You Ask, We Answer
How much will it cost to develop my software?
$50,000-100,000 to get a working prototype. At that point, you’ll have something you can find customers or investment with. You’ll need between $250,000-500,000 to launch a commercially-viable software product from scratch. Then, virtually all software requires ongoing work to keep it up-to-date and meet and exceed customer expectations. You should be able to pull back from the development budget and maintain the software for around $5,000-$7,500 monthly.
How long will it take?
Let's break it down into stages. Creating a prototype or MVP typically takes three to four months—while developing a commercially viable product can take six months to a year. After that, most successful software is continually developed to ensure it meets the demands of higher traffic and quality standards.
How should I get prepared to get started?
Practice communicating your product’s unique value proposition and the core functionality people will adopt. Having wireframes (which could be as simple as a whiteboard drawing or a sketch on a sheet of paper) showing how you envision the software to work will help kick us off. Having a budget for development work is essential.
What are my responsibilities to ensure we build a successful product together?
You or somebody on your team needs to be highly engaged and available to answer questions from our end. This will include giving and receiving feedback, communicating your changing needs or business goals, reviewing software design, etc.
Will I be able to raise funding on this MVP?
You're more likely to raise funding on an MVP than an idea. Ultimately, being able to raise money is about persuading investors that you have the right team in place, you're going after a big market, and your idea solves a real problem for your customers. If the core functionality of your MVP is unique, it will demonstrate that your idea is doable and that you’re prepared to steward investors' money in building a successful company.
How do I prioritize what to build?
To develop your product, let's first focus on building its core functionality. Start with the feature that sets it apart and makes it attractive to potential users.
How does our collaboration work with Flatstack?
We lead a continuous cycle of collaboration for your team with the help of a client manager. We work using Agile methodology of one-week or two-week sprints. At the beginning of each sprint, you'll have a planning meeting; at the end, you'll have a demo of what was completed. We’ll ensure our development work aligns with your business and budget objectives along the way. Collaboration happens through project management tools, messaging, and calls as needed.
Who will my team be, and how will I talk to them?
We’ll assemble a team of developers, designers, and project managers to match the needs of your project. One benefit of working with us is that we provide team flexibility throughout your project. You may need a system architect well before you need a UX designer—and we can allocate these resources on an as-needed basis, so you don’t pay for both simultaneously.
Communication can happen using our project management tools, or if you have an existing workflow, we’re happy to adopt yours. Our typical stack is Discord or Slack for messaging, JIRA or Clickup for project management, and Zoom video calls.
How do I make build vs. buy decisions?
One common mistake in product development is investing resources in creating a solution that can be easily accomplished with an existing product.
We identify and integrate the best 'off-the-shelf’ tools into your software. When implementing AI, existing products can handle much of the basic customer interaction. But it's in the custom development that makes it do what you want. We can program large language models, prompt engineering, and training to your AI agent so that it makes magic for your customer
Can I build this with no-code or low-code?
No code or low code tools are often a great starting point to test and validate the core functionality of the product you're looking to build. At the earliest phase, we may steer you in that direction—which could involve our help, or you may want to build it yourself.
Robust, scalable products demand custom software development, including API integration between various connected products and training for AI tools… all of which we’d be happy to help you with.
What happens to my product once people start using it?
We aim to create a product with the highest quality code, low technical debt, and scalability. We’ll know how to keep your software reliable, but so should an in-house team if you choose to manage it yourself in the future. As customers start using your product, scalability and uptime become critical. The development process shifts to staging and production environments that ensure proper testing of a new release is done before it is pushed live to your customers.
Can you help me raise funding for my startup?
In our 20 years of experience, we've worked with hundreds of startups, and we’re proud to have written the first line of code for a client that was sold as a “unicorn.” As such, we deeply understand the journey of a high-growth startup.
Our co-founder Chris Schultz is an experienced angel investor in addition to his work with Flatstack. He has helped startups raise capital through his accelerator program and network of entrepreneurial hubs called Launch Pad. One of the benefits of working with Flatstack is getting direct access to Chris and his network of angel investors and VCs who value his strategic advisory work with startup CEOs. And for Flatstack clients, we will do as much as possible to help you raise funding for your startup.
Our focus is on understanding the stage of your startup and identifying the right resources at the right time. For example, at the earliest stage, we can help you build an MVP or prototype focusing on your core features to validate your product's feasibility and market. This includes having a working demo to showcase to investors. For companies in the scale-up phase of their journey, our involvement often shifts to team augmentation, where we build a core engineering team to help you grow your company.
Can you help me get customers?
We want to get as close to your business goals as possible as we develop your software. Understanding your milestones for customer adoption and fundraising goals helps us to be a strategic partner to you.
Through his background running accelerator programs and working as a startup investor, Flatstack co-founder Chris Schultz has helped founders and CEOs develop customer acquisition strategies that match the market for their products. For Flatstack customers, Chris can be a strategic advisor to help you think through customer acquisition strategies and connect you to agencies or individuals who can help you scale.
How can I develop an AI strategy for my product?
Many companies are aware of the powerhouse that is AI but still need to figure out what to do about it.
If this is you, let's book a call to discuss and brainstorm your AI strategy. You can start by developing tools to help support the process-driven areas of your business. You can also create internal tools so your teams can work more quickly and efficiently.
AI is shifting how we interact with software and current software models are quickly feeling outdated. Rather than continuing on a development path on what now may be a legacy product, we can help you reimagine a software product that delights your customers and employees by incorporating AI.
What is changing about software with AI?
Simply put, the user expects their software to do more. In the same way Google or ChatGPT can write blog posts for us based on a few prompts, your users will expect your software to be easier, faster, and do more than ever before. But don't worry—we're here to help you accomplish that goal.
The interaction model for software is changing rapidly. The new paradigm is that the user wants to spend less time with the data entry components that most software requires and wants the software to do the work for them.
Can we build AI-powered software that gives my employees superpowers?
Definitely. And while there may be a lot of talk about AI replacing the knowledge work jobs of today, our perspective is that by using AI, you can unleash new creativity, productivity, and happiness within your team. We can help you create AI tools that reduce redundant processes and mundane tasks that your employees must do to complete their work but which software can do faster.
Think of AI as the virtual assistant for every team member: it can help do the things they don't want to do so that they can be more productive and creative with their time on the clock.
How long have you been around?
We've been building successful software products together for 20 years and have been a reliable partner for hundreds of companies as they have started up and scaled up. The trust and integrity of our team are paramount and are the reasons we've been successful. Our reputation is the thing that matters most to us.
Will you work well with my team, engineers, and other contractors?
Communication is the key to working with diverse international teams and stakeholders. We’re happy to work with you to understand the makeup of your company and team so that we can collaborate well with employees, freelancers, and other agencies involved in delivering your product.
Do you have a track record of success?
We make every effort to over-deliver and course correct when something goes wrong. And in this business, projects sometimes go sideways, and it's essential to have a team that will make it right.
Our work speaks for itself in the tenure of our clients, who typically work with us on average for more than five years. We succeed when you succeed, and the growth of our customers and successful outcomes for their businesses is the best reflection of our work to help them get there.
Last year, one of our clients had a $1.1 billion exit, and we were there throughout, from the first line of code to continuing to work with them with a team of 20 developers.
What technologies should I be using?
The most essential part of building something is using the right tools for the job. We don't have dogma in software languages because the world constantly evolves. We will recommend languages, tools, and frameworks we have experience with and will be open to your ideas and preferences. Our background is utilizing:
- Ruby on Rails, RubyOnRails, Python, PostgreSQL, MongoDB
- REST JSON API, GraphQL
- Blockchain technologies, including IPFS
- React.js, Angular.js, Vue.js
- Heroku, AWS, Docker
- Kotlin, Swift, Objective-C
- Android, iOS
- Open AI