DesignInterview

Milan van den Bovenkamp on SellanApp

Entrepreneur Milan van den Bovenkamp on his new crowdfunding venture SellanApp that connects people who have app ideas to a pool of developers

.net: What inspired you to create SellanApp?
Milan van den Bovenkamp: I created SellanApp with co-founder Aernoud Dekker because we have a lot of people in our network who have great app ideas, but not necessarily the skills to code or the resources to hire a developer. Developers are usually asked to get involved and receive a share of the potential revenue. But when you start to develop an app and publish it in the app stores, you expend your time and money but have no guarantee that it will be successful.

.net: How does it work?
MvdB: SellanApp is a community where app ideas are connected with developers and paid for using crowdfunding.

An app is mocked up using our free iPad app, and then uploaded to SellanApp.com where a crowdfunding campaign is created. Selected developers will watch the funding efforts and can choose an idea for development against the amount pledged, effectively creating an ‘auction’ between the creative community with app ideas and developers worldwide.

SellanApp will submit and maintain the app in the App Store and will forward any revenue to the owner of the app idea and the people who pledged money. This way, pledgers profit directly from the revenue the app makes.

The chances of the app being successful are way higher, because the idea is already socially proven and the people that help fund it are now ambassadors that will spread the word.

.net: Are you targeting people who already work as designers or UX professionals, or are you going after people from outside the industry?
MvdB: We need developers for our community who have a proven track record and want to join the app idea auctions, where they can select the app they want to build and earn money by developing app ideas from all over the world.

We found that people outside the technical industry are eager to use our service. They can get their community active to fund their app idea and eventually convince a developer to take care of the technical aspects of building it. SellanApp offers a way to reach these developers.

We also found people (both from within the industry and from outside of it) who have an idea for an app that they want to have built without having to leave their full time job. For example, we have one user – a creative director at an advertising agency – who loves to have a side project that serves his passion for coffee.

.net: Do people have to use your prototyping tool, or can they submit mockups made in other programs?
MvdB: People do have to use our iPad app to upload their mockup and design. We do this to standardise the process. Our app is a real benefit, because you can make a clickable prototype from your screens. An import-from-Dropbox feature is present, so you can easily make a mockup in Photoshop and later import it to make a dynamic prototype of it with our app.

.net: Can you tell us a bit about your developers?
MvdB: Developers can join our developers’ pool if they are interested. We now have 10 developers and we are talking with a lot more. Any developer with a proven track record or work can join. We aim to have developers in our pool that have a couple of apps already in the store, have a certain expertise and are everywhere in the world. We want to have as many developers as possible all over the world to maximise the chances of the app ideas being developed.

.net: What are the benefits for developers of joining SellanApp?
MvdB: They have access to great projects that will shine in their portfolio; they can work against risks and compensation they choose; they aren’t tied into anything – they are free to choose whatever they want, and competing with other app developers keeps them at the top of their game. 

.net: Are you just connecting people, or do you retain a stake in the whole project?
MvdB: We offer the community of people that make app ideas happen and we distribute potential revenue shares to the people involved. To operate this we take a small fee from the total amount pledged and the revenue share. We don't take a stake in the project; the idea-producer will retain the intellectual property.

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