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How to prepare your funding pitch to develop a Web/mobile application

August 9, 2017.

So you have a great idea for an application… but how do you get it funded? This is the first of three articles on funding mobile/Web applications. First, we’ll cover the groundwork required to obtain development funding, then, we’ll discuss current funding options, and finally, we’ll address the profitability and monetization of mobile/Web applications.

Laying the groundwork

When you first get an idea for a mobile/Web application, it always seems straightforward. Then, as you get into it, you realize that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. This is why upstream preparation, before you even write your first line of code, is so important. Below is a bullet-point list of things to do to lay the groundwork for your project.

What is the goal of your application? What needs will it meet? What are its basic features? Does a similar application already exist? What is your target audience: companies or the general public? How can you show investors that it will be profitable? Finding the answers to all these questions will force you to examine and cover every aspect of your project ahead of your meeting with potential investors.

And to make sure you cover all your bases, write down your idea on paper… All of the questions above will be asked at your very first meeting with the development company, funding agency or investor, so you might as well prepare your answers right now.

1) What: What is the basic idea behind your application, and what needs does it meet? What is your added value compared to current offerings? Why now? Which basic features will be implemented in the short run? Over the medium term?

You must have a clear idea of what kind of application you want to create. No need to nail down every last feature, but at least have a clear idea of the needs you’re trying to meet. How is your application different from those already available? Otherwise, why reinvent the wheel? In order to maximize the number of paying customers, you have to stand out from the competition.

2) Who: Who is your target audience? Individuals? Companies? If it’s companies, is your application more for employees or managers? Sales, marketing and communications strategies will differ depending on your application’s target audience. The application content must also be tailored to your target market, hence the need to determine ahead of time who your finished product is for.

3) How: What’s your budget? Expected return on investment? Who are your investors? Which peripherals must be compatible? Who will develop the application? How is it going to be profitable/monetized? What is your communication/marketing plan? Will it require training?

  • Budget: How can you know how much your mobile/Web application will end up costing? This is a question that must be duly thought out. First of all, what are the anticipated benefits and impacts of your application? Are they financial, qualitative, or both? Does your application enable users to automate processes, cut staff, or even generate extra income? The answer to all these questions will help you determine how much you may be prepared to invest. (Further reading: “IT Investments: How to Avoid Financial Disaster”.)
  • Partners: Choose bona fide professionals to develop your application. A poor choice of development teams can jeopardize your entire project, and even be fatal. Do your research. Find yourself a “partner” rather than just a “supplier”, someone who will keep you involved throughout the development process to reduce the risk of getting on the wrong track, and staying there.
  • Application format: Native, hybrid, or Web? Which platforms are being targeted? Answer these questions as early as possible to choose the right format and technologies, while keeping in mind the long-term vision; your partners should be able to guide you at this stage. If you don’t have the budget to do everything at once, you can always prioritize attributes and complete the project in stages, one version/platform at a time.
  • Communications and/or marketing plan: Don’t forget the communications plan; it’s one of the most important aspects of your funding application. A good communications plan can win over investors at the very first meeting. The clearer and more structured it is, the more convincing it will be.
  • When: What is your timeline? What’s your deadline for the first version? Better to be early than late. This will avoid you having to make last-minute decisions, often at your own expense.

Now that your idea is well defined and your groundwork is laid, you are ready to pitch your project to investors. The next step will be to identify appropriate funding sources to bring your project to fruition. Watch this space...