Categories: Business / Mobile Apps


Mobile app startups are highly represented among the booming startup scene. But for every 10x “unicorn”, there are thousands of startups that don’t make the grade. Of these, some grow but fail to become profitable. Others struggle with growth and demand. And plenty more fail to even get off the ground.

Here are the main reasons mobile app startups fail – and what to do to avoid becoming a statistic.

Your app doesn’t stand out.

Mobile app startups need more than a big idea.

Mobile app startups need more than a big idea.

It’s a crowded landscape out there. Users have already built loyalties with apps in most verticals, so chances are you’ll be asking a user to switch to your app. You need to give users a compelling reason to make that switch. What do you do that others don’t? What problems are you solving, and why is your way the best way? An app that doesn’t stand out won’t go far.

Your business model is questionable.

Before building your app, you need to figure out how to monetize it. Hoping a VC will swoop in and buy you out isn’t the answer. Nor is offering a freemium model that you hope will switch seamlessly to a paid version. Figure out exactly how your app will make money (or how it will support the rest of your business). Keep in mind costs associated with scaling – staffing, marketing and server costs will all go up.

You don’t know your vertical.

Too often a founder will see a need in a space that’s not their area of expertise and will forge ahead with a mobile app solution. But having the technical knowledge is just one part of the startup puzzle. Knowing your vertical is crucial. If you’re not a subject matter expert, be sure to bring one on board to confirm that you’re solving the right problems the right way.

You lack leadership and/or vision.

Is your mobile app startup supported by the right business minds?

Is your mobile app startup supported by the right business minds?

Startups are often helmed by one passionate individual with a clear-eyed vision for a project. But having a vision for a product and a vision for the business aren’t the same thing. There’s a reason you’ll see leadership changeovers with startups of a certain size. Ensure that your startup is headed up by people with business minds – and that you have a plan for communicating your company vision as you grow.

You have design and/or experience issues.

User experience is the crux of it all. Mobile app startups that don’t deliver on user expectations and needs fight an uphill battle. Ensure that your app is easy to use, meets user needs – and is updated frequently with new features or bug fixes. You can have the best idea in the world, but if it’s not intuitive, it won’t be a hit.

You underestimated your budget and/or runway.

Mobile app startups take time and money. Even launching with an MVP is a significant undertaking. And from there you’ll need to expand your app, make adjustments based on user feedback, and keep it updated. Failing to budget for ongoing maintenance and support can mean financial undoing for your startup.

We specialize in helping mobile app startups launch, grow and scale. Our “4D” process takes into account both the tech and business side of things – ensuring that your app hits the mark in the App Store. If you’re building a mobile app and want to avoid the pitfalls above, drop us a line!



If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it using the buttons below.

Touchtap is a digital agency specializing in mobile-first development.We can build your mobile app for you.

Back to Posts