Let’s face it. Not every developer has worked at Google or has just walked out of a multi-million dollar acquisition deal for a mobile game app. Most of the developers among us, at least those that haven’t been spotlighted in TechCrunch or TheNextWeb (yet), are just your average John or Jane Doe with their average day job income. They probably don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars saved to build a business around a mobile app.
Fortunately with the advent of the Internet and the followed ingenuity of Kickstarter, crowdfunding clones have sprung up like daisies in Spring – some of which are geared for app developers. As for the challenge of finding a community that would invest in mobile apps? AppFlood has you covered.
We’ve compiled a full list of crowdfunding sites for app developers, so you can concentrate on your pitch and not the mundane research.
AppStori has been around since 2012. While Kickstarter vibrates throughout AppStori’s bones, AppStori takes the Kickstarter model one step further. Not only does AppStori sources funds from eager contributors for developers in exchange for swag like t-shirts, but more importantly AppStori has partnered with monetization and hosting services providers, in a bid to to extend a helping hand beyond just funding.
But if you’re submitting your apps to AppStori, one tip to keep in mind is that AppStori is selective. For every one app accepted into its crowdfunding program, AppStori rejects two or more proposals. Quality trumps quantity here.
Campaign Types: All-or-nothing
Platform Fees: 7% of total pledge
Having pivoted from a marketplace for buying and selling app source code, AppSplit is now a developer’s Pandora’s box if what you’re worried most is whether you’re to pull resources to get your app off the ground on your own. AppSplit isn’t just a crowdfunding platform for aspiring app developers. The site provides flexible funding options for developers – whether you’re looking to outright sell off your app, or even sell an equity stake in your company. Where AppSplit is unique is a feature that connects developers to intrigued freelancers that might be looking to help you make your product come to life for their freelance rate.
Campaign Types: All-or-none, Open funding, Sell
Platform Fees: 10% for Open funding, 5% for all-or-none
Not the prettiest platform of the bunch, AppsFunder is a crowdfunding platform with a twist on the traditional funding model. Users have the option to fund an app one of two ways. If funders buy a “Golden Apps” package, they will get a copy of the alpha version of the app and perks. The alternative package is called “Platinum Apps,” where backers will receive a “multiple” on their pledge. For instance:
Fund $25.00 (or in € or GBP), and get $40.00 back from the app revenues
Fund $50.00 (or in € or GBP), and get $80.00 back from the app revenues
Fund $100.00 (or in € or GBP), and get $220.00 back from the app revenues
This means that if you’re accepting funders who will be receiving a multiple on their pledge, you’ll need to grant AppsFunder access to your iTunes Connect or Google Play account so AppsFunder could distribute the respective share of revenue to your backers.
Campaign Type: All-or-none
Platform Fees: 8%
SellanApp at the end of the day caters to non-developers (or developers who might feel strapped on development resources). It’s a great platform for the business guys without any background in app development.
SellanApp has an accredited pool of developers that the idea people can attract, granted the idea intrigues the developer enough to offer up their app development services. Let me explain.
Pitching your idea to SellanApp’s community starts with an idea and a mockup. The idea of course is your responsibility, but as for the mockup, SellanApp offers a mobile app for drafting the skeleton of the app that you want developed. After providing additional details including promotional materials, team requirements, and a video boot, you’re ready to launch your campaign and accept pledges from the community.
Where the platform’s uniqueness shines compared to other crowdfunding platforms is its campaign model. There’s no target goal that you’re able to set on SellanApp, although you’ll have to set a funding deadline. Pledges can be accepted during the funding period, until a developer feels that the accrued pledges would be enough to sufficient enough to bid his or her services on the project. The developer usually takes 2/3rd of the pledge, while the remaining sum is reinvested into the promotion of the app.
Campaign Type: Open funding (until selected by developer)
Platform Fees: 10% of total pledge after matching idea with developer; 5% from revenue shared after app is published in the app store. You can read more about their fee structure here.
Here’s another twist to the app crowdfunding model – and one that the non-developers among you might get a kick out of if SellanApp hasn’t piqued your fancy. AppLits is something like a popularity contest, which offers people with ideas the chance to pitch their app ideas to the site on a monthly basis. The community collectively decides the winner of the contest based on the highest number of total votes.
The chosen idea is then developed by an app development firm, which then creates the app from start to finish, while members of the community can contribute to the creation of the project in other ways. The creators and AppLift both take a percentage of the app’s future revenue.
Campaign Type: Contest
One of the earliest app crowdfunding platforms on the market, AppBackr sports a profit sharing model, which competitors have picked up on since. People who pledge to support an app called “Backrs” can buy copies of the app and make a return from their investment after the app has been published.
Campaign Type: All-or-nothing
Other app crowdinvesting platforms
Of course, there are other crowdfunding apps that might not cater specifically to app developers, but you can take your chances on platforms including Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, RocketHub, and even the angel investment platform, Angel.co.
We'll keep an eye out for additional app-specific crowdfunding platforms or if you know of any other that we've missed, feel free to let us know in the comments below and we'll continue updating this list.