Category Application Development
Survival Guide for app development startups Unlock the secrets to thriving in the app world with insights on strategy, design, marketing, and funding in this essential survival guide for app development startups.

Did you know? In 2023, the global app development market realized a valuation of $228.98 billion. It is further expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.3% by 2030! These exponential numbers depict the app development market's growth prospects. Plus, it is enticing numerous entrepreneurs into startup app development.
app development strategies
However, many people miss the other side of the picture. These numbers indirectly depict the rising competition in the market, too. Thus, various startup applications fail. But that does not mean the survival in this market is not possible. Some examples of sustainable business growth strategies include using biometric authentication. Another example is using gesture control apps.

Read this survival guide to learn in-depth about app development for startups.

How to Develop an App for Startups?

If you are trying to figure out how to create a startup app. Then, follow the following steps to build mobile apps to ensure an effortless process:

mobile apps for startups
Step 1: Ideate, Pause, Reflect

It's really tempting to let your creativity run wild when you develop app for startups. But it's important to take a moment and think about other options before jumping into a new project.

You must start by compiling a list of all potential ideas. This gives us useful information. It also helps us see which ideas we should explore more.

If you're not sure if your idea will work, ask industry experts to see if they like it. Their opinion can help you understand if it's a good idea or not. Top mobile app consultants often hold product discovery workshops. These workshops have helped many startups succeed. Furthermore, never dismiss alternative ideas outright. Recognize that there is always room for improvement. Sometimes, the ideation in the startup app development process leads to innovative outcomes.

First, choose a concept you want to work on. Then, make sure you understand the problem you're trying to solve and the solution you're providing.

Your unique idea should put you on the list of the top 100 successful startups. It should also solve a big problem for your target audience. This naturally segues into the next crucial step.

Step 2: Thorough Market Research

If you don't do thorough market research and determine who you're trying to sell to, you'll face problems later. These problems can slow down or even stop your progress. No matter how amazing your idea seems or how it could change the mobile app industry, a successful startup hinges on understanding the market and achieving a product-market fit. It is essential to address genuine user needs by making a distinct space in the market.

To do so, you must examine the market's competitiveness through competitor audits. Study unsuccessful apps to discern the reasons behind their failures. This practice minimizes the risk of failure and embodies a common approach within the startup app market.

Market research helps you find what makes your business special. This puts you ahead of other companies because you know what makes you different. Conducting surveys during preliminary research is helpful. It helps us understand what people like and how they engage with things. This facilitates to develop app for startups that truly resonates with them.

Make sure to focus on getting users engaged at every step. Remember to always think about your specific audience for custom mobile app development for startups.

Step 3: Selecting the Optimal Platform

The next crucial step in your custom mobile app development for startups is selecting the ideal platform for your app. To decide if your app should target Android, iOS, or both, you need to think about a few factors. Different factors come into play when making this choice. It is essential to research which platform best suits innovative startups and aligns with your business concept.

According to Statista, Android users can access approximately 3.55 million apps, while Apple's App Store offers 1.6 million available iOS apps. This makes Google Play the app store with the largest number of available applications.

Choosing a suitable platform requires an examination of market share and revenue potential for Android and iOS. A comprehensive understanding of the respective app stores is crucial for making an informed decision. Therefore, factors such as download numbers and revenue models for both platforms should be carefully analyzed.

Additionally, consider the choice between native and hybrid apps, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Technical complexity, functionality, cost, and time are pivotal in making this decision.

Step 4: UI/UX Design

A common thread among many successful startups is the exceptional design quality of their applications. Whether it is Canva, Instagram, or Telegram, intuitive design is critical to their success.

The significance of UI/UX design extends beyond mere visual appeal. An application must not only look appealing but also be functional and user-friendly. Moreover, it should adhere to the standards outlined by Apple's Human Interface Guidelines and Google Material Design.

Step 5: Product Development

Choosing a startup app development company is a critical step, where months of planning and strategizing transition into action. Partnering with the right team is crucial for ensuring your idea transforms into a successful product. Wondering how to hire app developers?

You typically have two options:

  • In-house Team: Hiring an in-house team offers a deep understanding of your product idea and faster communication.
  • Outsourcing: Partnering with a remote team of developers provides access to highly skilled designers and developers.

Consider your challenges and decide whether an in-house team or outsourcing aligns better with your business needs.

Next, evaluate whether you will be able to monitor the startup app development process yourself. This will help you choose a mobile app software development company that meets your requirements.

Before hiring:

  • Compile a list of potential partners.
  • Ask relevant questions.
  • Review their case studies and portfolios to ensure they're the right fit for your project.

Analyze worldwide startup app development costs to find feasible options within your budget. Once you have selected a developer, ensure you sign an NDA to protect your idea.

Step 6: Secure Funding for Your Mobile App Startup

After dedicating significant time to building your app, raising funds for your mobile app startup is the next hurdle to ensure an effortless mobile app development lifecycle. Securing ample funds equates to increased resource availability and heightened prospects for success.

There are several avenues to explore for fundraising. So, determine the methods that best align with your business model, such as:

  • Seed funding
  • Bootstrapping
  • Crowdfunding
  • ICO

Craft a compelling elevator pitch and actively seek potential investors. Now is the time to be ambitious and ensure your product is one that investors will eagerly pursue.

Step 7: Develop an Effective Marketing Plan for Your App

Achieving rapid traction and widespread reach for your app requires strategic marketing initiatives. Marketing is a key factor in transforming a regional brand into a global sensation. 

You can capture the attention of users by implementing compelling marketing strategies. Utilize social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and PR to enhance market visibility and facilitate swift user acquisition. Also, employ effective mobile app marketing strategies and harness the potential of App Store optimization to propel your app to viral status.

Step 8: Devise a Monetization Plan

A crucial aspect of building successful startup companies involves determining your mobile app's most effective monetization strategy. You can also work with the app development frameworks. Various options exist within the industry, including: 

  • Advertising
  • Sponsorship
  • In-app purchases
  • Subscriptions
  • Pay-per-download

However, ensure that you see through the advantages and disadvantages of each to ascertain which monetization model aligns best with the objectives. Focus on choosing the approach that guarantees sustainable revenue generation and supports the long-term viability of your startup venture. Check and learn from the top inspirational startup success stories to get a kickstart.

Step 9: Update Your Application

The lifecycle of mobile app development for startups extends beyond the app's launch. Regular updates are essential for enhancing app visibility and consistently delivering value to users with each iteration.

To achieve lasting success in startup mobile app development, prioritize ongoing improvement based on user feedback. Maintenance updates and adding new functionality are continuous processes that maximize user retention and sustain a steady revenue model.

startup mobile app development

Looking At The Startup Mobile App Development Cost

The startup mobile app development cost majorly depends on the complexities of the application you desire. Some of the fundamental elements the cost of an application depends on are:

Cost Range (USD) Features Included
$10,000 - $50,000 Basic functionality, simple UI, limited integration, essential features
$50,000 - $100,000 Custom UI/UX design, more complex features, basic backend, API integration
$100,000 - $200,000 Multiple platform support, advanced features, complex integrations, enhanced security
$200,000 - $500,000+ Highly complex features, enterprise-level integrations, sophisticated security, data analytics, AI capabilities

1. Functionality

The functionality of an application pertains to what the app will do and the needs it will address for customers.

2. Complexity of Features

Whether it is a simple to-do list app or a sophisticated facility-providing app, the complexity of features influences both development intricacy and cost.

3. Targeted Devices and Platforms

Choosing between native and cross-platform development determines whether the app will support one specific platform or multiple platforms. Such a choice in compatibility influences the cost of building your application for even the top innovative startups.

4. Maintenance Plan

Post-deployment technical support is necessary to ensure the app functions consistently and to implement improvements. This requires a significant amount of funds.

5. Third-Party Integration

If the app requires integration with third-party services such as location sharing or payment systems, this will incur additional costs.

Considering these parameters, you can establish a fixed budget for the entire project. However, the estimated startup mobile app development cost typically ranges from $25,000 to $150,000, potentially exceeding $300,000 for highly customized and complex applications.

startup mobile app development cost
What are the App Development Best Practices for Startups?

Despite following a set process for app development, you may still face various challenges. Therefore, to avoid these challenges, follow the best practices given below for app development for startups:

Best Practices for Startups

1. Understanding Your Target Audience

Understanding the audience is critical for top startup websites. This involves deciding whom to create an app for, iOS or Android users. This includes their income level and geographic locations. For Android, you will need to hire mobile app developers skilled in Java. Whereas for iOS, expertise in languages like React Native, Flutter, or Ionic development is essential. 

Without such foundational research, your app may struggle to engage with your intended audience. Understanding what motivates your target audience to download a mobile app and the problems they need to solve can help you tailor features to meet their needs.

2. Building the Right Team

Selecting a mobile app development team capable of devising comprehensive startup app development strategies and understanding market conditions is essential. Consider outsourcing mobile app development to a service provider equipped with teams of techno-functional developers with years of expertise. 

With several mobile app development companies in India, hiring the right one is crucial for project success, as relying on inexperienced agencies may compromise your app's goals. Thorough research during the hiring process is crucial to ensure you choose the best development team for your app.

3. Review Past Work

Before hiring mobile app developers for your project, examine their previous work. Evaluating past examples allows you to measure the developer's expertise and the quality of their work, whether they are individuals or part of a larger team. This ensures you enter into the relationship with realistic expectations for the outcomes.

4. Limit the Scope of Problems Your App Addresses

It is wise to focus on solving one problem when developing mobile apps. For example, streamlining the process of sending images of a car accident to an insurance company. 

Attempting to tackle multiple issues, such as comparing insurance rates or providing teen driving advice, within the same app can lead to confusion. Thus, mobile apps should concentrate on addressing one primary problem effectively.

5. Select a Comprehensive Skillset When Hiring

Creating a successful mobile application for small businesses involves more than just coding. Your chosen developer should excel in crafting functional designs and prioritizing user experience. 

However, avoid hiring an independent mobile app developer unless you have access to a team capable of fulfilling essential functions. These functions include design, usability, and testing.

Latest Trends for Mobile App Development for Startups

There is always something new and upcoming in the IT industry, especially when it comes to app development for startups. Here are some of the latest trends in the market:

1. Motion Design to Enhance User Engagement

Motion design in your app can address user impatience with static and complex designs that lack engagement. Such great usefulness of motion design is also why it was its global market expected to reach a valuation of $177.5 billion by 2030. 

App Development  trends for Startups

Motion design aims to capture users' attention by introducing interactive elements, animated scrolling, and macro interactions. Thus, it can be a great idea to benefit from its incorporation in your app development journey.

2. AI as a Design Tool

Artificial intelligence has become a mainstream tool in mobile UI design trends. Statistics even expect the global AI in the design market to reach a valuation of $7754.83 by 2032. Designing with AI tools is possible because it introduces the concept of "computational design." This enables automated programs to generate app interfaces instead of relying solely on human designers.

AI and machine learning accelerate the startup app development process while minimizing the likelihood of significant changes. Moreover, AI design programs adhere to predefined parameters mimicking human decision-making processes, ensuring consistent results. 

3. Smart and Inclusive UX Designs

Incorporating accessibility and inclusivity into UX app designs is one of the most significant trends in custom mobile app development for startups. This approach places users at the center of design considerations, catering to a diverse range of individuals.

For instance, the creators of the survival game "Rust" gained widespread attention for their decision to randomize every player's skin color, thereby promoting inclusivity.

4. Touchless UI

Touchless interfaces are emerging as a prominent trend in mobile app development. In fact, the touchless sensing market is speculated to be valued at $46.5 billion in 2031. 

Some of its examples include biometric authentication for finance, payment apps, and gesture control apps. Innovations such as eye-tracking for scrolling further enhance user experience.

5. Camera-Focused Mobile Apps

The demand for video conferencing programs has skyrocketed, with downloads breaking records. Businesses investing in developing video conference apps have seen their revenues grow a lot. This is mainly because more people are working remotely now. 

Social media platforms are getting very popular. These platforms are getting a lot of attention from users. For instance, TikTok has become one of the best streaming apps today. It is generating over $120 billion in market revenue.


Developing an app can be tricky. Making sure it becomes successful is even harder. It's harder to keep your mobile app going strong today. That's because there's a lot of competition in the market. However, with proper preparation and strategy, it is achievable.

The IT industry keeps getting better all the time. This helps mobile app development companies join the mobile app market and makes improvements possible. So, seek the right cause to address using your application and thrive in the mobile app market.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the four pillars of startup app development?

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    The four pillars to develop app for startups are portability, scalability, resiliency, and agility.

  • What are the key phases of startup app development?

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  • Should I outsource startup app development or build in-house?

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  • How do I find the startup app development developers?

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  • How do I make sure my app solves a real problem?

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  • What are essential must-have features in a startup app?

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  • How do I protect my startup app idea?

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  • What are the major factors that influence startup app cost?

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Sakshi Kaushik

By Sakshi Kaushik LinkedIn Icon

A passionate writer and tech lover, she strives to share her expertise with mobile app developers and fellow tech enthusiasts. During her moments away from the keyboard, she relishes delving into thriller narratives, immersing herself in diverse realms.

Uncover executable insights, extensive research, and expert opinions in one place.