Stay Safe: COVID-19 App Team 32 Leon Nasehi, Bruce He, Grace Tse
Firstly, we would prefer to get funding before we purchase any of the higher-level hardware components such as the server. We would pitch our idea to investors, with focus on accelerators and government sanctioned loan agencies. There runs a risk that we don’t get any funding, which means that we can’t build the app to handle large scale requests. If this happens, we plan to buy a small server - out of pocket - to handle a smaller number of requests until we can afford to purchase a larger server with the ad revenue we earn (this is further detailed in the financial section).
Once we get funding for the necessary hardware components to deploy a large-scale application, we’ll put the app on the market. However, we run the risk of our application being denied for sale on one or more of our target marketplaces. In order to avoid this, we plan on carefully reviewing the submission guidelines for each app store to ensure that our application meets all the requirements.
Once we get enough users and funding to begin paying back the loan (if one is taken out), we will appeal to the government for a potential partnership. This way we can get more funding for marketing and assist in the government in mitigating the spread of COVID 19. We run the risk of the app not having very many users, thus making it difficult to gain a platform to negotiate with the government. In order to avoid this, we plan on running vigorous marketing campaigns on various social media platforms to gain awareness.
We plan to keep the app running until COVID 19 is no longer a threat, or until a vaccine is made available (or both).
Our app does not need to store very much information as most of the data we need is retrieved by various api’s, and we do not hold user data. However, since we do plan on having the app used by lots of people we’ll need a server to handle large-scale-requests. For this, we plan on using a server hosted by ServerMania, containing a Dual Intel Xeon E5-2680v2, 20x2.8 Ghz which will have more than enough power to handle the technological demands of our app. This server comes out to about $179 a month. We will also be using Google’s geolocation and geocoding api for each request, which comes out to a total of $10 per 1000 requests. So the monthly operating cost for the hardware needed will be $179 + 10*(n/1000), with n being the number of requests per month.
For the short term, we plan on applying to Wetsern’s - or whoever finds our idea to be worth taking - accelerator’s program. That way we can get enough funding to pay for the upfront costs of the hardware needed and accelerate the application’s development while having access to various mentorship opportunities to expand our own skillset.
While an accelerator is an ideal way to secure short term funding, it is somewhat unrealistic as the average acceptance rate hovers around 1-3%. Another way we plan to secure funding is through Futurpreneur Canada’s loan program, where they offer up to $20,000 in loans to young entrepreneurs aged 18 - 39. If finding outside sources of capital does not work out, we can attempt to take a small loan from a bank as our operating costs will likely be less than $1,500 a month, assuming we have less than 130,000 monthly requests.
Since our app directly depends on the impact of COVID-19, its relevance will only continue as long as COVID-19 is still a threat. With this in mind, our long term financial projections will only concern the first two years after the app’s deployment. We plan on having two main revenue streams: ads and government funding. However, we're only taking the former into account, as it's a much more realistic source of revenue. According to IronSource.com, the average revenue per impression is CDN $0.02. Assuming we have 130,000 users per month and have ads on ⅓ of the requests, we can see $8,000 in revenue, which exceeds the operating costs of about $1479 for those numbers of requests.
Additionally, we can apply to receive government funding as were helping curb the spread of COVID-19, which will help alleviate the burden on the government. Once again, this option is slightly unrealistic as we’ll have to prove that the app is established and reliable.
Product: COVID-19 information, tracking, and ranking app
Place: Canada (starting in Ontario), available on all major app stores (Google Play, IOS app store, Microsoft Store)
Promotion: Social media, word-of-mouth, and partnering with the government
Price: Free for download and no subscription fee
Our target market are individuals of all ages, but specifically to teenagers, young adults, adults, and the elderly. These individuals should run errands for their families, so they have to be safe. We also want to especially appeal to people who don't check the news very often, but desire to access all the COVID related information that pertains to their daily life. Specifically, individuals may have accessibility issues, have less amount of time, and a low attention span.
In terms of competition, there is no identical app like ours on the market. Other COVID related apps are usually contact tracing apps, or simple information apps such as COVID Alert and Coronavirus COVID Tracker.
Factors Political: Government does not want to partner with us because we are competition to their tracking app
Economic: Little to no impact on economic aspects as the app is free for users and require technical labour to maintain
Social: All income, individuals, families
Technological: API, server