Have an app idea? Let's make it real.
Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company.
Creative27 is a digital studio founded in 2008. We define, design and develop smart products across various platforms including mobile, web, tablets & TV. I have been in the design industry for over 20 years now and have gained experienced in various domains including print design, digital and e-commerce related projects. As the era moved towards the mobile application domain, we decided to start our own studio. Our main aim behind starting this organization was to have a remote digital studio in Los Angeles provide quality services at a fair price, without having to export such services offshore.
I am both the CEO and the Director of Product and Design at Creative27.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing a mobile app.
There are several things involved in deciding the time frame of a mobile app. We break all of our projects into two big phases. The first phase is defining the product and the second phase is development and engineering of the product. In defining the product, we take a look at research & discovery, competition, entire flow of functionality, wireframes, user interface design, creating a brand around the product that we’re building and the last step being providing interactive prototypes before getting it to the engineering phase. The defining phase takes approximately 4-7 weeks. However, depending on the application, sometimes it may take more time or lesser time.
Once we have the product fully defined we can engage in the engineering portion of it. The engineering portion takes anywhere between three and a half to seven months on an average to fully develop the product. So, the entire timeline for defining and developing the product is roughly between four and a half to six months.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of a mobile application?
Percentage wise, front end takes 38-45 % of the total time frame and the rest is dedicated to back-end development of an application.
What is your company’s business model–in house team or third party vendors / outsourcing?
We function on both models and still all of our team members are located in Los Angeles. We do have a development team in LA, we form strategic partnerships and allowances with them. We also have several development teams that are offshore. Based on our clients’ preference we offer them a team to work with. If it is a start-up and they have a modest budget, we offer them to work with a team that is located offshore. We assure that the quality of the product is identical and the same. We have a quality assurance team which is situated locally. The only adjustment required from the client’s end is in terms of having flexible timelines. As in case of offshore projects, it takes a little longer than usual to finish the project as we try to dedicated limited resources to meet the budget requirements of the client. We are passionate about helping start-ups grow and that is why we have adopted such processes to help them build their ideas under limited budget constraints.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
Our business model helps in value addition because we just don’t take ideas from start-ups and build the project according to the stated requirements; we help them through the entire process of developing the idea. We enjoy working with companies that allow us to research and develop an idea; this is the core value of Creative27. When start-ups approach us with an idea, we are basically their research and development provider. We don’t just take the idea but we take them through the entire process of figuring out the best of the competition and then we come back and do the process of developing new strategies, new features, new approaches so that when the client introduces their product into the market they have a very strong competitive edge over all of their competitors.
We have over 85% of the products designed and put out into the market that have been multi award winning products; products that have been featured by Apple as their Editor’s choice. We’ve also been named as the best digital agency in California.
What kind of industries do you cater to?
We’ve been approached a lot by companies in the medical industry, to design fitness related and health management applications. We have also worked for some real estate companies, and projects for social media spectrum which have won a lot of awards. In the entertainment industry, we have worked on projects with Samsung, BBC Worldwide, Beats, Bose etc. These are the main industries that we cater to. Sometimes when we take up a project, we need to learn a lot of things about a particular industry. But part of what makes us unique is that as we go through the research and discovery stage, we get to learn a lot about that particular industry. We have a direct transfer of knowledge from the client to us plus our own internal homework that help us to define and design any product.
What ratios of your clients have been repetitive?
We have about 30% of our clients as repetitive clients. In LA, a lot of the clients that we’ve worked with are start-ups and once they have their products up and running a lot of times they put their teams into place and become pretty much self-sustaining. A lot of our repetitive clients are the bigger clients that we’ve worked with like Samsung, Bose, BBCWorldwide etc. Sometimes we also have start-ups that stick with us for a while but once they go through a successful round of funding they are able to put their own team in place.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a mobile application?
We always define the product first before providing the solution. Defining the product means we need to know exactly how the product is, how does the user see it on their screens, the e-commerce capabilities etc. After the defining stage, our lead engineers are able to provide the exact platform and estimate for developing the application.
Android or iOS and Native or Hybrid, which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
A lot of times we suggest building the application on iOS platform. The applications seem to be more stable on the iOS ecosystem. While developing Android applications there are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration. We typically encourage iOS since it’s a more solid platform.
Choosing between a native or hybrid application depends on the kind of application that has to be developed.
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?
I would say 70-80% of the clients have agreed to our suggestion of going with a particular platform. A lot of times clients say they want to develop iOS and Android applications both. We then suggest them to start with iOS application only, let the product be in the market for a couple of months and let’s see what works and what doesn’t. Also, we advise them to do this as working on both platforms simultaneously is going to cost a lot.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile application?
We keep in mind the following factors before deciding the cost of an application:
- We look at the various platforms that the application needs to function on (iOS Mobile/ Tablet/ TV/ Android etc).
- Then we look at the type of features to be included in the application.
- Different types of accounts (Vendor vs users or both)
- What the client is requesting (defining the product, UX, UI, Development, Marketing etc)
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients?
We always bill our clients on a per project basis. We break each project into two major phases and decide the payment accordingly:
- Defining the Product (includes R&D, Annotated Wireframes and UX, User Interface Design and Interactive Prototypes)
- Engineering and Development of the product
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement?
We do projects worth atleast US$18000 and go up depending on what is needed.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2015?
Minimum was around US$15000 and maximum was US$200000+.
Which business model do you suggest to generate revenue from mobile applications? Why?
This highly depends on the kind of product we’re trying to build as each model has its own strengths. Our goal is to figure out a custom monetization approach for each project that we work on.