The app story of Dixit Patel, an indie app developer from Chicago, United States whose company get-together sparked an idea for an innovative app to make exchanging contacts easier – EasyConnect. Learn how he got his app featured by Apple in South Korea and used that formula to develop 3 apps in a week, all of which were featured by Apple.
Tell us about yourself and what are you working on?
Hi, my name is Dixit Patel, a passionate app developer based out of Chicago. I work on innovative ideas to make technology easier for users. I am currently working on my app EasyConnect.
Almost half a decade back, I built a Facebook page covering latest technology and its advancements. My efforts paid off and the FB page became quite popular, giving a head start to my entrepreneurial journey.
Along with my Masters degree, I worked upon my ideas and laid the foundation stone to my first company Genius Techs in 2014.
Genius Techs had a global clientele of websites as well android apps. One of my company’s apps – Smart Flashlight was among the Top 250 free apps on app store.
I developed and launched 3 apps in 1 week and they all got featured by Apple in 153 countries:
For now, I have come up with an app EasyConnect. It allows you to exchange contacts between one another with a swift click by scanning a QR code. Thereby scrapping out hectic, time consuming and error prone methods.
Apart from the above, it has the following features:
- Cloud backup
- GPS imprint of point of contact exchange
- User number update
How did you come up with the idea to build your app?
It is said that social interactions nurture creativity and I had a personal experience with it.
One fine evening during a company get together, I and my colleagues were relishing the musical ambiance and food at an office party.
Someone brought the Snapchat app into the discussion and I observed its customised QR code scanning feature to connect with friends.
I was bewildered with the technology that needed no username and no phone number. You can just do a scan and voila, it’s done.
Earlier, I had faced difficulty exchanging contacts with various company delegates. I had a hunch that other people would be facing this problem as well.
It was then that I made up my mind to use a similar technology to simplify the process.
What was your strategy for app idea validation? Tell us more about it.
Intense market research! I researched the app store and found out an app named Bump with 125 million downloads. Using bump one can easily share contact when you bump into a friend.
In 2011, it was #8 on Apple’s list of all-time most popular free iPhone apps.
In 2014, Google bought that app and it was withdrawn from the app store. That team was then directed towards Google Photos.
I sensed this as an opportunity and focussed myself fully to target those 125 million users.
How did you go about developing your app? What was your MVP?
Where there is will there is a way. When I started working on this app, I was a certified JAVA developer but had no experience with iOS.
But as my teacher used to say, learning never goes in vain. I started utilizing my experience of developing apps based on JAVA to learn iOS development schemes.
I also learned about QR codes and how they stored information. Further, I studied about data processing cycles and developed beautiful QR codes of my own.
It took around 4-6 months to develop cool-looking QR codes and then I progressed to other components of the application.
Did you hire a designer for your app? Or you did it yourself using some tools?
I did hire a designer to reduce my workload. He understood my requirements well and designed the app logo, gifs, screenshots and icons within the app.
Although I had a designer, complete set of wireframes, screens, animations, and transitions were created by me.
Talking about tools? I didn’t use any. Instead, I drew wireframes on paper and transformed them into XCode.
Your app got featured in the App Store in Korea. How did you go about app marketing?
I wanted my app to be featured by Apple and kept that in mind while building the app. It took roughly 1 year to develop the application starting from July 2016 to the app launch on 29th May 2017.
Half of that time was spent on doing research and coming up with a beautiful QR code.
In order to be featured by Apple, I included the following features in my application:
- 3D Touch
- Haptic response
- Apple Watch App
- Localization in 30+ languages
- Localized app description, keywords and screenshots
- iPhone and iPad app
Post-launch I released an update every month to fix bugs and that helped me get better ranking with time.
Below you can see the number of Apple features. The axis on the left represents the total number of Apple features including different countries and platforms (iPad and iPhone).
How will your app EasyConnect make money in future? Do you have any monetization strategies in the pipeline?
The app is currently free without any ads. I want to first build my user base and then focus on monetization.
One thing for sure is that I will not go with Google ads, iAds or other available ad-monetization platforms.
There are plenty of sources of earning but I am looking at something specific. Most of the contact exchange takes place in coffee shops, pubs, and restaurants. Also, a lot of these places do not have a reward points system.
I want to kill these 2 birds with one stone. My EasyConnect app will have an in-built rewards point functionality for restaurants. So, instead of keeping different reward cards you can just use one app to keep track of all reward points for different restaurants.
Once I have enough transactions, the app can be monetized using advertising from restaurants and by offering user analytics to restaurants.
What’s next for you?
1 million app downloads! That’s my target and I work every single day towards it.
After getting the app featured in South Korea, I want to target app features in more countries.
What’s your advice for app disciples who are just starting out?
I would like to congratulate them for working towards their own ideas. I have the following piece of advice.
Firstly, develop your own app instead of hiring a freelancer as its troublesome and time-consuming. Freelancers are also costly and move out once a project is done.
But you would need to update your app consistently. Many appreneurs focus on only getting out the first version of the app. But in my opinion, updates are more important to get your app featured.
Learn something tough, so that when you face difficulty you would be ready. If you have had enough practice fighting mini battles, you would be well prepared to take on the war of being an app entrepreneur.
Where can we go to learn more about you?
Our website at EasyConnect would always keep you updated about my learning and experiences with my app. You can also find me on LinkedIn. It’s the same platform I made most of my business connections and went out to share ideas.
What tools/books do you find indispensable for your app business?
Books and tools are important but those aren’t an indispensable part of my app business. What matters to me is how focused I am towards my vision.