Please introduce your company and give a brief about your role within the company.
The company was founded in the year 2012 because of my keen interest in user experience and design. When I found this company, this was the second company that I was the founder to after the one I established in Singapore. During that time, I had outsourced a project to a company in Bangalore, India and when I visited the company I realized that the team which is building the product is not the kind of team I had imagined working behind an idea. So, I started my own company and we were a 4 member team. We soon won an award in 2012 for the best mobile application in Bangalore. Soon, we realized since we won the award a lot of people were coming to us to get their applications built. For that 1 year, it was more about getting multiple projects for the company. Over the period of time, we learned how difficult it is to develop good products and services. Soon after that, we jumped into design thinking & service design and also offered it as a service. We started noticing that the quality of our products is attracting good clientele. Today, we are 26 full-time employees.
At foOfys, we think it’s very important for us to know what we are aiming to build. A lot of times, it’s important to have simple basic functions before we have we spend time making a cool one. It takes a lot of time for the clients to understand the differentiation between these features. The user doesn’t understand the plan B & plan C of a business, for them, it is just the initial offering that concerns them. We think it’s really important to keep the team and the client aligned to the goal, and not only think about doing business.
I am the founder of foOfys Solutions. My role, from being the sales person to the UX person, is somebody who aligns the team to the client.
Mention the objectives or the parameters critical in determining the time frame of developing a mobile app.
I look at the team and the past experience of the team. We also reuse a lot of codes, so that we do not have to reinvent certain basic things. I look at a weekly goal, which we call the Agile method of development and so far we have realized that a 20 day scrum works perfectly for us. Again, its very product specific and a lot of it depends on the KPIs of the product.
How much effort in terms of time goes into developing the front end and back end of a mobile application?
We are trying to do the entire design work in 15 days, including the logo and a bunch of screens. However, this doesn’t result in a fixated design; the design keeps changing as we develop the project. It only helps us fix the base design as it gives the clients an idea of how the business is going to develop and gives us a direction to proceed further.
What is your company’s business model–in house team or third party vendors / outsourcing?
We have an in-house team as well as third party vendors. 80% of the projects are done in-house and 20% of the projects are done with other companies and not freelancers. We tell our clients very clearly about our partnership with other companies for any project. We are completely transparent in letting them know our roles on the project and the partnered company’s roles on the project.
How is your business model beneficial from a value addition perspective to the clients compared to other companies' models?
Firstly, we focus on goals. We set clear cut goals and align the team and the client towards achieving it. Secondly, the best thing that we’ve done so far is being completely transparent with our clients. They know what we are working on, with whom we are working and how we are working. There is a direct contact between the team member and the client and they are kept in loop with regular exchange of feedback. I or the project managers don’t get involved until and unless required. If there is a development change, the right person to contact is the developer directly.
What are the industries that you cater to? What ratios of your clients are repetitive?
Being a service company, we have the flexibility of experiencing projects from different industries. Although we’ve seen ourselves do well with projects related to tech companies. 45% of our projects belong to the tech industry, 15% belong to the non tech but tech enabled, and the rest are more of innovation and MVP creation. In the past 2-3 years, we have all our clients coming back to us to work on different projects.
What are the key parameters to be considered before selecting the right platform for a mobile application?
Everything boils down to where your users are located. If you’re targeting the Indian market you definitely need to select Android as your platform. If you’re targeting the US market, iOS platform would be better.
Android or iOS, Native or Hybrid — which platform is best to use to build your app? What are your recommendations?
Choosing between Android or iOS platform is a no brainer. However, if clients ask me to choose between Blackberry and Windows, I suggest them to buy their Blackberry/Windows users Android or iOS phones.
It mainly depends on the kind of application we want to develop. If it just a simple functionality, hybrid works well. If you want to provide a good user experience and a lot of interactions through the UI, uploading & downloading, native works better. At foOfys Solutions, 90% of the applications are based on native 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?
Pretty much all of our clients have done that. How we look at it is, it’s not like the client’s idea should win or our team’s idea should win; the most validated idea on the table should win. That’s the only way we work. We tell our customers upfront that we are developing a product for your customers so only the best idea should be executed. And our clients have appreciated this approach.
What are the key factors that you consider before deciding the cost of a mobile application?
We make sure that the team members, who are working on the project; their salaries are ensured. The opportunity cost is what we take the equity on. We can save a company close to 5-6 lacs in exchange of equity at a very early stage. With a few companies, we’ve not just developed the technology; we’ve also built a team for their technology and handed over the team and technology to them.
A lot of clients want our in-house team that can start developing the product. Once the product is in the market and the user it experiencing it and is gaining attraction, what we start doing is we start building a team and towards the end of our engagement we hand over the client the team and the product.
What kind of payment structure do you follow to bill your clients?
The payment structure works on the basis of sprint. We have a 20 day sprint and we get an advance based on that. The rest of the amount is taken when the product is delivered.
Do you take in projects which meet your basic budget requirement?
Not really. It’s very important for me to bring good ideas to the team and make them excited about what they are developing. If I had to do 20 m-commerce applications back to back, I know I won’t have a team bend on it. So I need to make sure that the idea wins before the cost.
What is the price range (min and max) of the projects that you catered to in 2015?
Minimum was around US$300 and maximum was around than US$80000.
Which business model do you suggest to generate revenue from mobile applications? Why?
I have a very new perspective on this. I am working with a start-up called AppsFly. What we are doing is, we can stream one app into another. So, advertising is generally wasting the user’s space on their screen. He’s not asking for it but it is the need of the application to do it, to make money. The other way to look at it is affiliations. For example, I have an application which finds restaurants nearby; if I can affiliate a taxi service application inside my original application I can make money for every taxi service ride. So, I think you are adding a new service without having to manage that business.