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Business Rx: Developer needs beta site before seeking money

The entrepreneur

When Josef Hapli wanted to create several apps, he noticed there wasn’t a simple way to quickly create versions for all devices.

“We were looking for an efficient, easy and cost-effective process to produce high-quality mobile applications for Apple, Android, BlackBerry and Windows phones without having to create each app individually. We weren’t satisfied with what was currently on the market, so we saw a huge opportunity to provide a way for customers to create their own apps easily.”

With that, AppStampr was born.

The pitch

Hapli

“AppStampr gives users the power to create mobile applications for all major platforms. The process is fast and easy, with no coding required. With this Web-based mobile app development platform, businesses, agencies, organizations, developers and individuals can create apps. We designed a what-you-see-is-what-you-get interface so you can design your app, preview it online, and publish it for all mobile platforms.

“AppStampr eliminates development headaches, costs and lets you focus on your content and rapid delivery. Whether you choose to use a template, or build from the ground up, AppStampr will be to mobile apps what WordPress is to Web sites — an easy way for nontechie types to create a polished tech product. We are currently in development and on track for a Beta launch in the first half of 2012.

“Our biggest challenge with AppStampr is a lack of growth capital. Thus far, AppStampr has been ‘bootstrapped’ from our own resources. In order to expand the business and to attract and retain talent, you have to have cash-on-hand, not just assets on the books or outstanding receivables. Having sufficient operating capital would allow us to bring on full-time designers, developers, project managers, and strategists to expand the business and bring products to market faster, rather than just relying on temporary sub-contractors.”

The advice

Harry Geller, entrepreneur in residence, Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship

“You need to launch your beta site before you can approach investors, so until you launch, you’ll have to figure a way to keep funding AppStampr yourself. Without a beta up and running, it will be hard to get funding because you can’t show people your product.

“Once you get there, you’ll need to develop your funding plan. Figure out roughly how much money you need and from whom you’d ideally like to raise this money. Are you looking to target friends and family, angel investors or venture capitalists? Then you can put together your pitch based on the specific type of investor you decide to target.

“When it comes to obtaining investors, I recommend working your way up the ladder. I would start with friends and family, then angels, then venture capitalists. Venture capitalists will give more funding, but they will also want more in return and want more control. Based on your description, it seems like you may not need too much funding to get it kicked off, so at this point better to hold on to your equity.

“You can also look at crowdfunding Web sites for an alternative source of funds. Appsfunder and Peerbacker are two crowdfunding examples. Also, consider basing your business at one of the incubators or accelerators in the area. They won’t necessarily provide funding, but they could help you with finding qualified people to develop your business, as well as on-site mentoring. Geekeasy, located in Washington, is an example of one.

The reaction

Hapli

“Our next step is definitely to get our beta site up and running. We understand the need to have something to show people and to put it out there on the market. ”

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