My First App

I will be blogging about my journey as an entrepreneur to look back on and relive my journey.

By AJ Picard — Founder of Chad

It was 2014 and I was a senior at Cabrini College really enjoying life. I was playing on the basketball where we were succeeding and I was excited to graduate in May to get my career started.

It was fall of 2013 and I was thinking to myself, what am I going to do after basketball? (I ended up breaking my foot in January, 2014 and it ended my season. I really wanted to play overseas and with this injury I had to wait a whole year to try out again, I wasn’t healthy until November of 2014. I ended up trying out the following year for many teams overseas and unfortunately didn’t make it. Plus I was focused on the app I created and wanted to start making money, ok I’m done with side story).

My mother owns her own health insurance business and her partner at the time also owned her own furniture company. Growing up watching all of this inspired me to want to become an Entrepreneur. Other than playing basketball my whole life I was also a HUGE gamer and in September of 2013, I took my first step into creating my own app.

The app was called “iGames” and it helped gamers find new video games to play. It shows games “Coming Soon”, “New Releases” and “Trending” games inside of the app. When I thought of the idea I figured it would be GREAT to start this with one of my best friends (I highly suggest thinking about a decision like this, for me it was the wrong decision… you find out later). I reached out to one of my good friends Jimmy.

Here are some reasons why I reached out to him:

  • Very Intelligent

I pitched the idea with Jim and he was on board, I gave him 30% percent of the company. Before I knew it within a month we had all our agreements completed and we were moving onto the next step.

The Beginning…

Jim and I started to meet on a regular basis to breakdown how we want the app to look at but also how we want it to function. Couldn’t tell you many iPhone templates we went through and how much paper we wasted reiterating our designs.

After a couple of weeks we had everything completed and were then faced with two other road blocks:

  1. Who is developing iGames?

Jim was able to find a website called <Guru.com> which allowed us to post about our idea and have developers apply to work on it. Within one day we had over 300 applicants to develop iGames, each day we looked at each applicant and either marked them off or saved them to review later. Couple of days go by and we had our top picks to choose from, we narrowed it down to one firm in England. The reason chose them were due to their past projects that they worked on. The next step was to receive a quote on how much this whole thing would cost…

The firm came back to us with a number around $25,000, currently out of college Jim and I clearly didn’t have this type of money. So we decided to go to our family’s to see if we could raise the necessary funds, Jim had no luck but I was able to get some traction from my mother after I pitched her our idea and broke down our business plan.

January 2014 quickly came around and we both were excited to have the funds to get this project started. We gave the development company the necessary funds to start the project, they decided to bill us on an hourly basis (at the time we didn’t really care how they were billing us as long as they started building the app), they informed us that the app would be completed in May which is about 5 months of development. Jim and I started to find review sites that we could contact so that we were ready to really promote iGames.

5 months later…

May came around and we had no app, mainly due to the road blocks we faced. For one Jim and I didn’t have a legit resource we could use that would push the database of games we needed into the app, we actually told the development team we would put each game in one by one. They actually laughed at us and said it would take you months to complete that especially with how much information you’re looking to put into iGames. Jim and I and the development team searched for weeks to find a legit resource and that’s where we came across <TheGamesDB.net>. This was an open source website that anyone can go on and add games, we used this site to populate iGames with the content we needed for gamers to discover new video games to play.

The team coded the app to pull information from the website everyday at 9:00 PM so that it constantly was adding new content. As we were testing the app we were getting so excited because it was finally coming to life, August finally came around and on the 28th iGames was released into the App Store.

iGames & EyeGames Logo

As time went on we were receiving some significant downloads, around 350 on the first day. It was exciting to know that people were actually using the app, as the downloads started to decrease so did Jim’s motivation. He was putting in less and less effort to help bring this idea to life, we ended up going our separate ways in the following months.

This is why you need to make sure that know who you decided to partner with in business that their as committed as you, because when times get rough… it will show.

If things couldn’t get any worse within a year I received a notice that I was being sued for my name. My mom hired a lawyer to appeal the application which costs us thousands of dollars in the end and we ended up having to change the name anyway. Instead of iGames we transformed into EyeGames. A company in California trademarked the name iGames (not sure how Apple didn’t beat them to it), this company holds gaming conventions through out California. I thought EyeGames would get them off my back but it didn’t they came at me harder, threatening to take the app off the App Store. After a couple more thousand dollars we agreed that the name GamingU was ok to use.

GamingU Logo

I pursued this idea on my own for the next three years, self funded through my full time job and I was using a free lance developer to make the necessary changes. I was hustling, getting around 6 hours of sleep a night, pushing content on our Instagram which was growing, tweeting at gamers on Twitter to get them to download and test the app, going to gaming conventions in San Diego and Boston to spread the word about GamingU.

I was really starting to build an audience, but the money was drying up and I couldn’t commit the time to keep up to date with the gaming industry. GamingU has multiple bugs and now Apple was threatening to take the app down due to my in app store that broke policy guidelines. In spring of 2017 I decided to stop working on GamingU and instead take a couple months off to learn more about business and how to get a startup off the ground.

I wish I did this sooner than later.

Over the next few months I learned what Accelerators/Incubators were, I found out what Angel Investors were and Venture Capitalists. The biggest regret I had was not knowing this information, I could have been applying to Accelerators and VC’s in hopes of raising funds to take GamingU to the next level. I had the two hardest requirements completed, product was live and I had traction. These two requirements are what I’m having trouble completing with Chad.

I believe everything happens for a reason and that I wasn’t suppose to continue to work on GamingU. I learned a lot about app development over the three years, which has helped not make those same mistakes again. I’m looking forward to developing Chad and raising our seed round as well.

If anybody knows any developers that can code in Swift or React Native drop a comment below or email us here: Sales@ContactChad.com

If you know any VC’s or Angel Investors personally, I would be honored to receive a warm intro!

Thanks again for reading this article stay tuned for another one (DJ Khalid voice).

AJ Picard

founder of Chad

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AJ Picard

UI/UX Designer who loves designing and building products. Currently scaling ZoZo App.