You might have heard of Klutch22 by now, the cool new iPhone app that acts a real time car locator. Julien Noel and Dany Leblanc are the two entrepreneurs behind the Klutch22 app and they share with us today what it really takes to create an app for the iPhone. With today’s technology constantly changing and the vast amounts of applications and programs constantly coming out for the iPhone and Android, we thought it would be interesting to truly learn how anyone can get started with an app idea even if you don’t have the technical skills to pull it off yourself.
A big thank you to Julien and Dany for taking to time to talk to us about Klutch22 from an educational standpoint and for helping our readers who wish to get into the mobile app industry with a starting point.
Apps seem to be the next big thing in the tech industry, can you walk us through how much money it takes to create an app?
Since my partner and I didn’t have the expertise and knowledge to develop the application by our selves, we had to find the best app makers in our area. Then we clearly explained to them what we wanted and let them to their job. This part is critical on the budget, it’s like painting your own car or swapping your car engine yourselves…. if you have the knowledge or skills to do it by yourself, you can save BIG money. But one question you need to ask yourself is how good you are at programming. If you need the best, often it’s better to pay for quality to avoid future problems. Today, I would say that building a “not too complicated” app would cost between $5k-$10k depending on your area market. Example of a simple app: “copy and paste” a website and make it into an mobile app form). But if you build something bigger with more functionality it can easily cost $20k-$40k(it goes up fast). We were extremely lucky at Klutch22 to have a firm of experts (www.mirego.com) that believed in our products and they gave us more than competitive price for the creation of our platform. We could value our app for well over $80k as it is today. Of course other app makers could say that they could come up with same results for much cheaper… their is always a cheaper place around the corner. We decided to pay for a platform that would be able to support effectively massive app downloads and a global utilization by users. It uses the same foundation than the biggest social network that we all know today.
$20-40K is a lot of money, where does the bulk of the money go to?
We pay hourly fees… and there is a lots of hours involve in this. The hourly rate is set with the quality and renown of the firm. The first version of Klutch22 took more then 3 months to do… so now you understand why doing it by yourself is so critical in the budget. None of us have “geek” knowledge so we didn’t have any choice which way to do it.
What is the most challenging aspect of building an app?
Building something that you have no idea how it’s done and how users will interact with it. Building features on the faith that the users will use it in a specific way and it ends up they don’t and you start all over. Also, it’s not easy to explain to a group of programmers to build an application about cars, real-time GPS positioning, exotic car alerts, police tag, car meets, etc. We realized that the tech industry is in a world of its own, with it own languages, codes, and school of thoughts. We thought some features would be complicated to do but luckily ended up being easy and fast… but often the opposite was also true. The end result was that the app team understood perfectly what we had in mind and they did a great job taking our crazy car guy ideas and brought it to life. I guess this is what happen when you do not compromise for a top of the line services…
How long does it take from start to finish and what are the different stages of app building?
If there is something that I know for sure…. its that it’s always longer then we think. We broke our 2 month deadline by a full month and a half for the first version which was almost twice as long as we all thought. Not easy to measure the time it will take to create something from zero that haven’t been done before. Since our app is the first of its kind, there is a lot of trial and error. Almost all of our app is made from our own source code. Which means that we almost didn’t borrow other codes available on the Internet by other app makers. It’s more expensive this way, but the technology is all yours at the end. I consider that an app platform is like “virtual real-estate” and it’s always better to own your piece of technology and you know it’s quality because you did it yourself.
You are a club owner, what made you decide to get in the tech industry for your next venture?
Nightclub are great, lots of fun and good money but you always have to be physically there even if you have the best team. You are always starting over and over, one promotion after the other, week after week. Even if you are the flavor of the month right now, you can be totally out the next months. It is time consuming and you are not building something that will automatically last for sure. Cars have always been a passion for me, but it a series of logical thinking and self growth that lead me to this project. I analyzed my worth versus the way I was making it fructify. I realized that time is the essence, and if I wanted to achieve more but still have to deal with the universal 24h/day-7days/week… I had to use another vehicle. Then it became more clear; use the wonderful gifts of the Internet, consider that applications are the new wave of cyberspace technology. Work globally, not locally. Be exponential, not limited. Find your niche and be the best. And one of the most important things… Be your own customer/user/clients. Don’t try to do or launch something that could be great for somebody else. If you solve a need that you have yourself, their are good chance on this earth there are other people just like you. So basically we created an app just for us but we knew that globally lots of people are like us. Even if I have 150 users in my home town of 800,000, this ratio means millions globally.
How can you make money from an app that’s FREE?
This is the most important question. Klutch22 is based of a social-network platform. We are not selling a fart app or a game that people download and once he’s done deletes it. Our app is continually updating itself by the users, for the users. We are changing the way people are driving, we offer a service. We want to make our app the more accessible as possible for a maximum of users. More users equal more reliability and effectiveness. The major source of revenue for us will be in advertising (Google is an ad agency that created the best search engine to sell ad space)… we want to be the leaders in this automotive mobile network. Advertising come in tons of ways but one of our biggest strength is the precision and effectiveness of the publicity we can give to company; ex: If BMW wants to send an ad to all our 2006-2009 M5 and M6 owners of Florida and California, we can do it with 100% reach because we have the data. We chose the advertising that you will see on your app. Today big companies are trying to find ways to spend their marketing budget with TV and radio that are becoming more and more obsolete… we bring them a new way that really reaches their customers!
Where can you advertise it?
It can be everywhere on the Internet… really possibilities are endless. But we think, even in today’s world that the best advertisement tools is still the good old word of mouth. We don’t want to push tons of advertising to our users of potential users. We want to be part of the realities of our users, in the street, car shows and events. We believe that if our early adopters like what we do, they will spread the word. This is life-long process which gets us to the next questions…
How can you expand from an app to a brand?
I think you become a brand when your product becomes part of the daily habits of your users. We want to share the same lifestyle than our users, be at the same events, car shows, watch the same car videos on the Internet then them. We want to embrace the car enthusiast lifestyle… because it is what we are also. When you are able to form a large enough community that lives, interact and evolve by itself, you are on the right path. We want to give our product in the hands of our users and let them lead the way. When it becomes no longer your app, but their app… you become a brand!
Our main focus is to constantly keep giving a top of the line product and service to our members and let the time do his job.
Thank you again to Julien and Dany for taking us through this APP 101 and for the creation of Klutch22, the world’s first real time car locator system which allows car drivers and enthusiasts to remain connected and unified when cruising.
Make sure to check out all there is to know about Klutch22.