As we were looking for an investor, from scratch we created a company to develop mobile applications in St. Petersburg and ... what mistakes did
This is our first article on Habré (and, hopefully, not the last) and I want to tell you as honestly and openly as possible about our experience in launching a business in St. Petersburg in developing mobile applications from scratch, what mistakes we made, what we continue to make (well, where without this) and about how we are trying to build something really large-scale and “change this world” - namely, our project of the mobile commodity aggregator tapki (the funny name, of course, was born as a derivative of the English word “tap”). Looking back at the article, after writing it, I see that it turned out quite a bit of text (about 18 pages in a word), but I hope that what is said will be useful. Colleagues advised breaking the document into pieces, but it seems to me that a complete narrative, covering a period of a little over a year, will provide a more complete picture of the development of the company. In the article, the reader will find an economy (managerial balance sheet) that stretches from the very beginning, disaggregated by cost item. We didn’t add anything, we decreased and we give all the numbers “as is”.
I’ll tell you about starting a business from the very beginning: the search for premises, the search for investments, the main (initial) idea of a business and how it changed throughout the year, about good luck and failure. Since we registered the legal entity in June 2013 (more precisely, May 29), we can assume that we are 1 year old “with a tail” and we can’t remember any nuances, but the main milestones with photographs have been preserved. It is important - if somewhere in the text I make a conclusion for myself (and readers) or give advice (directly or indirectly) - I ask you to regard it solely as my personal opinion, which with a 50% probability may be fundamentally wrong. And yet - I can’t recall some points in detail, so there may be small inaccuracies in the explanation of certain numbers - this is not an attempt to hide information, but simply elementary forgetfulness, because
I emphasize that this is by no means a guide from the series “10 mistakes of starting businessmen” or, for example, “How to succeed in business from scratch”. Success is a loose concept, and we definitely have no right to write about it, because we haven’t reached it yet, although we try our best, implying, for ourselves, by “success” to achieve stable profit in operating activities. Despite the fact that we are an investment project, our investors (and ourselves) do not set the goal of capitalizing the company (customers, contracts, payments), but a monthly dividend policy (or, in other words, profit).
It’s worth noting right away that we are (for now) a loss-making project. I met IT businesses that literally in 3-4 months went to payback and began to return investments (if any) in the form of dividends. It's nice to read about such projects, feeling a slight envy inside the more talented guys (no irony) who were able to "jump" into the market. We could not, and moreover, our initial concept in terms of mobile applications, under which attracted investments, was completely not vital. I was pleased to read the history of Amperka’s launch on Habré, but trying on the experience of the guys to myself, I conclude that retail trade and software development are fundamentally different projects and in our case we get operating profit for a long and painful time, because business transactions vary greatly in time (unless you have a very large client,
The idea of business and venture capital funds as a source of investment - what to expect?
So - our story. In the fall of 2013, inside the team, which by the way is quite old - I think that the average age is 35-37 years old, there was a feeling that we could enter the market with the idea of “Mobile app builder for online stores.” Well, you know, this is when mobile applications are assembled from ready-made html (5) templates. By the way, there are such projects on the market - myapps.com, ibuildapp.com - from those that are "at the hearing". Assuming that our competitive difference lies in the coverage of all mobile platforms (ios, android, windows 8 and winphone) and native development (more precisely, we use products from Hamarin), we began to develop a business plan for finding an investor. And although, from the very beginning, I had vague feelings that our venture funds, let's say, are not really thirsty to see us and are focused on projects in a more mature state,
Here I want to distract myself and talk a little about the team that initially formed the backbone (5 people - two .net developers, a project manager, a financier and a businessman). We are all from e-commerce and ordinary retail (mainly consumer electronics), which, as it happened, moved together through life in different projects. The accumulated experience in business suggested that there is strength in the hands to make your project and there is a definite future in mobile applications. No, not even that - we did not see the future in ordinary web projects in the field of electronic commerce, i.e. in online stores. The market is very dense, advertising rises in price, etc. At the same time, there is a trend in the development of mobile applications and the guys had experience with Hamarin. So the idea was born to make a designer of native mobile applications for online stores. Like, and let's sell shovels to “prospectors” (online stores) (the well-known story is that at the time of the “gold rush” rich people were not so many prospectors who “washed” gold, but sellers of jeans, shovels and trolleys). Did not work out.
Our venture capital funds ... A strange industry, probably due to the fact that I didn’t work in it personally, but I can’t understand it with intelligence and information. The presentation took us about a month. In April 2013, I compiled a list of funds operating in Russia and began sending out with a cover letter. Looking back, I understand that the presentation was, to put it mildly, not very, because there were few beautiful graphs (exponential up!) and tables, but more text with a detailed description of the project. But we proceeded from the fact that in order to make a decision on investments, people, even at the first stage, should carefully study what was written and then, if they like it, invite them to a meeting. In total, about 15 letters were sent to the most famous funds. Only one answered - wrote that he would answer in 2 weeks. But apparently spun and forgot. Therefore, if you have a business at the very zero stage, when you have a team, some developments and a good (as it seems) idea - do not expect strong attention from the funds. They can be understood, because the highest risks are precisely at the zero stage of starting a business, although here you can expect the highest return.
And one more remark - if a fund is included in your business, then most often its task is to come out with profit in 3-5 years, selling your share more than the investments made. Accordingly, the profit of a business can fade into the background, because they will ask her to let her in to increase the size of the business itself - to increase capitalization. If we talk about a private investor, then most likely he will be interested not in the capitalization of the company, but in the profit distributed in the form of dividends.
In fairness, it is worth noting that now the situation with the support of the early stages is changing and the pro-state fund of IIDF (Fund for the Development of Internet Initiatives) has appeared. It is easy to find on the Internet, and I advise very young teams to take it seriously enough. Looking ahead, I note that we were nominated for the very first IIDF recruitment in 2013 (in the fall) and went through the TOP 30 projects, among which there seem to be 750 applications. I’ll also tell you about our experience with IIDF and the reasons why we didn’t get (or we didn’t take how to look) investments, but overall, the impressions of this organization are positive and I, frankly, due to my current knowledge of the venture industry, I don’t see alternatives for teams at an early stage of development in the Russian Federation.
Returning to the issue of investment. Our partner had access to investors in St. Petersburg who believed in us and became interested in the ideas themselves, and after a series of meetings with them, it was decided to open investment for us. At the same time, the investor received a 51% stake in the new business. It took us a little more than a month to complete this process (3-4 meetings, usually in one of the cafes) and the first days of May 2013 we could celebrate as Victory Day in the Second World War and the birth of our company. I note that we requested investments for the initial business plan, which, in addition to describing the business process, also contained financial calculations of the expected income - expenses. Naturally, as we started work, it turned out that the ideas put in and the costs, respectively, have nothing to do with reality and therefore I advise you to make a reasonable margin, unless your life and managerial experience allows you to give a detailed forecast. In relation to us, we pledged an amount of 10,000,000 rubles, but the excess of this amount, according to our cautious forecasts, will be about 6-7,000,000 rubles.
As far as I know, it is extremely rare for venture funds to ask for a 51% stake in a business, but I suppose this is more often applicable when there is already some kind of incoming financial flow, an interesting and confirmed business idea, and a close-knit team. We definitely did not fall under this definition, because had an idea, some developments from developers from old jobs and a business plan. All. It seems to me that this is a completely normal “price” for the high risk of investments from zero level, because otherwise (a smaller share in the authorized capital of the investor), they can offer parity investment.
From my experience I will allow myself to advise some more points in communicating with investors. No need to assure success, as it does not sound paradoxical. Investors are serious people and, of course, expecting a return on investment many times, they understand that market conditions are not a greenhouse for growing cucumbers with fertilizers, but not a very friendly environment for beginners. Therefore, evaluating your chances, try to be extremely honest with yourself and with people who are ready to invest. Doubts - this is completely normal, I suppose that indefatigable optimism can simply do harm.
Next, write down the conditions of the dividend policy. At least stipulate them in words. It is clear that we all want to “change the world”, but the ultimate goal of the business is income and it’s nice to hear the investor’s position on his vision of sharing future dividends. Ask a question about the future co-investor and whether your investor will be ready to dilute his share. For example, now we are conducting a series of negotiations on co-investment, as as already mentioned, our expectations did not coincide with reality, and a new co-investor can further enable the business to grow, while it is possible to return the investment of your first investor to redeem part of its share (partially or fully).
What does it look like in practice? In our case, the investor is ready (theoretically) to sell 25% of his 51% in the authorized capital, provided that not only repurchase, but also the opening of additional investment in the amount agreed by the parties. And, by the way, such a model is quite convenient, because a co-investor comes to a working business, showing some financial indicators, has an established client base, etc. It is worth noting here, from experience in dealing with venture funds, it is very rarely assumed that they simply redeem the share of the founders (only if this is not a profitable, fast-growing business), but receive a share in exchange for future investments. For example, I recently held a dialogue with a German fund, which outlined its position - 25% of the shares for opening an investment horizon of 40-50 million rubles. for 3 years (namely, the opening of financing in exchange for shares).
Of course, the investor first of all wants to return the invested, to stay with a certain block of shares (preferably blocking), not to invest further and expect dividends. At the same time, when considering a company with a negative operating balance, a new co-investor may oppose a share buyback and here we can propose a scheme whereby a share buyback does not take place, the new co-investor continues to invest in the company, but upon reaching self-sufficiency and making first profit , the first investor receives dividends based on his initial share until he returns the investment.
Separately, I note that we were extremely lucky with investors, because we are free to make any managerial decisions, which, of course, are aimed at increasing income. Some may argue with this statement, reasonably indicating that an investor who is involved in strategic management can somewhere “open up intentions” to a number of important issues. But there is a fine line between delicate participation and the situation when the investor really intervenes in the operational management, creating just a nervous situation in the team.
Organizational issues of launching a company - how it was
Returning to the launch of our business. All of May 2013, we spent on organizational issues - registering a legal entity, opening a bank account (we chose a rather conservative Nordea bank - Scandinavian roots, because there were familiar leaders, and the bank's “pedigree” inspired confidence) and search premises. I don’t think it’s worth stopping there, because processes are rather simple and are repeatedly described including on Habré. From the nuances - I categorically do not advise sharing the legal address with the actual one, because our fiscal authorities are now quite strictly following this and ... well, why do you need these problems at the start too? By registration, you can use the services of an intermediary or do it yourself.
We decided to name the company by domain name. And we started to search for the latter, keeping in mind the domain in the .com zone, because We did the constructor, which means that the whole world should be subject to us! Not everything worked out with us, except for buying a domain - notissimus.com; the word notissimus from Latin can be translated as “well-known”, “recognizable”. The main thing is that the domain was free and the search for trademarks in the USA also did not give any matches (I searched on the site www.uspto.gov/trademarks, although the logic suggests that when registering a trademark, I usually immediately register a domain name). This is pronounced as a notissimus with emphasis, sometimes we are funny called. When opening a bank account (a legal entity with the same name with a domain - NOTISSIMUS LLC), a funny story turned out. An employee of the bank asked the name of the legal entity, and then asked: “what does this mean?”, Having heard the translation from Latin: what is it supposed to be “well-known,” she apologized and said she didn’t know, although the term seems to be widely known :) .
We were lucky to find a room in the city center, next to St. Isaac's Cathedral with a more than reasonable rate of 1,100 rubles. per m2. How did you search? We used all available free resources (no agents), plus I personally drove around the city center by car and looked for the intriguing inscription “rent” - this is a pretty effective method. It was important for us and the investor to find an office in the center, next to the metro (this is convenient for both employees and customers who we invite, and adds a little importance to the young company when you say that the office is next to St. Isaac's Cathedral). We are now working in this room, gradually expanding due to adjoining rooms - a class “C” business center, which is planned to turn into a class “A” (with all the ensuing consequences, including “leaking” us). The room (45 m2) was redecorated, to make it pleasing to the eye, spending about 45,000 p. along with materials (guests from the southern republics worked). We allowed ourselves to rent two parking spaces, as in the center of St. Petersburg near Isaac there is no chance to find a parking lot and understood that this would be a permanently annoying factor at the beginning of the working day (5,000 rubles for one place - looking back clearly I understand that it was definitely worth it).
The room after cosmetic repairs - it looks decent, although the walls are crooked, because not aligned
In our business plan, we laid down funds for a one-time purchase of fixed assets (OS) for launching a company. What is included here? Computer equipment, peripherals, tables, chairs, etc. All purchases were made on the ulmart.ru website, while simultaneously receiving quite a few bonus points to the account - it’s convenient, because just forget something from the little things, there is some kind of cable or extension cord. Everything was bought reasonably - simple - necessary (sometimes very simple, then I had to improve the PC - buy more memory, so I advise you not to reduce the cost of the technique for daily work). Below is a snippet of our managerial p / l (income - expenses) for May 2013. No one has yet received salary from the team, only rental costs (in part, I don’t remember why this amount), purchase of fixed assets, opening an account, registering a legal entity etc. No income only expenses in the amount of 517 000 p. (contribution of the founder to the company account as an investment loan).
Fragment of management reporting for May 2013 - no operational activities yet
In June 2013, we actually made repairs, arranged furniture, laid communications, etc. Nothing interesting in general, and on July 1 we started our activities in the new building. 3 people - your humble servant (responsibility - clients, meetings, advertising, website, etc.), Svetlana - our financial genius and person thanks to whom we could find investments and Denis is the technical director. Naturally, the task immediately came of finding additional developers, because the plans were grandiose and it was necessary to “prepare for success” in advance. I can advise the hantim.ru resource here - at the very beginning we found all the guys (and girls) with it and, in my opinion, this is the only resource useful and concentrated on IT specialists. There are no IT recruitment agents, although proposals for such services are regularly received. We needed to immediately find another .net developer and designer in the team. Managed. It is true to note that recently we are looking for developers, including through hh.ru - placement of a vacancy costs Peter 600 r. and this, by the way, is cheaper now than through hantim.ru.
The team, instead of making mobile applications, plays a board game. The furniture is the simplest, tables could have been smaller ...
The first mistake - our business concept turned out to be ... slightly not vital
Naturally, from the very first days of the business, we tried to adhere to our original business concept - the designer of mobile applications. And with the first major client - 2-Berega company (sushi and pizza delivery), we were faced with a harsh reality. What did we plan to do? After reading in the media that there are about 30,000 online stores in Russia and inspired by this figure, they suggested that using our best practices, which we further called the “platform”, we can quickly launch native mobile applications made using some simple design templates . Naturally, the number of templates (let's call it a product visualization grid) was supposed to increase over time. In the business plan, we laid down that in a month we will be able to connect 7 new Internet stores and take 7,000 rubles from each payment. per month for the support (rental) of all platforms. And so it was linearly calculated, du ... eccentrics. I don’t even want to bring an Excel tablet here so as not to disgrace. We did not take into account seasonal fluctuations in demand (at least January holidays, May), although it would seem that so many years in business and so many different plans were made!
In fact, we made a rather serious mistake in planning when we considered that mobile applications can be done according to patterns, that we will linearly attract 7 new customers every month, and that this is really necessary for everyone, without exception. The basis of the error, as I already said, was the erroneous opinion about the value of mobile designers in Russia and the advisability of having mobile applications for a massive number of online stores. By no means criticizing the existing projects of application designers, we were convinced from experience - this simply does not fit the more or less serious (medium, large) business! And if you have a small online store, then you just do not really need applications. Or I will say this, probably, you can pay 500 p. per month and creating something typical to play with a set of settings, but it will be just a “game", not a serious long-term project. I want to note that I regularly see how companies are trying to enter this market under the name “Mobile App Designer for Online Stores” and invest in advertising (I see it more often on facebook). I do not have the right to criticize this approach, I note that, in my opinion, our country has not yet "matured" to such projects and it is necessary to focus on other countries. Often I find confirmation of this conclusion by reading thematic groups for owners of online stores on facebook - people write that there are applications, but there is no return, because they just don’t have to get a necessary-sufficient audience of users of applications (installations) to begin to receive benefits in the form of orders. Here you can argue that applications are not only orders, but one of the methods of brand promotion,
And what does a company want that stands firmly on its feet and understands the value of applications for itself? She wants a solution for herself, with her design of each element made according to the basics of brand book and, more importantly, the company wants its own functionality! Yes, the basis of the applications of any trading company is a product catalog, basket and other common things, but then we get various wishes that instantly translate the work into custom development. And so it happened with our first client: 2-Berega company. The guys sell a lot over the Internet with delivery, and for them, applications are a serious marketing tool.
During the time when you work in business in general, you acquaint with acquaintances and naturally we first went about acquaintances with offers of cooperation. These companies became our first customers. And after the first negotiations it became obvious - our idea of a designer of mobile applications is no good and we need to change very, very quickly.
How many app development teams are there in Russia? I don’t know for sure, I met figures of the order of 700. I don’t even dare to comment on the veracity, I believe that half of this is web-studios, which also include applications (hi, html5). And even having developments in applications for retail companies, we, working individually with each client of the b2c segment, played against “adult” boys in the same sandbox, who had a portfolio. Therefore, in August 2013 we decided to propose the following concept - we develop absolutely free native mobile applications for retail companies (in the basic functionality sufficient to launch the first versions), introducing technical support of 15,000 rubles. per month for all platforms. We also did the design for free. And yes, still focusing only on the b2c segment, refusing other projects (chats, taxi calls, Instagram clones, etc.). Why is that? We did not have a strong portfolio, we assumed that the solutions would be similar and we would be able to duplicate the best practices.
What mistake did we make at this stage? Too many platforms, each of which takes time, and since resources are limited, we had to look for more developers. Costs increased, but the first large retail customers appeared, for example, clothing chains: oodji, LOVE REPUBLIC, befree - in personal meetings (these companies from St. Petersburg) were able to convince us that we are not crooks and work responsibly, despite the free development. All clients are very important, but the first ones who believed in us at the beginning are the most valuable.
Another mistake (at that time) was a possible scheme of work, in which we suggested that online stores create applications for the future% of orders (purchased or transferred). The idea itself, in general, is not bad, and is suitable for small shops that are ready to promote their applications and be content with basic functionality with a reasonable - sufficient design. We made several such projects for one of the platforms (usually the Apple iPad) and faced a conflict of interest, which was the store’s inability to promote applications. Let me explain - so that there are orders from which we could receive our rewards in the future, we need to actively collect application settings. The store simply enough to actively notify customers of the availability of applications, and the customer base will gradually accumulate. But at the same time, the owners reasonably want to immediately get rich functionality and only then actively promote the applications, and we offered exactly the opposite (let's start with the simple and approach the complex). As a result, we quickly curtailed this approach. However, thoughts to revive this strategy stably “hover” in our minds. Why? Take a small online store. Given the increase in traffic from mobile devices, the owner has a desire to make a mobile version of the site, and then the application. Moreover, applications should be functional if inferior to the site, then not very much. Applications must be branded, the design is very neat. And the model of work, when we are still developing for free (asking for payment only for the design) and supporting% of orders, can be attractive, especially considering that from the point of view of the store owner, support for% implies our involvement in the process, and not just “done and forgot”. In the early stages of launching the company, we did not yet have such a number of developments to immediately provide reasonably sufficient functionality, but the situation is changing ...
Financial results a few months after launch
Management balance May-September 2013 and we gradually spend investor money
If you look at p / l until September 2013, you can see the increase in costs of the wage fund and the purchase of fixed assets (administrative expenses - repair, notary expenses, office supplies, some OS not related to IT, buns for office, water, etc.) . But a portfolio appeared on our website (modest of course). Legal expenses - we once recruited a third-party organization to verify our application development agreement. The main emphasis was placed on exclusive rights to the result of work. Our model of work does not imply the transfer of exclusive rights to the source code. There are several reasons for this, and the most important - we have a central server part, which is common for all projects, plus - we very “generously” replicate the achievements of one client for others. By transferring exclusive rights, we place ourselves at too high a risk of potential disputes with customers. Therefore, we transfer non-exclusive rights, and the client can, according to the agreement, do whatever he pleases with the applications. For all the time of our work, there have not yet been any special disputes with the legal departments of customers, as we position the solution as a platform to which you can connect. The contract provides for a clause according to which, if our company cannot fulfill obligations (bankrupt), then we undertake to transfer all the source codes and provide training for the customer’s specialists. It is noted that most of the non-receipt of exclusive rights are afraid of small online stores, while large companies take this very calmly. There were requests for the transfer of source codes, and for ourselves we came to an interim solution, that you can rely on the experience of 1c-bitrix: source codes are for sale. But for a year of work, no one has ever bought, which allows us to conclude that most companies only in words need source codes and exclusive development rights, but in fact they just need a working solution, quickly and inexpensively. In fairness, it is worth noting that for a number of large projects with well-known brands, we, for some parts of the development, prescribe exclusive rights to the result. Over a year of work, we have formed a fairly loyal agreement, which is actually an agreement to support the basic functionality. To him, there is an additional agreement for improvements, which are made out by order forms. This approach is quite convenient and understandable to customers. which allows us to conclude that most companies only in words need source codes and exclusive development rights, but in fact they just need a working solution, quickly and inexpensively. In fairness, it is worth noting that for a number of large projects with well-known brands, we, for some parts of the development, prescribe exclusive rights to the result. Over a year of work, we have formed a fairly loyal agreement, which is actually an agreement to support the basic functionality. To him, there is an additional agreement for improvements, which are made out by order forms. This approach is quite convenient and understandable to customers. which allows us to conclude that most companies only in words need source codes and exclusive development rights, but in fact they just need a working solution, quickly and inexpensively. In fairness, it is worth noting that for a number of large projects with well-known brands, we, for some parts of the development, prescribe exclusive rights to the result. Over a year of work, we have formed a fairly loyal agreement, which is actually an agreement to support the basic functionality. To him, there is an additional agreement for improvements, which are made out by order forms. This approach is quite convenient and understandable to customers. that for a number of large projects with well-known brands, we, for some parts of the development, prescribe exclusive rights to the result. Over a year of work, we have formed a fairly loyal agreement, which is actually an agreement to support the basic functionality. To him, there is an additional agreement for improvements, which are made out by order forms. This approach is quite convenient and understandable to customers. that for a number of large projects with well-known brands, we, for some parts of the development, prescribe exclusive rights to the result. Over a year of work, we have formed a fairly loyal agreement, which is actually an agreement to support the basic functionality. To him, there is an additional agreement for improvements, which are made out by order forms. This approach is quite convenient and understandable to customers.
By early autumn 2013, the concept of our business had clearly crystallized. We only take projects for retail segment companies that sell over the Internet and / or have an assortment that is available for pickup orders (of course, I draw the customer’s portrait too clearly, there are different clients, but the basis is the assortment around which I’m already building further logic - loyalty, payment, push, etc.). We developed applications for free, including design (of course, trying to rely on our best practices as much as possible) and basically offered 3 platforms: Apple iPhone, Apple iPad, Google Android. Quite unusual, but even considering the free development for Windows 8 and Windows Phone, customers rarely asked to make them these applications. Support was 15,000 p. per month (without VAT, because we are on a simplified account) for all platforms.
Gradually, we even stopped actively offering these two platforms (Windows 8 and Windows Phone), because at that time for us this would be an extremely prohibitive burden for developers, because there are deadlines prescribed in the contract (40 working days, this is natural with a margin). By the way, looking ahead, I’ll say that at the time of writing these lines we are taking the same approach to development, we only made small changes, as portfolio and developments already allow us to slightly improve conditions for us: now support is 18,000 p. per month for all platforms, development is still free, and the design, if we do it ourselves, is 18,000 p. for each platform one-time. At the same time, customers do not really want to do the design themselves, although it would seem that it would be possible to save. The conclusion is quite simple - the price of the issue is not so critical, so that the company diverts internal resources to this work. Frankly, these figures are not the result of some thoughtful mathematics and market analysis, but an empirical assessment of customer comfort. But this approach only works if you are engaged in a narrow segment of the market and have groundwork both in program code and in a general understanding of customer processes.
It is worth saying a little about the fact that there is such a “basic functionality” that we offer for free. In fact, this is all that is needed to launch the first version of applications for a retail company with delivery or pick-up. Moreover, we are gradually expanding the basic functionality, adding, for example, the output of related products, reviews, product ratings, banner management, push notifications (with a personal account), etc. Naturally, no functionality will cover all the needs of the client and most often we ask for a one-time payment for integration with the back office (registration, authorization, personal account and other "charms"). How much do we ask? Here, simply, based on experience, the figure is in the range of 70 - 90 000 p. If something familiar (1C-Bitrix, for example) is cheaper. In the near future we will add interesting things to the basic functionality, for example:
Pros and cons of our chosen business path
I want to reveal my business model a bit, show its pros and cons. First about the cons. There are two sources of monetization: improvements from existing customers and payment for technical support (18,000 rubles per month). Therefore, we need to constantly expand our client base, while trying as much as possible to convince the client to make applications progressively, using our best practices, without “falling off” immediately into some complex, multifunctional projects. This is mainly obtained, but there are exceptions. Any exception slows down our work, and we run the risk of moving into the plane of purely custom development. Custom work will allow you to get a larger one-time payment, but it will distract developers greatly, which means that other projects will “sag”. But! Surprisingly, progressive work for a client is a big plus too! Risk reduction the timelines for the release of applications in sufficient basic functionality are reduced, the customer base begins to be recruited, feedback is ongoing, etc. The downside, of course, is that we need to do the work, often without getting any money, which requires investment to fuel the business. Therefore, I do not recommend such a model of work for a team that develops at its own expense.
Pros? Concentration on one business segment (retail sales) allows you to feel quite confident in the negotiations, because in the process you get real competence how can applications help (or cannot, if the business is too lazy to promote them). Free development within the framework of the basic functionality is a definite plus and quite significant. Often the client, not knowing the value of the applications, is ready to try, it is easier for him to budget 18,000 r. per month of marketing means, than “knocking out” a single payment of hundreds of thousands of rubles from the management, realizing that if it doesn’t work out with us, it will refuse. We do not make any obstacles for this and the agreement with us is more than loyal. And, I believe, the most important plus is that the companies in the retail segment have similar processes and any improvements (and they are regular) can become part of the basic functionality in the future, and in the present - offered for little money to other customers (adaptation in essence). For example, one company asked for geofencing functionality. What is the point? We, through the personal account on our website, give the opportunity to configure push - notification on different platforms if a person has entered the specified radius from the selected stores (say 500 m.). What to send by push? For example, a reminder of the action or a mobile coupon ... but you never know what a business will come up with. The company paid a one-time payment of about 45,000 rubles for revision, which is not so much, because We understood the value of functionality for other customers. And yes, indeed, many people liked it and people are asking for implementation (we call this adaptation). I can’t say that improvements for one company are always applicable for others, but roughly speaking, in half the cases this works.
It is worth noting one feature of mobile applications, which, I am sure, is familiar to Habr readers - applications need to be promoted. If we talk about retail companies, then, as a rule, everything with the promotion channels is not bad. Usually there is a visited site where you can place all kinds of banners with calls to install applications, and, most importantly, there is a retail network with visitors. Even simple stickers with a QR code and brief information placed at the box office can give a good return on the settings. Paradoxically, we often encounter the fact that a company, having received mobile applications, is simply too lazy to engage in active (and free for it) promotion, later complaining to us about a small number of orders (although we even write instructions with tips on what and how to do). At all, analytics of the behavior of retail customers in mobile applications is the topic of a separate and large post, now I note that orders go to different categories of goods (best of all is the horeca segment, then fashion and at the end of BT&E), and their amount varies from 20 000 r per day (fashion , small average check, but high margin) up to 600 000 p. and higher for home delivery businesses (sushi, pizza). Now, through all our released mobile applications, we see a turnover of over 30,000,000 rubles a month, which is not so much for a good, strong online store, but not bad for a young, in general, industry called “mobile applications of retail companies”. small average check, but high margin) up to 600,000 p. and higher for home delivery businesses (sushi, pizza). Now, through all our released mobile applications, we see a turnover of over 30,000,000 rubles a month, which is not so much for a good, strong online store, but not bad for a young, in general, industry called “mobile applications of retail companies”. small average check, but high margin) up to 600,000 p. and higher for home delivery businesses (sushi, pizza). Now, through all our released mobile applications, we see a turnover of over 30,000,000 rubles a month, which is not so much for a good, strong online store, but not bad for a young, in general, industry called “mobile applications of retail companies”.
The most important thing is to find customers, believe me - this is simply crucial!
How are we looking for customers? The strange development for 0 rubles allows us to work well on cold calls. For the first 6 months of my business life, I was doing this (it turned out terribly, because I don’t know how, and I’m embarrassed), now we have a wonderful Julia who works on attracting customers by phone, and I go to meetings (St. Petersburg, Moscow). One can hear how she puts out the last trump card - “so we have a development of 0 rubles, and there are clients from your business who have done this and can give recommendations.” The degree of customer interest immediately rises slightly. Naturally, even such a model does not always lead to the conclusion of an agreement, and the point is not in distrust towards us (we offer portfolio and recommendations), but in the company's unpreparedness for applications. Naturally, there are advanced companies that are clearly aware of the value of the applications for themselves, but more often you have to carry out outreach. Now we have an average of 1-2 contracts per month, customers are mainly from St. Petersburg and Moscow, although interest from regions began to appear. The average time from the first call to the conclusion of the contract is about 1.5 months, and about 2 months for application development. Not surprisingly, the sales scheme works well, in which we refer to the experience (case) of a similar business, and ideally, a competitor. Unable to disclose all the data, we just give some kind of general analytics, often anonymized. but the sales scheme works well, in which we refer to the experience (case) of a similar business, and ideally, a competitor. Unable to disclose all the data, we just give some kind of general analytics, often anonymized. but the sales scheme works well, in which we refer to the experience (case) of a similar business, and ideally, a competitor. Unable to disclose all the data, we just give some kind of general analytics, often anonymized.
Я хочу дать совет, который сам хотел бы получить в самом начале нашего бизнеса — нужно сразу иметь в штате сотрудника, который будет системно заниматься холодными продажами, если у вас бизнес похож на наш. Нельзя это делать время от времени, отвлекаясь на другие разнообразные задачи — написал в блог, поговорил с клиентами, пообщался с разработчиками, поторопил с оплатой, съездил на встречу и снова начал звонить. У нас сейчас в базе CRM чуть меньше 1000 компаний, с которыми был хоть один холодный контакт. И нельзя сказать, что есть очередь желающих дать нам заработать. Звонок, письмо, письмо, звонок и т.п. Работа по циклу с постепенным наращиваем базы клиентов и этим должен заниматься отдельный сотрудник. В офисе. Очень сожалею, что мы не дошли до этого сразу и только после 5-6 месяцев работы осознали необходимость найма, делая вначале упор на производстве (разработчики, дизайнер), а не на продажах. Я понимаю, что этот спор вечный, что же первично — курица или яйцо, но лично для себя сделал вывод — в сегменте b2b первичны продажи, а уже потом разработка (производство). Даже если у вас будет ощущаться некий «провал» в производственных мощностях, держите в уме, что цикл организации продажи не моментальный (в похожих на наш случай, естественно) и важнее иметь клиента и договор, с заложенными резервами по срокам, чем сильное производство без постоянного потока клиентов. Для CRM мы используем бесплатную версию bitrix24 (до 12 сотрудников она бесплатна) и этого хватает с лихвой. Если посмотреть статистику, то Юлия совершает в рабочий день около 50-60 звонков в среднем (это как новые, так и повторные обращения). Помимо звонка, нужно занести информацию в CRM.
I admit that we do not really know how to sell our services over the phone, but you can estimate the conversion of cold calls in the concluded contracts. Something around 0.5-0.8% in a very good case. Keep in mind the seasonal factor - in the summer there is a certain period of calm, people who make decisions go on vacation or simply do not really want to engage in serious discussion of new projects in front of him. In general, it’s not strange, if you think about it, then in Russia there is not so much time when business activity is high, people are on the ground and ready for new breakthroughs :). In addition, we observe that recently the staff rotation has been high. Often I hear how Julia is trying to understand who can now talk in the marketing department, because the previous person quit. And you have to start all over again.
All of this is great, of course, but is there any benefit from mobile applications?
A little in return on mobile applications for business, or rather retail. Almost every client asks for an assessment of the expected result, even taking into account the minimum investment. It is worth dividing the different segments of the trading business, as comparing sales through consumer electronics and finished food applications is simply not practical. Based on our experience, the following average figures can be given. Fashion segment - it is quite realistic to receive orders worth up to 1,500,000 p. per month after 4-6 months of application operation. If you have a business selling sushi, pizza, woks with home delivery, then with due diligence in promotion, you can collect orders of up to 300,000 rubles per day (for our customers, the figures range from 100,000 to 300,000 per day). Household appliances and electronics - up to 1 million rubles. per month, exactly the category "Baby Products". These figures are valid for companies with an online store (maybe a retail chain). I emphasize that of course there are results that are much better and much worse. There is a very clear dependence of the number of orders on the number of application installations, which, in turn, depend on the desire to tell about them.
Example of the number of daily installs of applications of a company in the fashion segment
The graph shows an example of downloading applications on three platforms (iPhone / iPad / Android) for the online store of the fashion segment. The company has a retail network, but there is not a word about the availability of applications in it. Website traffic is at the level of 8,000 people per day and the company talks about the availability of applications only through its website (it is also an online store). Until mid-August, the total number of downloads was kept at 250 per day, then the iPad application reached the TOP in its group (not sure if it stayed for a long time, judging by the emerging decrease). These are the results without any effort on the so-called. ASO (Apple Store Optimization) - there are no financial investments in the promotion of applications and never have been.
Is it a lot or a little? Of course, it is not for us to judge, but for the customer, but judging by the continuous stream of tasks for improvements, the result suits. If we take for granted the postulate that about 15% of those who installed the applications then delete it (we did measurements at the time, and I met similar conclusions in the press), then it’s easy to calculate that with 500 installations per day, the company can gain a very impressive customer base , which can be further worked on, for example, through push notifications. After all, applications are not only a channel for receiving orders, but also an interactive advertising company (interactive, because it allows you not only to admire the brand icon on the device’s screen, but also to launch, see the range, new items, etc.). I intentionally do not provide a schedule of installations for the “ready-made meal at home or office” segment, as this segment of the business is generally very “comfortable” for mobile applications, due to its specificity and regular demand. On the other hand, the fashion segment is, as a rule, a curious female audience and it is probably interesting to look at the numbers for a very difficult type of retail business - household appliances and electronics (extremely irregular demand, high average check, etc.). The customer is gradually reaching the level of 100 installations per day.
An example of the number of daily installations of applications for a company in the BT&E segment
Losses of customers ... yes, this also happens
I would also like to dwell on companies that refuse further cooperation. At first, it was an unpleasant surprise for us - there are installations, orders are in progress and ... how do you refuse? After some time, an understanding of the main motives came. Our monetization model (minimum initial deposit) has another significant minus - companies that really don’t really want applications just try. No attachments, why not give it a try? Expecting a fantastic return right away, they are faced with the reality of wasting their time in order to somehow advance what has been done on their resources. It comes to the absolute absurdity, which, probably, partially characterizes the thinking of some managers. A chain of stores, made applications - everyone is happy. After 4-5 months they write, they say we want to refuse, because do not feel the return. Well, this is the right of the client, but we try to hold on and send the analytics - guys, you are installing, screen views are growing, orders are coming! Yes, maybe there are not so many orders that you begin to consider mobile applications as a stable sales channel, but I'm sorry - the process is still in its infancy! You need to wait, accumulate an audience. We give examples of similar businesses. It does not work, we are determined. Well, we offer - let's leave the applications - let them work, we do not support them, but they will work. Everything is free. We are glad we left, but after a while they write again - we remove applications in general, because orders for goods began to come again from the application, but they forget to update the upload (xml) (!!! the robot turned off apparently), so customers order products with the wrong price. We marvel at the powerful minds of managers but - we delete applications. We sigh and forget about the client, but he does not forget about us. He writes - customers who managed to install applications earlier continue (bastards) to order goods at the old price. Do something, we are not happy with such orders and customers, and we don’t want to update xml, because we generally make a mobile site and there is no time for you. Um ... weird - but how to get those who installed uninstall applications? The client, worrying and rejoicing that he has found a way to finish what he has done, offers - and let's send push clients that we’ll not work with you! Yes, the idea is sound, but support for push notifications has not yet been done, therefore, laughing out loud, we send the client an offer - let’s you pay for the implementation of support for push notifications, we will do it, the clients who installed will update the applications, and then will send that we don’t want to work with you. In general, this whole story ended on this.
Regular advertising in Yandex.Direct, which we tried to give at the beginning of development, does not work very well. Rates per click on the request "development of mobile applications" reached 4 cu, there were clicks, but there was little sense. Therefore, we focused on maintaining our blog on the site in which we write the main news, often in twitter mode, because you don’t write much on simple things, and completely removed the advertisement (although something remained on the balance of Yandex, it’s too lazy to display, so sometimes, if the bets allow, we appear in Yandex.Direct). This approach, although very slowly, is paying off and site traffic is growing and there are already incoming requests for application development. From experience, I can recommend blogging - this is useful both in terms of search engine optimization and website visitors.
Attendance of our site notissimus.com - no paid advertising, only direct hits and search traffic
Unfortunately, only about 10% of all incoming calls relate to the retail segment. I sometimes don’t understand what people expect, asking to make a chat with the exchange of photos, a clone of Yandex.Taxi or others, it is doubtful that in the future successful applications. We give such projects to different companies, but for all the time of our work (year) I have not heard that the project has even begun, and the prices start from 700 000 r. for the development. On average, we now receive about 3-4 “incoming” requests from the site per month (they write more often than they call) with the current traffic to our site. Each time, handing over the project for implementation (even without an “exhaust”), I am painfully offended, but really assessing the situation - it’s just not possible for us to complete complex projects outside of the b2c / b2b sphere at the current load. In order to cut off just the curious, began to ask the question - “are you ready to consider the project if the price is within 300,000 p. for one platform or not? ”
There is an informal reward in the market in the amount of 10% from each transferred client (if the project starts, of course), but we did not receive anything, and I don’t get it. But analyzing the situation, you clearly begin to understand why mobile applications for each platform are worth their money for custom development and that specialization only in a certain field of activity allows you to withstand a high development pace. More than once, discussing the next appeal within the team for, for example, an insurance company or a carrier, I carefully raised the question saying “can we somehow try to fit in sideways ...?” But always the guys in charge of production reasonably paid attention to the current tasks, and I forwarded the application to a third-party studio. For it is said that “a flying arrow does not wag its tail”:
IIDF and other sources of funding
Returning to our history, as I already mentioned, in the fall of 2013 we submitted our application to the accelerator of the IIDF and, miraculously, first got into the TOP100 projects, and then to the list of those who were invited to accelerate to Moscow. The IIDF fund then had two types of participation - online acceleration (full-time) and offline (extramural). We were offered exactly the full-time program and for it the fund asked for 7% of the business and gave money (something about 1,000,000 rubles, and part of it goes directly for training). It is interesting that we were generally chosen somewhere, because in fact, we were not very different from a regular studio, except that we developed our platform and concentrated on retail. I think that the reason is that the fund categorically lacked more or less "intelligible" projects showing at least some results. I must say right away that I in no way criticize the fund, on the contrary, I think that they are doing a great thing in Russia, because in the very early stages of a young company there are not many options where to go. And IIDF is a good alternative. Moreover, their first set, in fact, was also a startup with all the ensuing consequences. Now they seem to have a fourth or fifth set, but I still have a feeling that the problem is not with the availability of money, but in strong teams with good ideas that can then be really monetized.
In general, if you think about it, then the requirements put forward by d-funds are like a trap. Judge for yourself - the project should be scalable, clearly monetized, there should be a team (preferably 2-3 founders). It’s not very easy to imagine that 3 adults who need to feed themselves and their family gather and make a prototype for a while, so that later they have little chance of getting an investment. And what do they eat in between? Moreover, if you look at the same IIDF, then units of teams from all sets generally received more or less serious investments.
We abandoned the full-time scheme, because they couldn’t just quit business and study in Moscow for 3 months and then talked to the mentor in absentia (via Skype video conferencing once a week). Naturally, all materials in e-mail were available to us. I did not see their values from the full-time program, but frankly personally for myself. As a result, we were invited to demo day - the day of the presentation to investors, or rather, to rehearse this day. Considering that it was too luxurious to go to Moscow for 10 minutes of rehearsal, they asked to immediately come on demo day and ... we weren’t called anywhere else :). This is definitely our fault, because from the very beginning we did not feel, at that time, some kind of extreme need for extra. investments and were generally surprised that we were selected on a short list of participants. In any case, I wish the guys good luck, they were often criticized in the media,
But there are programs in Russia that we would like to get into, but they no longer take us. This is a Microsoft technology grant, a competition for which is held twice a year. Here I will make a small digression. In our work we use all Microsoft products, and in particular, Azure cloud services. The client part is developed using Xamarin (formerly Mono) (recently acquired the status of a partner of this company) in C #. In May 2013, we applied for participation in the Microsoft BizPark program and I really want to say sincere “thank you” to Microsoft for having the opportunity to completely legally use all the software we need, including Azure paid cloud resources (there is a limitation, but we have not approached it yet - We optimize server computing as much as possible).
At the beginning of 2014, we received Microsoft Startup Accelerator status, which provides more technological support and significantly expands Microsoft’s paid cloud resources ($ 60,000 per year). We have a curator and I must admit - it is very comfortable to work. Given our focus on Microsoft products, we really looked forward to receiving a grant. I will not go deep about the grant itself, everything can be read on ms-start.ru. I can only say that we served twice in 2013 and both times we were denied. The reasons for the refusal are not prescribed, but in fact they are on the surface - we have a kind of hybrid business model: neither custom work, nor application builder. Semiautomatic device. This model is not scalable, it has significant disadvantages, and it was our disadvantages that made us try new projects.
In May 2014, we again applied for a grant, but already to support our tapki project, which is a much more scalable business. What happened as a result - I will tell in part 2, which I am already preparing for publication on Habré.
What do we have today?
Returning to the story - what do we have now in the asset, for a little more than a year of work? A team of 15 people (most of them are developers), ~ 32 contracts concluded (as part of this, development is still underway and there are no payments) and a little fewer clients are at the conclusion stage (they think). It would seem - super (except for profit), and everything said about the advantages of our business is certainly great, but we are linear. Trying to work in the “triangle”: quality of applications, price, deadlines - we get neat mobile applications, but there is another dimension - resources! The more customers we have, the more we need developers, the further break-even points move. This is another minus that actually made us start a new project in parallel - tapki (again increasing costs, having secured in advance the support of investors for the project). In fairness, I note that there is no absolutely clear linear relationship between the number of people in a business and the number of customers. Some clients "freeze" for months, without requiring improvements (and accordingly attention) and we are switching to new projects. This fact allows us to assess the breakeven point and predict profit. I would even say that we have a small, but “positive mat expectation” in our business.
Below is our management balance sheet from May 2013 (launching a business) through March 2014. It can be seen that there is an increase in income, but, to our great regret, an increase in expenses. The reason for the increase in costs is that by this time we have gained a more or less significant customer base, but in addition to just concluding a contract, we also need to make applications. And here we fell into a new trap - lack of resources. Those. we had enough resources to support the created applications, but not enough to create new ones. If we were talking about the designers of mobile applications, then there is no suggestion of improvements for clients. And with us they started. It can be seen from the table that 50% is maintenance, 50% is refinement, and this ratio remains plus or minus to this day. The staff growth led to the fact that we needed to expand the area - the rental payment increased. What I want to pay attention to is the uneven receipt of funds. Our income consists of support payments and improvements. If support can still be attributed to guaranteed income for some foreseeable period of time, then improvements are extremely chaotic. Naturally, we are making efforts to stimulate the development of applications, but once and for all it is not necessary. Naturally, as the client base develops, a general increase in turnover is observed, but there are months when there are no improvements at all, and we “fail” in financial planning. It is also worth noting that the tangible increase in costs from December 13 to March 14 is due precisely to the fact that we began to strengthen the team to conduct a new project, but we have not yet shared the costs. As already noted, we do not observe a completely linear relationship between the number of clients and programmers. The fact is that the load is very uneven both for initial development and for improvements. We have a client (a large fashion network), the work on which began a little less than a year ago, and this is not our fault - because the company is very large, approval processes take time.
Management balance May 2013 - March 2014 - we increase customers, employees and ... losses
The company operates under the simplified tax system (STS) and in 99.9% of cases we did not encounter problems of the lack of VAT on the part of customers. We have chosen for ourselves a scheme of 10% of the difference between income and expenses, but because we have a negative balance, at the end of the year we pay 1% of revenue to the state (this is seen in March 14, - 7,460 rubles - tax for 2013). At the beginning of 2014, we increased the size of the occupied space (an increase in costs is visible under this item), because they simply did not fit anymore (adjacent room, a hole in the wall - everything is very simple). We have a small income on e-money and, accordingly, there are expenses (to pay a vacancy on hh.ru, for example), but this is an exception to the rule, because we work under the contract.
We make repairs in an adjacent room - lucky, managed to break through the wall between the rooms ... we grow!
Starting in April 2014, we began to share management balances - part of the team continued to develop mobile applications, part - tapki. Our investors supported the idea itself (about it a bit later) and the fact that we are starting to isolate one project from another. In July 2014, we came to the conclusion that it is not just necessary to divide according to internal accounting - division must be done at the accounting level as well (separate legal entities). More precisely, the guys from IIDF just advised us to do this, explaining that this is the only way to attract investment money in a new project. It is worth recognizing that in the world of mobile application development, only clean designers refer investors to tidbits of scalable projects, where it makes sense to invest. And we, even the name of the platform, continue (this is a fact) to engage in custom projects. At the same time,
We applied for the registration of a new legal entity LLC TAPKI (in general, I advise, if possible, to name the legal entity the same as the brand name - it’s somehow more accurate) and at the end of August we completely transferred the part of the team responsible for the new project in this legal entity. I understand that a side project that we did not allocate from the parent company introduced certain distortions into the figures, but it did not come immediately to understand what to divide, because any new project goes through a series of stages and only starting from a certain stage do you evaluate how much real resources it diverts.
Company balance sheet until July 2014
If we take July 2014 as the basis, then we can draw the following conclusion - for our business with the current load, the “cleaned” monthly costs will be about 900,000 rubles (this amount includes including one-time costs, for example - bought air conditioning this summer, or an additional monitor for the programmer ... although such payments need to, in a good way, be singled out). In July 2014, we had more incoming payments for improvements than for support, but, as can be seen from the table, this is not always true. But I can definitely say that the more customers, the more you will have incoming requests for various kinds of improvements.
Below are (on one graph) income, expenses and final results (from May 2013 to July 2014 inclusive). It can be seen that the notissimus project, as noted, is still investment, but there is hope that by the winter of 2014 we will go to zero and begin to return the funds invested by the investor. It is worth noting here that since If we exceeded the initial requests for the allocation of investments, then we will return 100% of the profit (when it will be) to the investor, and not according to the shares in the authorized capital. When we return the amount of the excess of the initially requested investments, then already (I hope) we will begin to discuss how to share the profit. Globally speaking, investors give money as a loan, otherwise, all shareholders would have to contribute money to the project, according to their interests in the business. At the same time, when the company makes a profit, it begins to repay this loan, in the amount of,
The red line is the final result of the activity, the numbers in parentheses, as they are negative. Figures starting from April 14 can be considered basic for the studio, which is engaged only in the development of mobile applications, without side projects. Can this be used by Habr's readers to analyze the launch of their business? I think yes, because we worked in the absence of large anchor clients from the very start (Russian Post, a tender of 19,000,000 rubles for mobile applications), although of course, we need to make a significant correction for two factors: we have an investor and we chose a rather strange model of monetization and very niche job.
Schedule of managerial results of the company for the year with a small
To myself, I made, among all others, an important conclusion - do not be shy to ask for money for quality work, even if the company is very young, and I must (!) Insist on an advance payment if the work ahead is a little more than small. Do not believe how many times we regretted at the start of the next project that we did not receive at least some funds into the account. It’s not about the fact that customers are cheating, it’s just not a grocery store - you received the goods (for example, a loaf of bread) and gave the seller money. This does NOT work here (I'm not talking about government tenders with bank guarantees). Development is not a complete notorious loaf of bread, but a constant dialogue with a client who changes opinions, forgets, gets angry, nourishes hopes and all this together, multiplied by accelerating introductory notes from the management, etc. And if the work is carried out in advance, then all the risks are transferred to the studio. And in those projects where there were advance payments, the situation quickly turned into a constructive plane. Moreover, now, for complex tasks, we insist on 100% prepayment, trying to explain to the client why this is so.
What is tapki? Creating mobile applications for retail, you willy-nilly think about how to bring together your experience and customers into something aggregating, scalable. In March 2014, these ideas, soaring in the air, found something more or less intelligible and we decided for ourselves unequivocally that we need to allocate part of the internal resources for this project. This is an aggregator of goods (in the future may be services) from retail companies in different segments, operating on all platforms, with an emphasis on commodity stocks and sales. It sounds a little corny, but frankly, we still do not have a "suffering" business model of the project that would receive confirmation of viability in practice. Although it’s already clear now that making a competitor to Yandex.Market is simply stupid,
The name itself turned out by chance, one day in the morning they began to discuss the name options, made a list, and then, during lunch, one of the guys suggested this name and got hooked. Not everyone immediately liked it, but gradually, and the most ardent opponents of the name became involved. The tapki.ru and tapki.com domains were busy (and not surprisingly) and I, not expecting any answer, wrote to the tapki.com owners, reasoning that, ceteris paribus, the domain in the .com zone is more interesting and promising. The answer came the next day with a price of $ 1875. No bargaining. It was proposed to buy a domain through the intermediary service escrow.com, which asked for something above $ 100 for its services and, having no experience working with foreign squatters, decided to overpay. The scheme is simple - the intermediary deposits the money and transfers it to the seller from the moment the whois data is changed (paid by credit card). The whole purchase procedure took about a week and about 77,000 rubles in money. Not cheap, but it seems to me that for a long-term project this is a reasonable investment. It is curious that when I told my friends on Facebook about buying the tapki.com domain, I was also advised to register fapki.com, as people can make mistakes when typing. It was in the morning, at about 11.00, I looked and was surprised that the fapki.com domain was free, and when I decided to register it, after lunch the domain was busy - the squatters were on the alert, in short. It would be nice to buy tapki.ru domain at the same time - but it’s not clear to whom to write, because no contacts in whois. For a long-term project, this is a reasonable investment. It is curious that when I told my friends on Facebook about buying the tapki.com domain, I was also advised to register fapki.com, as people can make mistakes when typing. It was in the morning, at about 11.00, I looked and was surprised that the fapki.com domain was free, and when I decided to register it, after lunch the domain was busy - the squatters were on the alert, in short. It would be nice to buy tapki.ru domain at the same time - but it’s not clear to whom to write, because no contacts in whois. For a long-term project, this is a reasonable investment. It is curious that when I told my friends on Facebook about buying the tapki.com domain, I was also advised to register fapki.com, as people can make mistakes when typing. It was in the morning, at about 11.00, I looked and was surprised that the fapki.com domain was free, and when I decided to register it, after lunch the domain was busy - the squatters were on the alert, in short. It would be nice to buy tapki.ru domain at the same time - but it’s not clear to whom to write, because no contacts in whois. after dinner, the domain was busy - squatters do not sleep, in short. It would be nice to buy tapki.ru domain at the same time - but it’s not clear to whom to write, because no contacts in whois. after dinner, the domain was busy - squatters do not sleep, in short. It would be nice to buy tapki.ru domain at the same time - but it’s not clear to whom to write, because no contacts in whois.
Screen example of our funny tap'ok
Everything, finally the end of the first part ...
Uff ... it turned out quite a lot of text for the first part, I hope that someone mastered and the story seemed interesting and useful. We will continue publishing, further talking about our successes and failures regarding mobile application development and how our tapki makes the first “cries” in life. Already now, when connecting the first large and not very online stores to the project, we are faced with a lot of questions and I hope this can be interesting to readers. In addition, we have a huge task to promote tapki in application stores, and here, probably, our "rake" can be useful to other developers. And given the fact that we began to look for an investor again, but this time in the tapki project - there will be something to tell in this context. Our CTO has already started writing an article, containing technical details of the platform (Microsoft Azure + Xamarin) and this will be a separate publication, as we decided that it would be wrong to mix “technology” and “business” in one article.
Our life can be followed in a more “lively” mode via twitter or through my facebook account .
Frankly, I plan to keep a diary in order to write down on it daily the most interesting moments from the life of the company, as remember, as it turned out, pretty hard. I apologize if some points were not fully covered or were messy. Yes, and I forgot - if there are owners or managers of online stores among the readers of Habr, we will be very glad to see you all in our tapki project , just write a letter to my address firstname.lastname@example.org and I will tell you what needs to be done (in short, need a logo, a link to a file format yandex.market xml and addresses of stores in the plate).
ps We will also be happy to help with the development of mobile applications and we invite owners of online stores to try working on a “development for% of orders” scheme, as the existing scope of developments already allows us to offer a holistic solution, but there is no built model of cooperation yet.