Idea to Product Market Fit
Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company.
Wow Labz is a turnkey web and mobile application development firm which was founded in 2011. People come to us with ideas and we help them conceptualize the idea into a product. We design the product, develop it, put the analytics into place and where ever applicable work with them till the product reaches a market fit. After that, they either build their own team or can raise funding, whichever way works for them. We do not function as a regular service provider to whom you’ll give your requirements and expect us to take care of just what has been explicitly stated. We pretty much work like co-founders on any project. The services that we offer include mobile app development, web app development, technology and design consulting, product consulting and MVP development. We have built MVPs in IoT too.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing a mobile app.
It completely depends on the application that is to be developed. Typically the pre-sales and sales process takes a month. We understand the requirements thoroughly, give a time and cost ballpark and if shortlisted get the contracts done. The design phase takes about a month. Based on our experience, most consumer applications takes around 3-4 months to complete development. For sophisticated projects, we enter into a Time and Materials contract to scope out the work and design the applications. Fairly accurate estimates are given for development after that.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of a mobile application?
Generally, for a 3-4 month project, 1 month goes into the design phase, 1.5 months for backend development, 2-2.5 months for frontend development. We recommend a 15-day alpha with 20 users and a one month beta with 200 users to most of our customers before launching the application.
What is your company’s business model–in house team or third party vendors / outsourcing?
We have a complete in-house team of 23 members and we do not outsource any of our work. Sometimes we hire domain experts on an hourly basis to understand the customer’s domain better.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
Our clients value us for not just our tech and design, but for our business and product insights too. So much so that 16% have paid us a bonus without asking and 24% of them have offered us a co-founder position or equity in their venture to work with them in the long term.
We are a nice well rounded team that understands startups and products well. Members at Wow have won multiple competitions covering tech, design and product disciplines. Senior members at Wow are considered subject matter experts in the aforementioned disciplines too. Between them, they mentor the founders of over 20 startups, 6 of which are funded. We speak regularly at events and conferences and take workshops for entrepreneurs and students in some of India's top universities.
Whatever we know, we gladly make available to our clients and introduce in the product. We engage in healthy debates in the interest of the product. We focus on business needs as much as user needs. We are metrics driven, so all our products go with analytics in place. Things we implement in most of our products are Branch(for deep linking), Mailchimp/SendinBlue(for transactional & marketing emails), Intercom(for capturing user feedback), Bugsnag(for crash reports), Localytics(for analytics), AppsFlyer(tracking marketing campaigns) and a few more.
Wow Labz is also in the intersection of the Tech, Design and Product communities in Bangalore. I have co-created one of India’s oldest and largest start-up communities called Headstart Network. I also founded Design Day which is a prominent design community in the country. My Co-Founder Rohith is the founding member of House of Genius India and Lean Start Machine India. Our Head of Design - Manoj, leads a monthly UX Roundtable for the benefit of city's entrepreneurs. Being community guys we are well connected to people across industries. So if an expert opinion is required on something, it’s usually just a phone call away.
While we might have crossed the line of humility here, we are very approachable. We try to assist everyone who comes to us. At times we have even helped people find other vendors when we couldn’t take up the job.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a mobile application?
Which platform to build on, depends on the geography. If it’s India, you should build on Android first. If it's America or Europe, it’s a 50 – 50 split between Android and iOS. However, it’s good to build on any one platform first. There are many learnings and feedback that require significant changes in code. It could be an invalidated assumption about the problem we are trying to solve; the user segment we are targeting; our solution itself; scalability challenges discovered only after the first 10,000 users got on board etc. If you start with one platform, you only have to make changes in one platform. When the application is stable and enjoys significant traction, you can implement all your learnings swiftly into the other platforms. Everything from design to DevOps would have already been cracked by then.
Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
Build for the device your user carries. If it’s in the USA or Europe, I would recommend iOS. Certain consumer apps and almost all enterprise applications require apps to be built on both platforms simultaneously. They can’t do with making the service available to only half their user base.
We only build native apps. We keep prototyping with hybrid apps from time to time, but the native platform experience cannot be matched by a hybrid platform.
Out of all the projects that you delivered in last 1 year, how much % of clients agreed with going first with the platform suggested by you?
We have rarely been asked to give a suggestion of choosing a platform. Generally, it’s the clients who come up with a platform based on the user demography, budget etc. When asked, we recommend what makes sense.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile application?
This again is dependent on the scope of work and sometimes the client’s paying capacity too. When somebody is a bootstrapped start-up, we often end up giving them cash discount and the rest gets converted into convertible debt with extremely entrepreneur-friendly terms. If they’re corporates then we bill them according to our standard rate card. The rates depend on certain factors such as the time it takes, the number of people it takes, and total ticket size. We extend significant discounts on projects over 100k USD.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients? Is it Pay per Feature, Fixed Cost, Pay per Milestone?
We have different models. T&M model for corporates, foreign clients and for complex projects. For domestic clients, it is generally a Fixed Cost model, but we spend a significant time understanding and freezing the requirements before we begin.
Typically with all our customers (foreign or domestic) as long as the requirements are clear and precise, we are able to quote a fixed price. There is always an advance payment component of 20-33% that we take before beginning work.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement?
We like working with smart people with big ideas. Budget is usually not the deciding factor. We are a small team and we rarely work on more than 3 projects at a time. We have to frequently say no because we don’t have the bandwidth to take on more work.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2015?
Minimum was an MVP for US$15000 and the highest was over US$120,000.
Which business model do you suggest to generate revenue from mobile applications? Why?
If it’s a consumer application, I would recommend a Free App with In-App purchase. It is known to perform better on acquisition, referral, and revenue. Paid apps perform better on activation and retention. Enterprise solutions ought to be paid. Enterprise SaS being an exception.
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