Developing a hunting app: from the idea to our first customers

Opinions, Technology
July 25, 2023

For those who don’t know, last week we released our App “Huntsquad” on both the Google Play Store and the App Store. The release took almost a year and four people to make it possible.

Even though I’ve worked in the tech industry for ten years, developing a hunting app is quite an adventure and a challenge.

Let me tell you the story of these last months developing a hunting app.

The beginning

The idea of Huntsquad came from the fact that during one of my last driven hunts in France, I got pretty frustrated by not knowing about my environment and the status of the hunt. Back home, I decided to explore a way to improve that type of hunt. After some discussion with other hunters, it was pretty obvious that we needed an app that would improve our communication.

The main concept was pretty clear but it needed to be tested. I had the chance to work as a coach for Genilem a few years ago and they’re the perfect people to present and test a concept. I also asked the help of Cimark here in Wallis. Both of them took the time to listen to my presentation and to challenge me.

Validation is a key step to go from an idea to a real company. It was also important to me to know whether this concept would be validated or not by non-hunters. Having the non-hunter perspective is essential if we want to pivot during the process and to have a “neutral” opinion on the concept itself.

With them validating the concept and the sales strategy, I was ready to go to the next step.

The team

Developing this kind of project is not a one-person job.

If you want your company to be successful, you need talented people to help you. I first started to look at a developer as they’re the hardest to find. After a discussion with one of my ex-associates, I took the decision to contact a developer that I’d worked with a year ago. To be honest, I had no idea if he would be interested in the project or not. I presented the concept and he told me that it could be pretty interesting to develop (though he probably won’t say the same now). Developing a mobile App wasn’t his main area, as he’s more into web apps, but I think in that moment he saw  it as a great intellectual challenge.

Now that I had found a developer, I was ready to start the project. My role was to take care of the product owner job, marketing, sales, and admin. To be honest, I quickly realized that it was too much. So I decided to ask my girlfriend who is a marketing specialist to join the team. At the same time, I remembered the advice I’d received from a tech entrepreneur saying if you ever make an app, put all your efforts into design (UI and UX). Knowing that, I also contacted an ex-co-worker Loredana. I love to work with her because she understands me (which isn’t always simple).

The team was ready so we started the creation process.

The tech

Let’s go straight to the point, building an App is a pain in the ass. The reason is simple: you need to deal with the stores. I remember the time when I was waiting for Google to debug our Google Play Console which wasn’t running because our account was set up as an “individual account” and our payment account was set up as a “business account”. We lost an entire month of work because of this ****. Remember also that at this time Google fired thousands of employees. The support team wasn’t reactive at all.

A big decision we took was also to go from Supabase to our own server. During the beta testing, we realized that Supabase wasn’t adapted to deal with the geolocation requests from our app. It was the perfect solution to create a prototype but not to create a sellable version of our product.

This kind of ascertainment is possible only if you take the time to propose a beta version of the app. Sixty hunters took time to test the App and send us feedback. Thanks to them, the app is now better than ever.

If you’re interested to have our developer’s perceptive, Michał wrote a post on Linkedin about it.

The release

Releasing an app is a great source of stress and joy. This mixed feeling comes from the fact that you’re happy to share your work with everybody but at the same time, you know that is when the real problems will come.

In my previous companies, the period before the release was my favorite. During this period, you have time to think. When you have customers, your time squeezes as you have to deal with all the problems that come.

Knowing that makes me quite nervous. But in the end, the release of the first build of the app was quite easy. The App did have bugs but in the end, the main features were working.

You have to understand that developing an app is complicated because you have to deal with two operating systems (Android and iOS) that are installed on a lot of different devices.
Even if you use emulators, you never know how the app will work on a certain device.

I had the case that the app was working on my phone (a Pixel 7) but not on my friend’s iPhone. The reason was that the app store didn’t push the latest build of the app on the store. This is the kind of problem you don’t have when you build a web app.

The next step

It has been one week since the release and we’re still correcting and testing the app to be sure that everyone will have the best experience. We’ll also implement a new feature that wasn’t planned for this version of the app (it’s a surprise). Our next steps are to re-code our website to be more efficient and to create all the tools we need to manage users like dashboards.

Now, the most important part is to sell the app.

We are still improving and testing our “in-app” purchasing process to offer our users the best experience in their first five minutes in the app. Regarding sales, we’re testing different approaches like Google Ads and advertising in hunting magazines.

Our objective is to be fully prepared for the end of August. After that, we’ll concentrate on a new version of the app that will not be only for hunters.

Developing technology is always a cycle, you analyze, develop, implement, test, and start the cycle again and again.

“The development of a hunting app presents a unique opportunity to merge tradition with technology, enriching the hunting experience for enthusiasts around the globe. By understanding the needs of the target audience, incorporating essential features, ensuring data accuracy, prioritizing user experience, and maintaining a strong focus on security and privacy, developers can create a valuable tool that revolutionizes the way hunters approach their passion.”
François Bonvin – Co-founder

With responsible development and thoughtful execution, Huntsquad can become an indispensable companion for hunters, while promoting safe and responsible hunting practices during group hunting.

Don’t hesitate to download the app to enjoy a free trial of 7 days.

Pour la version podcast en français, voici le lien

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