Interview with iCrowdApps – Get Paid for your App Ideas

In the past, we’ve posted several iPhone development articles that ranged from learning how to get started with iOS programming, or for those who are allergic to coding, finding that right developer for that app project. But what if you neither want to become an iPhone developer or have the need to hire a dev to create an app? What if you simply have an idea that you want turned into quick and easy cash?

This is where iCrowdApps come into play. Fairly new to the iDevice arena, this small team of individuals want your brilliant app ideas and they’re willing to pay you $500 for simply submitting them. Of course, they won’t just pay you for any idea; they have to be something that truly stands out and potentially worth investing their time and money in. And recently, Ted Kao from iCrowdapps was nice enough to join me in a Q&A for TMA readers and give us a little more insight into his company.

Can you tell us a little about iCrowdApps? How did you come about the name and what inspired you to pay iOS users for their ideas?

We were a couple of guys literally sitting around a hotel lobby deciding we wanted to get into mobile app development.  We pitched probably 15 or 20 ideas to each other when it really dawned on us that anyone who loves their iPhone probably has great ideas.  We started to float this to our friends and family who, of course, all said it would be nice if there was an app for xyz.  I’ve always loved the concept of crowdsourcing as the internet has truly leveled the ability for anyone to share their thoughts and ideas so we basically decided to source the ideas directly from iPhone users.  Our name is a combination of 3 components.  1) i – stands for our customers 2) crowd – is the driving force behind our company and is at the heart of what we do 3) apps – stands for our products.  Essentially, our name defines who we are as a company along with what we create for our products.

$500 for an app idea seems like easy cash for someone who’s got plenty of bright ideas. Have you had many submissions so far?

It definitely is easy money! All you need to do is spend 5 minutes via our website or our Genius App and we will take it from there.  We’ve actually received a pretty large number of ideas and many that are very good.  We’ve also had a couple of super fans who’ve submitted 10 or more ideas.  We love those guys a lot.  We’ve gotten enough ideas that we’re looking for another 1-2 iOS developer to join us, so let us know if your interested so we can build more apps!

How many ideas have you approved so far and what are they? Are they currently in development?

We launched in September of this year and we’ve awarded one winner thus far.  We are hard at work developing the app now, so look for it around the end of January.  We are on the cusp of selecting between 1-3 more ideas for development soon.

How long does one have to wait once they’ve submitted an idea before finding out whether its been accepted?

One of our driving principals is business integrity and prompt response to our customers.  While we give ourselves 60 days to approve an idea legally, we will try to get back to an idea submitter within 21 days if not sooner.  We want to keep an open dialog with our idea submitters so we do try to make quick decisions for the most part.

What are some of the craziest/funniest ideas you’ve received so far?

One idea that came to us was an app that would unlock all of the apps within iTunes for free.  I’m not sure Apple would be ok with that one.  Another idea that was pretty wild was to have different characters and when you squeeze an area, goo would come oozing out.  That one was pretty wild and probably wasn’t up our alley.

What areas and aspects do you look at and how exactly do you decide which ideas will go into development?

We want to make great apps that either make people’s lives more productive, efficient, or just more fun.  At a high level, that’s all we are looking for.  However, if an app has been made for the 15th time, we would probably pass on it.

How much will you invest in an idea and what’s the cost that goes into developing the app?

Each app can have a development cycle of 3 months to potentially a year and the number of developers may vary.  We use our real dollars and time to develop the apps that we select, so the investment can be very significant. As such we have to pick the right ideas and execute them well.

If someone has a killer idea and they feel that it’s worth much more than just $500, can they partner with iCrowdApps to create the app and work out an alternative deal?

Absolutely, we tell people that in our FAQs.  If you’re willing to also take on at least some of the risk, then we can share in the rewards together.  It only makes sense and is very reasonable to us.  Of course we’d also need to think that it is in fact a great idea before we decide to co-invest.

Do you accept ideas for games as well, or is it only for apps?

We do accept game ideas and in fact, I’d say that about 20% of the ideas we’ve gotten are for games.  We’ve gone to final review for 1-2 games but have not selected one for development yet. We do however, generally shy away from them as games typically have some fairly unique skill-sets that are not part of our experience.  That being said, who am I to turn away the next Angry Birds idea!

Why did you choose the iDevice platform? Do you plan on expanding to the Android and Blackberry markets din the future?

We picked the iPhone/iPad platform because of the passion people have for their products.  People absolutely love their iPhones and iPads.  They can’t wait to show them to you and share their favorite apps.  In fact, I was in Asia recently and saw iPhones and iPads all over Taiwan, Philippines, and Hong Kong.  There were 3 iPads in viewable distance on my flight from Taiwan to Hong Kong.  Here in the U.S., we probably see about a 10 to 1 ratio in terms of iPhone to Android.  We will look at the Android market next but haven’t really evaluated the Blackberry since I’m not sure what they are doing with their OS going forward as its in a state of flux.

Do you develop apps in house or are projects outsourced to other developers depending on what needs to be done?

We have our own in-house team who are all rockstars!

What are some of your favorite apps and games on the iPhone?

Obviously, I love Angry Birds since I blogged about it recently.  I use Awesome Note everyday to track different task lists.  I use Cozi with my wife to share our todos and shopping lists.  In fact, we nearly started developing something like it until we discovered Cozi during our research and loved it enough to say that they win.  I also like mSecure for securing some sensitive personal data.

Quickly, what are your thoughts on Jailbreaking? Is your iPhone/iPad jailbroken?

Our team’s iOS devices are all not jailbroken.  I think jailbreaking is really up to the individual to decide if it’s right for them.  You definitely should understand the risks if you go that route.  There are times when a cool jailbroken app that won’t be coming to the App Store ends up on Cydia that I want, but I’ll stick with the overall Apple experience as a consumer.  I think they do a very good job overall even if they are pretty tight on controlling the OS in general.

Any parting words you want to share with our readers?

We want your users to know that, above all, we believe in 100% ethical business practices.  There are rumors that some of our competitors “steal” ideas but I can tell you that the first time we do that, we will shut our doors.   Combined, our team has 35 – 40 years in the technology and business world and have seen first hand how world class organizations operate as well as those that take short cuts.  On the web, our integrity means everything so we hope to earn your trust for the long haul.  Oh, and please, send us your ideas and maybe you can get paid!

Well that’s a wrap folks. Many thanks to Ted once again for taking the time to answer our questions…and good luck to all those who send in their app ideas!

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