My journey to founding a successful App development Agency

Who am I and what business did I start?

Hello! My name is Praharsh Bhatt and I’m the founder of Multiverse Software India.

Multiverse is a mobile application development agency that specializes in providing rapid and affordable software development. In particular, we develop mobile apps for both iOS and Android platforms alongside the web backend that helps make them run smoothly and scale efficiently. We are based out of India however many of our clients are located throughout the United States.

Multiverse works with a wide variety of clients ranging from startups ($10k-$50k budgets) to larger enterprise organizations ($100k+ budgets). Over the past year and a half, Multiverse has nearly tripled the number of clients and inbound leads we have received, I’ll discuss how we did that a little later!

What's my backstory and how did I come up with the idea?

While I was in middle school, I started getting interested in software and coding. I started developing desktop applications by self-learning and fell in love with it. Come my senior year, I decided to follow this interest and study Computer Science at Gandhinagar Institute of Technology. This is where all the magic began to happen. Around this time, I had long been dreaming of creating an Iron Man Movie-inspired JARVIS like assistant. At this time, Apple’s Siri had just launched, but there was no sign of Google Assistant, not yet. I had in fact developed a prototype of a similar software of Desktop when I was in middle school. Multiverse Extreme Voice Assistant for Desktop

This was a very terrible-looking thing, glued with gum and duct tape. But it worked! I could give commands like opening apps, fetching the weather, copying files, and even crawling through sites like Facebook to speak out new notifications!

This was all I needed to have a proof of concept on any platform, that works. Now I wanted to bring this to the mobile world starting with Android.

This is exactly what I did in a year. I released the Extreme Assistant on Android, and it took the market by storm! Right now, Extreme sits on around 10 Million active users from the Google play store, the Samsung Galaxy store, the Huawei App Gallery, and the Amazon app store combined without any marketing. Extreme was also nominated for GMASA Awards 2018, was in the top charts in Google’s made for Billions, and was one of the first few apps invited to Huawei’s Appgallery in 2018. Multiverse Software app development agency Voice Assistant page.webp

At this point in time, I began to see the true potential in this area. I finally incorporated Multiverse Software India. and throughout my college career, people would hire me to develop their app ideas. Junior and Senior years of college, I even had the opportunity to work with India’s Non-profit NGO Healstation Organization. to help their team build 4 suite of Mobile Applications to help treat mental illness in rural Bihar. At the end of the day, I was working on paying off my college loans on my own, and this is the one way that helped get that done.

My process of designing, prototyping, and shipping apps.

When learning about creating businesses, I found out about the Lean Startup Methodology and how startups are using a somewhat scientific method approach to starting a business.

“Maintaining a close relationship with our customers has helped us not only retain clients but attract new ones.”

I saw how successful this process worked and I realized I could take a similar process and use it for creating successful applications.

There are six main steps Multiverse Software takes to ensure the successful development and launch of an application.

      Conceptualize: Multiverse Software stress tests every idea that comes through our doors. We will take everything that we know about mobile and merge it with your idea in order to find a general direction. This step will save hours, days, and weeks in design and development later on!
      Validate: Having an app is pretty cool, but having an app that people will use is even cooler. Multiverse Software will help validate your idea through our "Lean App Methodology" and make sure that there is a market waiting for you once we're ready to launch.
      Brand: Having a recognizable app is what gets app traction, acquires users, and gets your app featured in the App Store. Our team of designers will sit down with you and create that first impression everyone will be talking about.
      Develop: At Multiverse Software, we don't like to just hop right into things, we like to create a plan and then execute it. When it comes to development, we first create an architecture and choose the best technology for your app. By doing this we help save you future costs and make it easy to grow.
      Test: Throughout the development process, we want to make sure that we are all on the same page and that everything is working as expected. To do this we have an "Alpha & Beta Testing Cycle" that will ensure everything makes sense to users.
      Launch: This is the time we have all been waiting for. However, once we reach this stage we're not done yet. It's time to get the word out and get users on the app. The Multiverse Software team will help you submit your app, market it, and get publicity!

My process of launching the business

When it came time to officially launch the business, having an online presence was a priority. I personally was not much of a web developer or graphic designer, so it made making a website a bit difficult.

Growing our online presence

Okay, so having a website was cool and everything, but what’s the point of having one if nobody goes to it?

This is where SEO began to play a big role. What Multiverse Software needed was to show up on Google when people would search for things like “Flutter app developer”.

Through creating blog posts and some trial and error, we were able to start getting ranked high on Google. Within days, we began to get phone calls and emails inquiring about our services!

When it comes to creating a good SEO strategy, you must first figure out what you want to get out of SEO. Obviously, you want to show up in search engine results, but you have to figure out what your site should be showing up under. For example, if I am a baker targeting people in Denver, Colorado, I am going to want to write blog posts or specific websites tailored to that location and any other specific keywords such as “baking, cookies, brownies, custom cakes, bakeries, etc). This will allow your site to come up when someone searches something like “custom cake bakery in Denver”. Once this is complete, you should make sure to sign up with Google’s Webmaster Tools and have Google crawl your website.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Since launch, maintaining a close relationship with our customers has helped us not only retain clients but attract new ones.

Throughout the entire process of developing a client’s application, there is constant communication and transparency of what is going on. Through weekly meetings, phone calls, and daily communication amongst our team and our clients through Slack.com, allows the client to get a full and true understanding of what is going on behind the scenes.

We also let our clients see the same things that our project managers see via Asana or Jira, giving them a full overview of the progress of the project and how things are moving along.

“Don’t be afraid to say no if you can’t handle the work. It is often more beneficial to limit the amount of work you have on your hands so you can ensure quality.”

Since a lot of our clients are startups, they normally have tight budgets. With that being said, it is critical that we help provide our clients with the most affordable costs around. Through the numerous apps and platforms we have worked on, we have been able to standardize the general development process and in turn saving time and money.

One of the biggest things we have standardized has been our project setup. By working with numerous types of clients, we were able to find what libraries, frameworks, and project structures all of them had in common. From this, we have developed our own frameworks that will automatically be in any project once it is created. With the process and software we have created internally, we have an extreme advantage compared to our competitors.

By being transparent, providing quality work, and not breaking our client's bank, they are very satisfied at the end of the day. It is because of this that not only do they come back to us with additional work, but also refer us to their friends and family.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

Today, Multiverse Software is doing better than ever. We are profitable and learning every day how to become more efficient and save money for both the customer and Multiverse Software. One thing we have learned is that referrals are worth so much more than anything else. People are 20x more likely to go with a developer that was referred to them, than a developer that found from a google search. This is why it is critical to provide a successful and pleasant experience.

Through SEO and social media marketing, we have increased the number of visitors to our site tenfold. Every month we have over 10,000 visitors to our site. We have tried using Google and Facebook ads, but unfortunately, they didn’t provide a very good conversion for a service like ours.

We currently have a team of seven individuals working with Multiverse Software both full time and part time, ranging from designers, account managers, and developers (android, iOS, and Web). It is our goal to double the number of clients we currently have per month and cut in half the amount of development time for each client by the end of the year.

Through starting the business, what have I learned particularly helpful or advantageous?

One thing I have learned in particular is to be cautious with hiring. I once heard that you should hire slowly and fire quickly.

Unfortunately, I heard this after the fact and did the complete opposite. There was a brief time in 2018 when we had a huge influx of clients and we didn’t have enough developers to take on the new projects. The last thing I wanted to do was turn away these potential clients, so I decided to hire developers.

I had hired about 4 developers in a span of a month based on the experience that they had told me they had. As they began working on projects, I had realized the quality of their work was not very good and I had to keep jumping in to correct issues that they did not take care of. I decided not to fire them right away because it may be beneficial to just teach them, and hopefully they would become better.

Time went on and the same problems with the quality of the code being produced was not satisfactory and I ended up spending more time fixing code, than just doing it myself. At this point in time, a few months had past and I had spent over $100k on these developers which ended up being a complete loss. I decided to let these developers go and limit the number of clients we worked with at a time.

Make sure you really vet people out before hiring them. Also, don’t be afraid to say no if you can’t handle the work. It is often more beneficial to limit the amount of work you have on your hands so you can ensure quality. Clients will value this a lot more than providing a poor product. In our case, we ended up just having a waitlist, which worked out even better because it allowed our clients to get the funds and resources needed to really get going with their endeavor.

What platform/tools do I use for your business?

      GitHub: for a shared code repository, collaboration, and code review.
      Slack: For constant, on the go communication, especially for our remote developers.
      Asana: For project management.
      Xcode & Android Studio, and Atom: for all of our coding environments.
      Google Suite: for shared resources between our team and our client.
      Google Analytics: Tracking our SEO efforts and website visitors.
      Fabric & Crashlytics: This allows us to recognize issues, bugs, and crashes in code almost immediately.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are always looking for talented developers and designers! Whether you specialize in Flutter, iOS, Android, web, or design, you could be an asset!