Source: INSIDE BUSINESS – The Hampton Roads Business Journal
SMALL BUSINESS NAVIGATION Hot biz how-to: Mobile app developers
By Sandra J. Pennecke
Correspondent – Inside Business
Jun 27, 2014
Smartphone app developing is a hot startup idea, says IBIS World. The field is so hot, that it is anticipated to grow more than 26 percent within the next five years. Two local entrepreneurs know firsthand the business of mobile app development, and interviews with them reveal how they started their companies:
Kevin Lee Daisey, owner of iD Web Studios, Virginia Beach, www.idwebstudios.com
Daisey’s company, which has a team of five, was founded in 2006. It offers a wide range of services that include company branding, graphic design, print design, web design, application development, UI design, web hosting and search engine marketing. Daisey refers to it all as a “one-stop shop.”
“I really see the industry changing for the better. I believe iOS 7 is a good example of the future of applications,” Daisey said. “Clean, simple and effective. Less is more, and less is faster. We are also seeing a trend for responsive web-based applications that can handle a lot of the functions of a native app without the large price tag or the need for download to the device. We look forward to growing and changing.”
Pratik Kothari, owner of Techark Solutions, Virginia Beach, www.gotechark.com
Kothari moved to the United States from India in 2003 to pursue a higher education. Nine years later, he opened Techark Solutions, his award-winning software
development firm in Virginia Beach. Techark Solutions specializes in developing cross-platform
mobile apps, mobile-friendly website designs and custom programming solutions.
“Over the next several years, mobile and cloud technologies will continue to revolutionize every business, and that is where Techark is positioned and strives to execute,” Kothari said.
What led you to this career path?
Kevin Lee Daisey: I have always been fascinated by how things work and how they are designed. I was always an artist of some sort growing up and have been what some would call a people person. I took a one-off programming class back in seventh grade in my hometown of Chincoteague Island, and my passion was born. No programming classes were offered to me again, but I kept up until I finally realized 10 years later that I had a self-built skill that I had never applied outside my own personal projects. I quit a well-paying corporate job and started my own company when I was 24 and never looked back.
Pratik Kothari: I have always been passionate to solve challenging problems in the most efficient manner. My team and I love to brainstorm on a new idea or improvise on an existing one. In 2004, I joined a startup [reQuire Release Tracking] in Virginia Beach as an intern software developer. I have always been eager to find new opportunities to learn and [leverage] technology to differentiate from the competition. My team and I helped the business expand nationally, and I became its chief technology officer. Mobile app development has constantly provided me ways to grow as a professional, and I love it.
How has your business grown?
Daisey: Since I started iD Web from my house in 2006, we have grown a lot. Not in size and overhead, but in knowledge, efficiency and profit. We are a small team, but we take on some very large projects and have built some great relationships with many wonderful clients.
Kothari: In a short span of just over two years, Techark has established itself as a strong contender in the app development space. What differentiates us is that we have developed more than 10 of our own mobile apps across iOS, Android and Windows platforms.
Describe an industry-specific challenge:
Daisey: We face many challenges when designing and developing an application. One of those is creating the best platform to build on that best meets the client’s needs and budget. For example, we can save time and money by developing on HTML5, jQuery or UIkit, but some features of an app may require us to build in native code. Then we must chose which mobile devices are to be used with the application. This may first require research and discovery on the particular industry that our client is trying to serve. Once decided, iOS [Apple] presents a long-winded approval process while Android presents no standardization on hardware and software. Testing, tweaking and resubmitting new versions become critical to the success of any app. On launch day, all hands must be on deck to support the client and to deliver a quality product to the end user.
Kothari: While mobile apps have been around for a few years, most companies are still trying to create a strategy on how to best leverage it for their customers and business. The companies that have successfully devised and executed this strategy are reaping its benefits. Mobile and tablet usage continues to rise, and every business, small or large, needs to really start thinking on how to best leverage this huge potential.
We treat this challenge as an opportunity and value proposition for working with us. When we talk to potential clients, we educate them on how the platforms differ, what does the app development process entail and most importantly, how does the solution deliver value to impact the bottom line for their customers.
What is one project or development that you are most proud of to date?
Daisey: We have just begun to launch a new project for a company called Where 2 Wheel. Where 2 Wheel offers powerful maps, vehicle recovery tools, social communication, photo and video sharing, trail listings, ratings, reviews and more for off-road enthusiasts. You can learn more at www.where2wheel.com.
Kothari: Social Mints is an innovative Windows phone app that allows you to easily monitor the web and social media for interesting and trending content in real-time. You can monitor what is being said about you or your brand and stay current on your competition or industry. This is one of our own ideas that has been recognized at an international level, and we are proud of it.