We haven’t seen any app-first companies adopt this business model, but there have been 10 billion-
based software or services. 99 per year as a subscription via app-store payments, though its business model has evolved a number of times. A number of companies – which are not mobile first, but still have heavily used apps, such as Evernote (a note-taking app), Dropbox and Box (two document storage apps) – have this business model, whereby they charge subscriptions either via app-store payment channels, or bill you directly via your credit card. 5. ENTERPRISE.
dollar Internet companies since 2004 that fall into this category, including Workday (an on-demand human-resources management tool), FireEye (a security company), and big data companies Splunk, Palantir and Tableau Software. On many levels I think this is pretty reassuring. It means that coming up with a robust business model is not rocket science. All five of the above business models have yielded fast-growing Internet or app companies; they have delivered strong and robust profits; and they are all pretty simple to understand. The even better news is that each one of these business models has become easier to actually put in place (in terms of the payment or monetisation details) – and there are more people who understand how to apply them in practice.
Attracting the Best Standards are continually getting higher. In order to build a truly great app and business, you’re going to need to perform well on all fronts. In order to attract the best people across all parts of your organisation, and even in the case of wooing a cofounder, it helps to have a robust business model from the onset. Ensuring that your app is inextricably linked to one of the above five models is a tough exercise but ultimately one that pays dividends (obviously). At the same time, your ability to attract great investors – especially early on – is only improved by having a business model in place from the outset. While some businesses have demonstrated the ability to avoid such a necessity, they are few and far between. And remember, attracting investment is definitely not a final goal: it is merely a way to expedite your ambitions. Your real goal is to build a sustainable and ambitious business. As we go through the early steps of getting your app off the ground it’s worth thinking about the snowball effect: all the decisions you make early will form the basis and core of future decisions. If you adopt the mentality of disciplining yourself to work on developing the best business model, conducting the best research, hiring the best employees and seducing the best investors, then you’re laying the best possible foundations for future success.
The Cofounder Dance Starting and running a company can be a lonely business. It is hard building a vision that others don’t (yet) share; it is hard building a business with little money.
All companies go through ups and downs, and just as with anything
else in life – good or tough – it’s more pleasant to share it with someone. The many challenges of growing a startup are better faced with a cofounder: long and lonely nights of working behind your laptop are a lot more enjoyable with someone else; it’s easier to stomach the depressing news that another investor loves your idea but the opportunity just isn’t right; and, equally, it’s more exhilarating to share the success of your millionth download with someone who has worked equally long and equally hard to achieve it. As we saw earlier, 35 of the tech companies that have achieved billiondollar valuations since 2004 have had two or more founders – with the average number being three.4 While it’s preferable to have a cofounder, you don’t necessarily need one, and you shouldn’t use not having a cofounder as an excuse not to start the business you always wanted. That’s a copout. Three things that make a great cofounder Finding a cofounder is a lot like dating. And, if you’re serious about making your startup a success, you should realise that this is going to be a 4–8-year commitment on average. That’s about as long as most marriages, the average duration being about eight years.5 So this is not something to take lightly. So what should you be looking for in a cofounder? CHEMISTRY.