4 Successful Apps That Went From Idea to Prototype to App Store in Less Than a Month

This post was originally writen by Marco Vanossi, Founder of Fam.

What’s your idea for the next hot-ticket mobile app that everyone downloads and raves about? You know, that idea you thought of but never did. Maybe it was your idea for the Airbnb-for-cars (now Getaround and Relay Rides), maybe the Uber-for-on-demand-parking (now Zirx and Luxe), or maybe your next idea for Tinder-for-[insert a ridiculous but extremely well-funded idea]?

The folks at ProtoHack have helped thousands of entrepreneurs who, like us, have dreamed of the next billion dollar success story by building our own app.

And we’re not alone. According to recent numbers from comScore US Mobile App Report as reported in rethinkresearch.biz, “smartphone apps are now responsible for 44% of all online digital activity, up from 33% last year. Some 65% of growth in digital activity has come from the smartphone, and just 17% from the desktop, and 19% from tablets – showing that the tablet era is well and truly on the way to being over, with phablet phones virtually replacing them.”

And according to recent stats from Statista.com, the number of apps available for download in leading app stores (as of July 2015) are “Android users were able to choose between 1.6 million apps. Apple’s App Store remained the second-largest app store with 1.5 million available apps.”

So you’re like everyone else and you want to launch your app to the App Store, ideally sooner than later, right?

Here are 5 apps which underwent the rapid prototyping process and were designed, built, and launched in a month or less:

Frontback took only 4 weeks to build and launched to 200,000 downloads in a month. The founder, Frédéric della Faille, used Pop for iPhone to build the simple prototype. According to our conversation with Fred, he began “mostly doing photoshop files exported to my phone imported to POP.”

Pikichat app – took only 1 week to build and launch to enormous fanfare on TechCrunch. In their blog about #BuildAnAppIn1Week Day 1 : Let’s shape the app!, their advice is to be simple, build great user experiences with tools like Pttrns, create mockups in pen & paper and POP, and design the user interface in Sketch.

Flappy Bird – you know the story of the iconic app that became a mainstream success, but do you know it was built in Unity in only 2 or 3 days? Now, with tools like Appcooker.com, you can make rapid prototypes and mock up your own version of Flappy Bird or other games. To get you started, here are resources we found to make a Flappy Bird Prototype in 50 Minutes without coding with Unity and PlayMaker.

Fam – an app which securely backs up your contacts to the cloud, took only 1 week to build the initial version of its iOS app and its website and generated hundreds of downloads and dozens of subscriptions in less than week. It’s founders, including ProtoHack attendee Marco Vanossi, built the wireframes in Balsamiq and designed the app using Photoshop and modifying screenshots from its competitors.

While you’re having all that fun prototyping, don’t forget to plan your pre-launch party! Here’s a great resource for pre-launch marketing your eCommerce app.

Good luck, and be sure to tweet us your success stories @protohack!

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