Why Your Startup Should Hire a Company to Develop Your App

Interview
Startup founders often dream of developing their own application. They draw inspiration from companies like Uber and Airbnb and think that development will not be so complicated. Their colleague had previously programmed in Javascript and they will surely find skillful developers in their friends’ circle. It will surely be cheaper and faster. And so, many startups enthusiastically begin their own app development. Months go by and the app is slowly taking shape. Meanwhile, other startups that outsourced development to another company are already signing first deals.

Developing mobile and web apps by own hands looks attractive at first glance. The founder decides on which technologies will be used, hires smart people and has everything under one roof. In-house development has more value in the marketplace and precious know-how stays in the company. Many startups therefore decide to do everything on their own. But sometimes it pays off to leave the burden to someone else, focus on the product and not lose time thinking whether the app will run better on the other platform.

What should a startup do? In the first two years, it should mainly grow. If in the first year, it gets stuck on developing software, it loses money, time, and there is a risk that the development will fail.

Martin Koperniech, Founder & CEO of Qest

What Can Happen When Development Is Done by Yourself

It often happens that founders start to pay more attention to techniques than to their startup idea. Instead of concentrating on “WHY”, they preoccupy themselves with “HOW” and “WHAT”. They spend too much valuable time on what programming language is the most appropriate, what interface to use, where to find talented people, and a skillful manager to lead them. Before they can build a functioning infrastructure – developers, a project manager, technology and licenses - and set up processes, a year can go by without noticing. As a result, they lose their focus, waste time, spend more money and the development takes longer.

What Happens When an App Is Developed by an External Company

Rapid growth is a mantra that drives startups to want everything ready right now. But app development lasts for months. A common application requires the work of 6-8 developers - two people on Android, two on iOS, one or two on the front end and one or two on the backend. To build a large team of people who leave their comfortable and well-paid jobs for an unknown startup for several months is not an easy task at all. Plus, it will not happen overnight. 

If a startup hires a high-quality development agency, the experience of their development team can greatly help in advancing the startup. All in all, the development is not only cheaper and faster but also safer. While freelance programmers can be great experts, they are usually not used to work in teams and the risk of errors increases. In contrast, a regular development agency builds on functioning teams, management, and a developed infrastructure.

How it works in UP21

The UP21 incubator gives its startups the freedom to choose whether to develop the app themselves or hire an external agency. However, it gives the opportunity to use services of Qest, one of a few companies providing mobile, backend, and frontend development. Several startups – such as Gettick, Huntergames and Shipvio – cooperate with Qest. "Customers understand their business and know what they need. We have the whole system to build applications and all people we need. The customer tells us what they want and why they want it and we start developing a system that we regularly consult with them, "explains the benefits of external development Martin Koperniech, founder and CEO of the company.

We asked three of our startups what they think about Qest:

André Dravecký
CEO of Shipvio

Qest helped us with the development of Shipvio, which made many things much easier for me and I, a non-technical founder, could concentrate on other important activities.

Alan Vyšín
Co-Founder & CEO of Gettick

Remote communication with a supplier is always challenging as it leads to increased costs. Qest has offices 10 meters away, so when they, or we, need anything, we can easily meet and it gets settled on site, which allows us to keep the cost of the mobile app exactly as planned.

Štěpán Gregor
Co-Founder & CFO of Huntergames

One of the many benefits is that the start-up has everything comfortably under one roof because the investor and Qest are in the same office.

How a Good App Development Should Look Like According to Qest

According to Martin Koperniech, startups do not have to hire external agencies at all stages of development. But in some phases, it definitely pays off. In his view, this is a working model:

In the development phase of the product, iterative development is key. Startup gets a valuable feedback from the market and adapts the product accordingly to its target customers. Instead of developing a robust application and finding out that market is not interested in it, Qest takes an agile approach – in short periods, it puts the product on the market, detects customer response, develops other small parts of the product, and retests. In the agile phase, Qest either develops the product or gradually moves the development to a startup product manager and its team, which can happen two years after the start of the agile phase.