I had this question in my mind long ago. Now I'm daring to ask that. ;-)
What I have learnt from current trend is that, "Internet or e-commerce is the only field for the software start-ups to get clicked or to get good revenue."
We - me and two friends of mine - are developing a software for the industry for the standalone purpose. The development is half way through. But we are very much worried about its future. Because if we consider the current top start-up companies, almost all are into internet based product development. Is it that much necessary to have an internet or e-commerce product for a start-ups? Is our understanding correct on current trend on start-ups?
EDIT: I meant we are developing a desktop application. But current trend of start-up companies seems to be products related to e-commerce/internet. So is it products related to e-commerce are the only source of revenue for start-ups? Is it a bad idea to build a desktop application?
It really depends on your product, your existing technology setup, your market and your business model.
IF your intending to sell a product for $50 on a CD, then your probably out of date I would recommend looking at changing your model. I have had several recent clients change their product/deliery models from this style to an online service model. In doing so this changed their business model as we were able to identify other revenue and sales streams that became viable.
IF your selling a highly complex product with a week or 2 training for $500K per install then an application or website is probably appropriate, and it would come down to the requriements and needs of the customers. We have a few of these and we run a hybrid of systems based on the specific business function we are addressing per "sub product".
IF you have specific requirements in your application like complex calulations, high memory usage, detailed CAD work, robotic control or graphics requirements OR your integrating with hardware on the desktop then a webpage probably isn't the right choice. That said one of our contractors runs a Mars rover simulation through a webpage connected to a PC ... so that can work just fine.
The questions you need to start with in order to work it out are:
Basic "Rule of thumb" I use
BUT we have products that break these rules for very good reasons ... so it depends on the details of your senario.
Although there is a trend towards web-enabled applications, that consideration should be secondary to what your target market wants. Some tasks are still better on the desktop. There is still a need to host data locally. Many desktop applications interact with a web service. Users get the best of both worlds.
It is getting easier and more acceptable to have hosted applications. Hopefully, you have some insight into your potential users and will build what is best for them while balancing it with what works for you.
I would like to start with the quote you mentioned "Internet or e-commerce is the only field for the software start-ups to get clicked or to get good revenue.". As you said, it is a start-up and looking at your headcount it is fairly ideal small group of similar objective team. Starting a product having no face on the web is like opening a shop in a locality where you have to go every door to promote and sell. However moving to e-commerce or a web solution provides you plenty of other resources, such as,