of our projects, if only choosing one, start with iOS because of research on consumption habits for iPhone owners. Generally, due to market share, recommending both platforms is generally a safe bet.
Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
We have tried and tested all of these approaches. Again, the decision is entirely dependent on features. Historically, we have preferred native development as this minimizes potential compatibility, support, performance and quality issues with a third-party framework. However, some of the newer technologies like React Native are proving to be quite robust, and represent a good compromise in the cost to performance category.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile application?
There are a multitude of factors, almost too numerous to list. In general, the amount and complexity of features are paramount, followed by the expectations on timeframe and additional consulting in the form of product ideation, design and development. Support for multiple platforms increases costs as well, as does the requirement to service a large amount of users at launch.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients? Is it Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost, Pay per Milestone (could be in phases, months, versions etc.)
The two most popular payment structures we utilize are a fixed bid, divided into payment milestones, based on progress and a monthly billing option based on the amount of hours utilized in each billing period.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement? If yes, what is the minimum requirement? If no, on what minimum budget you have worked for?
This is difficult to answer. In general, most apps worth creating are relatively expensive to build. As such, we try to set a minimum expectation of around $75,000 to build a mobile application. That being said, we regularly knock out websites and microsites at a fraction of that.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2018?
$5,000 - $1.5M is the minimum and the maximum price range that we have catered in 2018.
Which business model do you suggest to your clients enabling them to generate revenue from mobile applications? Why?
The answer to this question is entirely dependent on knowing the business itself. For example, a large consumer brand with a significant in-built audience can monetize on direct app sales, or the sales of an accompanying hardware components. SaaS-based business tends to work well with a subscription model, and still others may choose to monetize their audience through ads or in-app purchases. The decision will ultimately come down to the type of business being created or serviced with the app.