As apps have become an essential part of personal and business life, savvy entrepreneurs have leveraged this popularity to achieve overnight success by launching ever more creative apps that address people’s needs. However, their success can often hinge on how quickly they can implement their idea. The typical app development cycle, which take months to move an idea from concept to product, just won’t cut it. Failing to launch an app when a trend is hot could be disastrous.
Unfortunately, the expertise required to build apps quickly still comes at a premium. Elite programmers are hard to come by – and when they do, they cost quite a fortune. While established corporations have no problem footing their hefty bills, for start-ups and small businesses, hiring a team of programmers isn’t feasible.
So, those who want to get their apps up-and-running quickly, and without breaking the bank must be dreaming, right? Wrong! Two startups that have made headlines recently, Pixate and Gigster, are opening up the field for virtually anyone with an idea to build the next hot app.
Pixate has created quite a buzz given its recent acquisition by a Google. A Y-Combinator-based company, Pixate initially started out as a platform for iOS-only UI design in 2012. After raising $3.8m from Accel Partners in July 2013, it expanded into providing a platform for building Android and iOS apps.
At the time of its acquisition by Google, Pixate was one of the foremost platforms for building app prototypes that ran natively in iOS and Android. The acquisition is most likely to cement Pixate’s position in this regard.
Already, Google has announced that Pixate’s desktop design app, Pixate Studio will be available for free. Having previously cost up to $149, giving it away for free will certainly bump the user base for the software significantly. The association with the Google brand will also draw in a larger crowd of developers.
Pixate CEO Paul Colton is banking on the reputation and reach of Google to take the company to the next level. While announcing the acquisition by Google on the company’s blog, he wrote:
“We’ve become an essential part of the workflow for tens of thousands of designers, and are excited about expanding our mission at Google to reach millions of product teams worldwide.”
While Pixate is a well-established tool for app prototyping with a clean, efficient interface for developers, it can still be overwhelming for those without experience in programming or software development. At best, there will be a learning curve to overcome before anyone can successfully use the software to create an app. But for those that get the hang of it, the platform will likely enable them to launch apps quickly and cost effectively.
Gigster has gone beyond just providing software to help facilitate app development and created a one-stop shop for the entire process. This means that you don’t need to have anything other than an idea for an app (and some money) to make it a reality. All of the programming is done by the devs at Gigster, so you don’t have to learn how to do it yourself or go through the hassle of hiring and managing the developers. Here is how the whole system works:
Simply submit your idea on the Gigster website by chatting with one of their Sales Engineers. After clarifying the specifics of the app, they provide a quote for the duration and cost of the project. On average, it only takes them about 10 minutes to produce a quote. The result is typically a fraction (often as low as 10 – 20%) of the amount it would normally cost to put together a team on your own to build the app.
Once the client agrees the terms, Gigster assembles a team of developers to build the app. Each team is assigned a manager, and the work commences. The client is given weekly updates until the app is completed. Gigster even has an option to have them maintain and update the app after it is completed.
So, who are these developers? Gigster claims that some are programmers, which they refer to as Prolancers, work with established companies like Microsoft, Google and Stripe and are seeking for new exciting projects. Others are students in schools like CalTech or MIT, who are looking for extra money.
To the developers, Gigster is great because it saves them the hassle of having to bid for projects. It also shields them from having to deal directly with clients and focus on what they do best, software development. Gigster can get away with low rates because the developers can work on multiple projects at a time. One student reports having earned $10,000 on a single weekend after pulling all-nighters to complete a project.
To small business and start-ups, Gigster is great because it gets their apps up-and-running quite quickly. It saves them from the headache of either recruiting a team of developers or learning how to use app development software themselves. Best of all, it saves them tons of cash in app development costs.
Pixate and Gigster aren’t the only players in the app prototyping landscape. There are plenty of other options both free and paid out there. Examples include InVision, Proto.io, Flinto and Marvel.
Pixate’s acquisition by Google means that it will attract more developers. By offering the Pixate Studio for free and placing Pixate Cloud subscriptions at $5 per month (or $50 annually), the platform is certainly more affordable. Gigster may actually redefine app prototyping– thanks to its rather unique business model. Both startups offer two revolutionary options for everyone who has an idea for an app to turn it into a reality.