Do I need a prototype to sell my app idea?


No, but you do need it fleshed out to a degree of believability. And that depends on who you're talking easily they can pick the idea up and run with it. A programmer is likely to do this better than a banker: they can probably take the concept and mentally build it out, whereas the banker probably can't.

Now comes the money part. Again, this depends on who you're talking to. How money-savvy are they? A programmer might love the idea and instantly know how to flesh it out. That might generate enough excitement to make the sale happen right there.

For the money-savvy, something's missing though...a whole lotta something. Where's the target market? How do you intend to reach them (ads, traffic, signup)? What business model would you follow (paid third party ads, paid membership, freemium, etc.)? If all you have is the basic *technical* idea but no market analysis, the money-savvy will probably leave it alone.

Given that you didn't provide more detail, you probably think someone is going to steal your idea. Most people are too busy to steal your idea. I've written about this here:

As you haven't given more info, it's tough for me to tell--at least in my opinion--whether your idea has legs or not. I guess you could PM it to me if you want. Otherwise, I could help you figure out that marketing side to sell it to the money-savvy type of person.

Answered 7 years ago

No, you need an easy-access demonstration of what your app will do, including the most important features and differentiators. My wife built her prototype with cardboard and paper and I watched potential investors and partners light up in the first 30 seconds as they played with it and understood right away what she intended to build. Mission accomplished!

Answered 7 years ago


Prototypes can have different purpose, so let's look at the most common cases:

1. The prototype's purpose is to explain the idea

You'll need to be able to explain your idea on several levels.

The elevator pitch does usually not involve showing a prototype.

If you have more time, you should still be able to explain your idea without a prototype, be it with words, gestures or pictures.

If you're uncomfortable selling your idea without a prototype you need to work on how to present it.

In some cases, the idea is so novel that the best way to explain it is to show it. In that case a prototype can be valuable. Before Pokemon Go made people aware of what Agumented Reality might look like, a prototype was probably the best way to explain it.

2. The prototype's purpose is to show that the idea is feasible and that you and your team has the skills to make it happen.

If you are selling to investors, a prototype might convince them that you and your team have the technical knowledge required to deliver. This depends on how complex your idea is though.

3. Customer feedback and iterating

In my experience, the prototype delivers most value when it is used to get real-world feedback from real customers, and when the prototype can be quickly adjusted to accommodate the feedback.

This is very valuable when used to validate product-market fit and to make incremental adjustments.

I have helped IT startups build their first prototype. I've seen that the prototype can be used as a crutch, instead of tackling the real business problems. Make sure you can sell convincingly without a prototype.

Answered 7 years ago

No you don't need it. BUT! Sell Idea, spacially in IT, is almost imposible.First of all you need to defend your idea. It cost a lot and to make it you need a prototype.
If you try to sell Idia without defend, 95 % that your idea will be used without you. The best way is to find IT students who will help you to create prototype for free and try to make it popular. Thats the only way you can earn on that.

Answered 7 years ago

Let's assume you are talking about getting funded to create a full version of the app. Contrary to what others are saying, you are likely going to need a prototype in order to clearly demonstrate what you are trying to accomplish with this app. VCs and investors like to see a minimal viable product before any discussion about funding can begin. Now, what prototype means is a very wide range of things. It could be a simple as a sketched mockups of each screen of your app - a paper prototype. This is actually very useful in early customer testing. You could also create an interactive prototype through a service like Invision, this will be a simulation of your app without any code written. Also, a lot depends on the complexity of the app. For instance, if you are creating an app which follows well known user experience conventions like booking or instant messaging, then it's easy to demonstrate functionality using existing apps, while if this is something completely new, then more details will need to be fleshed out in the prototype.

Answered 7 years ago

To sell any idea you need three things:

1. Presentation of a market worthy problem that needs solving.

2. Explanation of how your app idea solves the identified problem better than alternatives.

3. Proof that your proposed solution will work.

An animation can be used for points 1 & 2. A working prototype and/or professional credibility is required for point 3.

Answered 7 years ago

Yes and no. The previous answers above are important and necessary.

☑️ Yes, you need an idea that pops!
☑️ Yes, you need an outstanding vision and in-depth knowledge of your market
☑️ Yes, you need to have a well-planned goal.

However, I would just like to point out that it becomes a lot easier for everybody, including you, if you've already have a "Beta" app up and running. This way, you can already listen to what the market is telling you and know what to "fix."

Yes, I have no contentions about the power of funding and a well-oiled operation, but finding that base line on what this app can really be based on how the market has reacted would be a more challenging, but also a more rewarding way to go.

To put it simply, you can create a simple code for a "Super Calendar/Calculator App For Business" while it's still in beta. During the Beta stage, you get feedback from the users that this and that is what they would really like to have. Now, after that phase, you improve and you adjust.

Let's just say, you're ready with Version 1 with all of the positive feedback from your existing userbase. That's, I believe, is the time to reach out to investors since you already have momentum going.

Hope this helps!

If you need further assistance, let me know!


Answered 7 years ago

Yes. Otherwise, you'll waste too much time trying to get your idea across. Speed is your friend.

Answered 7 years ago

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