App development

Developing an app with very limited funds

Trevor Moses I'm a young guy with dreams of changing the world

February 24th, 2017

I have a mobile app idea that I KNOW will change the world and empower millions. My only problem is I have very little money beyond what I live off of, so hiring a development company is out of the question for now. Then I was thinking maybe I could crowd source the money, but then I worry that if I make the details public, the idea is out there for someone else to take. Lately I've been thinking that partnering with a developer who could share in my vision would be the way to go.

So my question is; would it be realistic to think I can partner with someone with the only compensation for their time being a percentage in my future company? Would it be feasible to create a small and simple (albeit very large scale) app with a single other person? And finally, if that's all possible; How would I find this person? Thanks so much for feedback! This app, and the vision I have for it, is a massive deal to me.

Richard Giraud President of RGENT Computing Corporation

February 24th, 2017

Understand that many good developers encounter people in your exact same situation every day. Every day, someone is pitching a Facetweetchatagram app that they are sure will revolutionize the way we communicate and make billions. Climbing that wall will be hard.

Things I look for include:

  1. Is the idea any good? Too often, it's just another social media knock off.
  2. Does the idea do good?
  3. What do you bring to the table? Do you have skills, connections, or just an idea?
  4. Do you have a vision or just a feeling? Can you tell me exactly what it does? Show me how it will look? Hand drawn screenshots are fine.
  5. Are you invested and serious? Too many people are in love with the idea of getting rich and not enough are willing to put in the effort.

In short: Would a cynical you want to partner with you? If so, you stand a chance.

Joanan Hernandez CEO & Founder at Mollejuo

February 24th, 2017

Hello Trevor,

Ideas are dime a dozen

If you haven't assimilated the previous, well, you better :) Execution is everything. One thing is to have the idea, another is to make it a reality. You'll see that the process of making it a reality is far tougher than thinking of it.

Mobile apps can be fairly straight forward to do, and they could be low cost. Make some savings and put your chest into it. Once you put your means into the endeavour, then maybe someone will listen. In any case your dream becoming a reality won't be an straight forward event, nor painless.

Good luck!


February 24th, 2017


I run a development company which supports lots of startups and have programs to incubate them and let me share my personal thoughts when sit on the other end of the table and not to disappoint you. Some of them will be repeat of what is being mentioned here by other members also

I live in silicon valley where almost every second person you run into has a fantastic idea but donot have money to invest or have done a product but cannot sell . End of the day sharing equity does work to a basic level but if you want to get done something seriously there has to be a commitment from the other person. Sharing a idea does not show commitment . The question come up is - Are you giving up the job to sell this full time ? Or what is the exposure you have financially to this project . If none of this is true then , we rarely even touch it because we are concerned about the commitment the ideation has to success .

To answer your specific questions-

Crowdsourcing is not a good idea unless you ave done some development and have filed the necessary IP patents to protect your idea.

Yes MVP (Minimum viable product) is the best way to test the idea before blowing up time and effort on a whole blown product

Finding a partner for your business where you are trying to not invest any money is going to be like blind date . there is no proven formula for it. We have taken over development from atleast 2 companies like this where blind date lead to blind love which lead to disaster for the product and the original idea.

I will be glad to help you on private message if you need more advice

Nik White Founder of TalentMob - a social talent show in your hands

Last updated on March 13th, 2017

Put a free ad on I did this and have met with 4 developers so far who are all open to the idea of working for equity, even though they came in with the expectation of interviewing for a job. 2 didn't work out; the other 2 are in the process of proving to me that they're appropriate candidates for the co-founder position. If you're good at sales, this shouldn't be a problem.

But before you do, you need to prove yourself. You have to do all that you can do first before you can convince anyone you're worth partnering with.

For the past 2.5 years, with no experience in design or marketing, I market tested and designed the app myself. I market tested with cheap Facebook ads first to convince myself that the idea was even worth pursuing. Then when it turned out it was, I designed a "prototype" using photoshop and Invision. (I also spent over $10,000 to have an mvp outsourced, but that was pointless because it turned out to be utter crap compared to the prototype I designed and show at the interviews.)

Then after building your prototype, take advantage of Invision's partnership with and test it with real people for free. Get feedback and iterate as appropriate.

This took me 2.5 years only because I had to figure this all out myself from scratch. If I were to do it all over again, I don't think it'll take me more than 6 months from beginning to end.

Bottom line, all of this costs you nothing but time. And most important, it proves to the developers you're trying to woo that you're worth consideration.

Frank A Graphic Designer, UX/UI Crafter, Prototype Builder

March 13th, 2017

Hi Trevor, there is a lot you can do with very little money. My partners and I have been doing this for a year now and have just located a programmer that is willing to work with us for equity and a little bit of cash, which we are lucky to have, but it is not much. It helped that I am a veteran graphic designer and art director. I created our name, logo design, branding tag line and, critically, I just created a working prototype that shows 90% of the functionality of our app. We have successfully used the prototype to present to our programmer as well as a few informal focus groups and possible investors. With my background, I was able to learn the prototyping program fairly easily and have gotten good at it now. Keep at it and don't give up, find someone you can trust who may also have a valuable skill set. There are people who are willing to invest their time and skills for a percentage of your company, you just have to not give up looking, something usually does happen.

In the meantime, why don't you take a look at my profile here on CofoundersLab as also my online portfolio at

You never know, I might be one of those people. If not, good luck to you. You also may want to check out a great book titled, How to Build a Billion Dollar App by George Berkowski...a lot of insightful information there for you!

Good luck!

Anthony D'Amato Looking to create and inspire

Last updated on March 16th, 2017

Just a couple comments: Don't be so sure that you KNOW it will change the world. Ask as many people what they think about it as possible. Don't be too worried about them stealing it unless they are very very resourceful and motivated - if it was that easy, you would have already created it.

There's a few sites that make it easy to build a prototype of an app. has a free 15 day trial and its easy to use.

Another site called lets you give a brief description of your project and what features you will need and then you "submit a request" and basically get a big list of development firms and you choose however many you want based on their specialties and price, and then the dev firms can see your request and they either pass or accept. After one accepts they can contact you and you can begin a conversation about the project and they can give you an estimate. Some of them also will consult you on your idea and if it's viable, you can come up with a plan for monetizing and based on what the estimated cost is you can take steps towards figuring out how long a ROI would take, and prepare a pitch for investors. Some of them might also build the project in exchange for equity.

Another app called shapr is useful for finding people with similar interests and people that may be able to help you with your project. It is set up like tinder and you swipe through people in your area looking to network. You may be able to find a technical co-founder, or someone else that you can build a mutually beneficial relationship with.

John Zhu Can help MVP development in exchange of sales expertise

February 24th, 2017


I have read through other comments to your question, I agree to most of them.

One thing I like to add: you should not be afraid of sharing your idea with others, even with a risk that your great great idea may be stolen by someone, you should open up 100%. Holding it to yourself is a perfect formula to see its slow death.

Opening up to others gives you opportunity of refining it, seeing it from different angle and all others which are necessities of moving an idea to reality.

Best luck, but do hold it to yourself.

Michael Bennett Engineering skillset with an entrepreneur mindset.

Last updated on March 6th, 2017

Your statement leads with the assumption that your idea will change the world and empower millions. If a potential investor or partner believes this to be true as you do, and we know any such app can almost definitely be monetized in some way that will provide a positive ROI, then they are left with only two possible conclusions to draw -

1) You are too lazy to sit down and figure out how to make an early stage prototype of this yourself to test and demonstrate the idea


2) The idea is not nearly as good as you think it is and that you are making large assumptions in your growth model with no basis in reality or data to support them.

Conclusion 2 is almost definitely accurate, however you have the opportunity to disprove that by also proving that you are not lazy and learning the skills necessary and putting in the work to test your idea.

Radek Krawiec Looking for marketing/sales cofounder

March 11th, 2017

As far as I know, named in one of the other answers really does the job for mobile apps. As far as SaaS applications and Web portals are concerned, go ahead and try Raimme ( . It's an online platform for building and running apps in the cloud from a set of preconfigured components. At the basic level, you can do it with no coding skills. It's free for small apps, and with that free plan you can actually create a pretty decent MVP. (Disclaimer: I'm the founder of this platform)

Steve Procter ... Venture Technologist Tech Entrepreneur seeks sales & referral partners for

March 12th, 2017

" would it be realistic to think I can partner with someone with the only compensation for their time being a percentage in my future company "

Surely that is why we are all on this website!? For every person like you who will have one kind of skill (e.g. being great at sales so you can go out and sell the app once written), there will be another app developer who is useless at sales. FInd each other and do great stuff together!