I'm trying to sell my startup, how's my sales pitch?


4

I have recently put the technology and website behind my startup for sale on Flippa:

The auction page has the full spiel, but to summarize: The website allows anyone to create, purchase, and share their own, customized Android mobile application (no programming required). So what's for sale is the technological foundation for a B2C or B2B mobile applications business.

I've received some interest and inquiries, but no offers so far. So the question is, how is my sales pitch? (And how should I calculate a fair sale value?) Thank you...

Selling Business

asked Mar 15 '10 at 23:17
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Ben Edwards
601 points
  • "Create your FREE Android Business Card!"... this statement is a bit misleading as it actually costs 199$. – Olivier Lalonde 9 years ago

3 Answers


7

I can understand why you have received no offers.

Your auction page indicates you have no sales, no customers, no web traffic, and you want a minimum bid of $16,000. On top of that you indicate your application could be created by another programmer for a few thousand dollars. Why would anyone pay you $16,000 when they could contract the product out for a few thousand?

I also see major problems with the product itself. I'm sure potential bidders see the exact same problems.

  1. You are selling a product to a business and then that business has to convince its customers to install your app on their phone. The app itself does nothing for the final user except give contact information for one business and the customer has to have an android phone.
  2. Why would the customer of your customer want this app on their phone? Aren't there existing tools that handle this same information in a better way? If there aren't tools like this, perhaps you should develop a universal way of storing information and contacts.
  3. You indicate there is already competition for this idea. Since it is so simple to implement, if the idea takes off (a big if) then thousands of other people will come up with apps that do the same thing. That will drive the price down to next to nothing.
  4. You have no IP legal protections so the value of your idea is worth much less than you think. (no patent, no trademarks...)
answered Mar 16 '10 at 09:51
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Gary E
12,510 points
  • This product could not be reproduced or contracted out for a few thousand dollars. (I guess that's my mistake if that was misunderstood.) The output of using the technology, your own branded Android application, would cost a few thousand dollars to produce if contracted out. – Ben Edwards 9 years ago
  • Addressing 1 and 2: The customer of the website is buying their own branded Android application. One, of many, potential uses of the app would be to advertise themselves or their business in the Android Market. And there are several universal ways of storing contact information. And they're not something anyone's going to be excited about showing to potential clients; their own Android app is with their logo and one-click-contact is. – Ben Edwards 9 years ago
  • Address 3 and 4: Competition is healthy, it does not drive the price to nothing and it does not mean it's easy to implement. And no patents or trademarks is not a problem. (Getting a patent takes years and costs more money than I'm asking for the technology.) Gimme a break... – Ben Edwards 9 years ago
  • No patent or trademarks means *anyone* can duplicate your app and there is nothing you can do to stop them. An Eastern European prgrammer will happily *copy* your app for far, far less than it cost you to develop. So IF (and that's a big if) this ever becomes popular it will be duplicated by hundreds of people adn that *guarantees* the price will drop to match. – Gary E 9 years ago

1

I'm with Gary on this one. I'm afraid I just don't see the appeal for a prospective buyer. I see on the comments that you don't see the distinction between the Android business card builder and a "Custom Android application builder". For me an application builder would do more than allow me to display some information about my company, it would let me build an application that does something useful. Of course writing a web app that allows anyone to do this without knowing how to program would be very difficult.

Saying that businesses will pay $199-$499 for this service strikes me as questionable, especially when you have no customers to show that. If there really are other services successfully doing this perhaps you should mention them by name so buyers can see there is a real revenue potential.

You say that to hiring a devoloper to produce a similar application would cost several thousand dollars, but I can't see ever charging that much to code what is essentially a business card. Similarly, if someone wanted to contract me to build this (Android Business Card Builder) app it would cost significantly less than $16,000. I wish you the best of luck, and I'll be keeping an eye on this. I think it would be nice to be able to build fun little web apps (and this one certainly looks like it was fun to code) and sell them without doing any of the marketing, but from what I've seen in the past people are more interested in sites that already have traffic/users.

answered Mar 17 '10 at 00:01
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Jacob
138 points
  • Just thinking about the actual problem- a business wants to get its contact info to its customers. Ideally I would want a cross platform app- (the same thing available for both the iPhone and the Android). I would want the customer to be able to go to a web site or call/text a number and my business info would be added to their list of contacts. – Gary E 9 years ago
  • http://appmakr.com/ is one example that allows you to customize your own iPhone app. They've benefited from an enormous amount of press and they're building for the iPhone (which is admittedly a lot sexier than Android right now). – Ben Edwards 9 years ago
  • appmakr.com seems to be used primarily by content providers to convert their existing feeds into an iPhone app. This is quite a bit different from creating a business card app. To improve your pitch I would like to see you explain what benefits the product has to the end consumer. Explain why businesses will want to pay $200 for an Android app business card, as opposed to using one of the other ways of storing/sending contact information. – Jacob 9 years ago

0

I appreciate the feedback, so I'd thought I'd turn some of the answers and comments so far (mostly negative) into some suggestions for myself (positive and actionable).

I'd alter the sales pitch in the following ways:

  1. Make it clear that the price charged for each app is up to the new owner. The buyer of the site/technology can charge whatever they want: $49, $99, $199.
  2. Consider pointing out some of the other players in the field doing this sort of thing. Even though their competition, they potentially validate the concept.
  3. Explain more about why anyone would want their own Android application. Some potential reasons: For instance:

    • To advertise your business or services in the Android Market.
    • The "cool factor" of being a gadget geek and having your own, personal app to show off to potential clients (or your mom or girlfriend).
    • Or if you're a realtor, or a lawyer, or a lawn service company and this is the only way you'll ever have your own mobile application.
What are some other suggestions?
answered Mar 17 '10 at 05:59
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Ben Edwards
601 points
  • How did it go on Flippa? – Ryan 8 years ago

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