App Startup Experts - From Funding to Fruition

We aren't just app developers - we are a full team of app startup experts who know how to get your app idea off the ground - from planning, to funding, to development. We don't just develop your app; we help you define and refine your ideas, give you what you need to pitch it to investors, help you plan out your minimal viable product, and give you all the tools you need to bring your app idea to life. 

There are millions of developers out there who can build an app. However, if you're looking for a team that can really help you build a successful app startup, look no further than ThinkLions. 

 
$10,000+
 
$25 - $49 / hr
 
10 - 49
 
Undisclosed
Show all +
Oak Park, MI
headquarters
  • Oak Park, MI 48237
    United States

Portfolio

The Beer Exchange App

TheBeerExchange.io wanted an awesome app that would allow users to buy beer and have it shipped to their door, trade for rare beer, and manage their personal beer cellar. ThinkLions delivered an awesome app that serves over 25,000 users in an uber niche market, today. 

Pocket Parties App

Pocket Parties wanted to create an app that made it easy for party planners to streamline their services. ThinkLions created a wireframe, designed the application and built a fully functional app on both the iOS and Android platforms. 

Dynaleski - Minimal Viable Product

Dynaleski had an idea for an app and wanted to launch a minimal viable product to bring on new customers for their on-demand luxury transportation service. ThinkLions helped them wireframe and design the idea and create an awesome prototype to help them find the app investors needed to build out the rest of the functionality on their application. 

AURA - App Development

Aura approached us with an extremely complex idea that allowed individuals to follow live TV with their mobile phones using OCR functionality. ThinkLions delivered a functional product on both iOS and Android platforms. 

MinorSociety App Design

MinorSociety came to us to design and develop a music-lesson social media app where users could exchange instrument information. We started with a wireframe and then transformed the wireframe into an intuitive design that made development super simple. 

Reviews

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Website Platform for Custom-Fitted Suits Company

“It’s useful to me to have someone that I can explain to, they get the vision, and they can get something done from it.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Feb. 2016 - Sep. 2016
Project summary: 

THINKLIONS developed an e-commerce platform on Magento integrating complicated features like 3D models.

 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New York, New York
Emmanuel Fombu
Owner, Yves Couture
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The client received positive user feedback through a recent survey on the platform’s design and ease of use. Client satisfaction is high both with the product and the team’s responsive, attentive approach.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CEO of an online clothing company. I'm a surgeon for a living but I'm also 6'5". I couldn't get clothes that fit me. I started my own company in Thailand and Italy. I fly fabrics from Italy to Thailand and I have a factory that makes suits and shirts for men. I have contracts with business schools for their students to get made-to-order shirts and suits.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with THINKLIONS?

I needed an online interface where you can select your own fabric and design your own shirts so that they're made to order.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They built a platform with Magento that allows users to select specific garments that update onto a 3D model. The user can make a design in real-time.

I was originally working with them on a business plan and then found out they had a team of software engineers. They helped me throughout the process. We looked at different options on how best to do it. They gave me good guidance on the functionality, the design, and the features. I didn’t want everything upfront because I was financing it myself so we discussed what features I could launch with and those that I could delay for later.

What is the team composition?

The co-founder was my main go-to contact. I would talk to him and he would pull the team together.

How did you come to work with THINKLIONS?

My sister worked with them when she started a company. When I was looking at starting my own company, she referred them to me.

How much have you invested with them?

It was close to $20,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together from February to September 2016.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

I did a survey for the platform in terms of design, ease of use. I received about 92% satisfactory responses.

I have my regular job that I do. I needed a platform that makes sure that, when orders come in, they go straight to the factory. The factory makes the clothes and then ships them directly. The market is very targeted at particular schools that I have contracts with. I just need the measurement to go into the platform and I don't have to bother with it. Everything is smooth. That's exactly what I wanted so that I can run the whole company without necessarily having a lot of time to do so. I just check in. Without this, I wouldn't be able to do it.

How did THINKLIONS perform from a project management standpoint?

We communicated via Slack, phone calls, Skype, and text messaging. They would propose options to me on Slack through screenshots.

The co-founder is fantastic. I spent a lot of time talking with him and, even though I haven't met him in person, I feel like I know him. There was a point when I wanted to hire him to work for the company. He's very available, he gets it. He managed all the different teams around the world. He's on top of things.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Cost-wise I think they're pretty fair for what they charge and what they deliver. The project we were trying to build was a pretty complicated one with the 3D models—and they pulled it through. I had 4 other websites with key features with different ones that I wanted to put together on mine. This was advanced technology. The companies I was going against are multimillion dollar corporations with huge R&D budgets. They were able to create this for me on a $20,000 budget. I’m definitely very happy with them.

I’ve referred a couple of friends to THINKLIONS because the co-founder responds to me so quickly. He’d push me to implement a measure when we needed to go forward. He has a vision so when I would speak to him, he’d spent time to understand what I wanted and give that to the team to do. In the past I had reached out to people that, when I explained what I wanted, built something different. It’s useful to me to have someone that I can explain to, they get the vision, and they can get something done from it.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Probably have more availability in the daytime. I think the team is in India so the hours are different. I'm a night owl so the hours worked out for me. But I think it would be better having more flexible hours for the US consumer.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Brainstorm and then prioritize all the features that you want. I learned a lot from doing this. At first, I wanted every single thing in the first version. Talk to the team that you’re working with and discuss what your vision is. Have a phased approach for it and let the team lead it.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    I think it'd be helpful to have more friendly hours.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Most of my competitors have huge teams in marketing, development, new IP. But I could build a platform for a fraction of the cost. It's a bargain.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Everything was delivered in a timely manner and quality was usually better than what I expected.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I've actually referred people, and I was referred to them by the someone else.

WordPress Development For Consulting Company

"They were efficient, thorough, completely transparent, and easy to work with."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
 
Sept. - Sept. 2017
Project summary: 

THINKLIONS designed, developed, and launched a new website on the WordPress platform. They were responsible for all coding and configuration of new features. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Richmond, Virginia
Karen Carraway
Project Coordinator, BKB Properties
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The new website launched on time, functioned well, and attracted new customers and sales. THINKLIONS managed the project capably and communicated clearly about expectations and progress. Their transparency, meticulous organization, and technical competence set them apart.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your company and your position there.

We are a self-storage consulting company that conducts feasibility studies for developers who want to build, own, and operate self-storage businesses through out the United States.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

For what projects/services did your company hire THINKLIONS?

We needed them to code our new website design on the WordPress platform.

What were your goals for this project?

Our goals were to improve the overall functionality of our website while implementing a new design.

SOLUTION

How did you select this vendor?

We found them through 99designs. 

Describe the project in detail.

They coded, configured, and launched our new company website. Through a combined bidding and discovery process, everyone involved reached an understanding about the project's goals, needs, and deliverables. 

We then provided their developers with completed website designs and documents so that they could begin coding the new site. They set up a staging environment so we could quickly view, approve, or edit during the development process.

What was the team composition?

The project team had maybe three to four people.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What outcomes or results can you share that demonstrate progress and/or success?

Our website was developed and launched ahead of schedule. The improved functionality of the new site has enabled us to better track prospective clients for follow-up and sales.

How effective was the project management?

Their project management was fantastic. All our communication was open and responsive, whether they were providing project updates or confirming specific website features. They were efficient, thorough, completely transparent, and easy to work with.

What did you find most impressive about this company?

At the risk of sounding too broad, everything about them is impressive. However, their ability to follow through and establish trust come to mind. That trust is extremely important when working with a remote vendor. We needed to know that they would not only complete the project to our expectations, but also successfully execute and launch it. 

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Training Web Platform for Plumbing Contractors

“Their responsiveness was fantastic… [and] the quality control factor was unexpected.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
Aug. 2016 - Oct. 2016
Project summary: 

ThinkLions supported a training platform for HVAC and plumbing contractors through an initial build and subsequent extension. Using a LAMP stack, the framework was constructed through Yii for expediency.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Burlington, Vermont
Andrew Allen
Owner, ilovermont.com LLC
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Even with a change in scope, ThinkLions helped the project come in underbudget, with no reported bugs or problems. Their effectiveness and communication led to a useful tool for customer engagement.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the owner of ilovermont.com, a consulting company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with ThinkLions?

We needed to build a training platform for HVAC and plumbing contractors to improve the way they run their businesses for increased effectiveness and profitability. We had a very short timeframe to turn the concept into a working dashboard that we could deliver to our customers.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They started with us during the design phase, evolving some of the basic design concepts we had into a working model. Step by step, they executed the development of that platform, with daily feedback. The platform itself is built on a LAMP stack, Linux, MySQL, and PHP. They used a PHP framework called Yii, which allows for rapid development of software applications.

What is the team composition?

We had a project manager we worked with directly, as well as a quality control person and the actual coder. There was at least one architect, a development person, and several other people behind the scenes that we didn’t interact with directly.

How did you come to work with ThinkLions?

I’ve worked with other firms in the past, and have run my own web app development firm. We discovered ThinkLions through a website called 99 Designs. We posted the project there, and they reached out to us. We spoke with some of their previous clients, and found they were within the ballpark of what we were trying to accomplish within the timeframe.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working on the dashboard in August 2016, and the original project was finished that October. The business model changed, and the project was extended for an additional six months. They stayed onboard until the new specifications were completed.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Even with the addition of change orders, they came in within our budget. Among the array of tools for the much larger project we were contributing to, we were the only component to come in on time and underbudget. It’s also the most useful tool for customer engagement. We’ve since handed the project over to our client, but since stability was declared, we haven’t had a single bug or problem reported.

How did ThinkLions perform from a project management standpoint?

Their responsiveness was fantastic. They’re a combination of overseas and U.S. teams, so if I posted during Eastern Standard Time, I usually got a response within the hour. If I posted late in the evening, I usually got responses within minutes.

I was able to communicate effectively with specific roles, depending on what I needed. We started each day with a group meeting to set the daily plan, they the project manager would go do other things while development and quality control did their work. We usually wrapped up the day by going over the results, questions, and challenges we had. We used Slack, email, and sometimes Trello for project management.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The quality control factor was unexpected and fantastic. Our quality control lead found problems with the layout and design before we got to them. Because my team didn’t have to take the extra time to discover issues, she helped us come in underbudget.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We sometimes didn’t connect right away because of issues with jargon. When we went back and clarified things, that helped. It’s easy to assume that a customer has the same viewpoint, but they could do a better job giving context in their communications.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Start with them from the beginning. They’re stronger within their own environment when they can start a project from scratch, and have more success if they’re not taking over an existing project with a lot of development in an existing platform.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They hit the deadlines. Occasionally we had a work session where we didn’t finish what we hoped to, but that’s normal.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    This project could have cost two to three times more had my firm completed it alone.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They produced what they said they would produce, within the timeline they promised.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’d recommend them highly.

Mobile App Dev. for Craft Beer Delivery Platform

"ThinkLions became our technical partner, and was instrumental in the foundation and growth of our end product."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Oct. 2013 – Feb. 2014
Project summary: 

ThinkLions provided development services for a mobile-friendly web app centered around a niche online trading platform and private inventory system, including both implementation and continued maintenance.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
San Francisco, California
Mark Iafrate
Founder, The Beer Exchange
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Their work was efficient and stayed within both budget and deadline. Funneling all work through a project manager allowed them to maximize their workflow and use everyone’s time in the most efficient way possible. The end product has resulted in steady user growth and consistent positive feedback.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am one of the co-founders and CEO of a company called The Beer Exchange, an online craft beer marketplace. Our platform, catered mainly to craft beer enthusiasts, allows customers to engage in beer trading, as well as provides a means for licensed retail vendors to discover new customers and sell directly to them.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with ThinkLions?

Although I am an expert in the craft beer marketplace and I had the idea for the end product – our online platform – I did not have the technical expertise or means to actually build it. The development arena was largely alien to me, even though I already knew the functionality and design that I wanted. So I began searching for dev shops that could make these concepts into reality.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

I provided them with all the information they needed in order to build the end product – the market research, the build requirements, the design specs, feature requests, etcetera. Then I turned all of that over to their team.

The final product is a mobile-friendly web-based app that is divided into two sections: one is an inventory management system for individuals to keep track of their items, and the second is a trading platform. The first part allows individual customization, and the second part relies upon the ability to create tailored profiles and interactive features such as a messaging system.

What is the team composition?

Most of my interactions were with one central project manager. At the beginning of the project, we had between three to five developers working on our team, and as the work continued, they winnowed that down to one or two developers. We preferred to have the same person working on our product whenever possible, to make it easier to understand the code base.

How did you come to work with ThinkLions?

I was referred to them by someone that I knew when I was living in Charlotte, North Carolina, and they introduced me to ThinkLions’ team during the course of advising me on technical concepts.

How much have you invested with them?

We have invested somewhere upwards of US$75,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started development at the end of 2013, we were able to launch the beta program in February 2014, and the maintenance work is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

For us, the most measurable statistic is user growth over time. Between our launch in February 2014 and now, we have grown to somewhere between 27,000 and 28,000 users. Considering our niche audience base, that is steady, significant, linear growth. Our site also has over a hundred thousand page views per month. Our audience – which is roughly the top one percent of craft beer drinkers – loves our product. We often get positive feedback from them on how much of an improvement our platform is to what was available before our launch, as well as its ease of use, its aesthetic appeal, and its problem solution.

How did ThinkLions perform from a project management standpoint?

They were great from a project management standpoint. Having all of my interaction be with the project managers rather than the developers themselves was very effective, because I do not have the technical knowledge necessary to convey specifics about individual tasks or features. Our method was that I would come up with the concept of a solution to a feature or functionality problem, write out the necessary associated requirements, and then I would meet with the project manager to lay out all of the above information. Then they would take that information, translate it to the technical language and/or set of tasks that the developers needed, and begin churning out the actual code. Although sometimes we would communicate via email, we largely kept our communications within project management software, specifically Asana. We briefly used Jira, but our collaborative work was done primarily through Asana.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They filled a specific need for us, making it so that I did not have to worry or learn about something new and highly technical and allowing me to focus on other parts of establishing the company. ThinkLions became our technical partner, and was instrumental in the foundation and growth of our end product. Additionally, we were able to engage their services at a time when we did not have the capital to afford a full-time, in-house developer. As a solution, they were cost effective and scalable, both of which were essential for us at the time.

Are there any areas they could improve?

A fundamental part of the development work for us was the monthly quality assessment, which was essential to the ultimate success of the product but took a lot of time on my end. I spent a significant amount of time on the monthly Q.A., and I think it would have been more effective if that service had been built into the cost of the initial part of the development.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

The first is just general advice for anyone engaging an outside contractor, particularly in the development sphere: Make sure that you know what you want to build and that you clearly define the goals and the requirements of that build. You know your product and the market better than anyone else, and it is not fair to go to an outsource firm and expect them to understand any of the above as well as you do.

The second piece of advice is to make sure to use whatever project management software (or software in general) that is going to make them the most efficient. In our case, we pushed to use Asana because it was what we were already using, but ultimately I think it hindered their workflow. In retrospect, I wish I had listened to their request to use Jira, in order to cut down on the amount of time they spent learning the software that we preferred.

5.0
Overall Score Our partnership allowed us to grow in scale when we did could not hire full-time developers.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They stuck to the deadlines that they provided.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They were more cost effective than my other options.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They provided what I asked them to produce in the way that I requested.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I was happy with the work I got from them.

Business Plan & Mobile App Dev. for TV Screen Platform

THINKLIONS etched out a solid foundation that I'm still building off of today.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Jan. 2016 - July 2016
Project summary: 

THINKLIONS developed a wireframe and business plan for a projected mobile app and entertainment company. The app involved OCR-based technology and second-screen visual entertainment that synced with live TV.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Birmingham, Alabama
Phillip Stinson
CEO, Project Aedan
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Despite the project being curtailed, THINKLIONS yielded a high-quality design that will serve as a useful starting off point for future efforts. The team provided transparent communication via Slack and Google Analytics. Creative input fleshed out the rudimentary concept at affordable hourly rates.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the owner and CEO of Project Aedan, and also work for a computer software company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with THINKLIONS?

When I initially decided to create a mobile app in 2015, I had little knowledge of how to run a company and get it off the ground. As I began to define my strategy and goals, I needed support formulating a business plan, and a vendor to develop the mobile app.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

During our engagement, THINKLIONS worked on creating a second-screen entertainment app using OCR-based technology. It was meant to let users follow and interact with their favorite live movies and TV shows by aiming their phone at the screen. We started building it for iOS, and had plans to expand to Android later on. In addition to the app, we planned for Project Aedan to serve as an entertainment company that would develop movies and TV shows. Integrating these two planned components, they formulated a thorough business plan.

We spent three months working closely together to create a detailed wireframe. It was extremely well-crafted, and laid out my ideas for the app’s design and function. By March, we had planned the project timeline. We’d completed about half of the project by the time I halted the service. This decision was exclusively based on problems in-house. I’d decided to take the app and business in a completely different direction.

What is the team composition?

The CEO, Mike Sims, served as our main point of contact. He instructed his team on how to complete different facets of the project. Throughout the project, I spoke with at least five additional developers.

How did you come to work with THINKLIONS?

As I searched for potential developers, I discovered THINKLIONS on the freelancing website PeoplePerHour.com. They’re the first development partner I’ve used thus far. I initially contacted Mike Sims in June 2015. We reconnected in January 2016, when he emailed me to inquire about my interest in their newly-launched app development service.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent $6,000 on their services.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked together from January to September 2016.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

When we ended the engagement in September 2016, I was very satisfied by the quality of the work they’d accomplished. I really appreciate their efforts. They etched out a solid foundation that I'm still building off of today, as I continue to redevelop my plans going forward.

THINKLIONS offered an extremely affordable rate, and worked on an hourly basis. They accommodated my limited resources to yield the maximum possible results. Mike and I still keep in touch.

How did THINKLIONS perform from a project management standpoint?

The team kept me consistently updated. Using Google Docs, they indicated which parts of the app they had completed or were working on at the time. We communicated via Slack, which proved to be a very useful tool. I could directly contact any developer via their Slack profile to discuss specifications. If certain requests were too detailed or difficult for me to explain, Mike would compile all the available information and relay the takeaway to his team.

What did you find most impressive about them?

Although I had just a rudimentary idea for the app, their designers and developers managed to create a terrific wireframe outlining the design. I was pleasantly surprised by how well they brought my ideas to life. While this might seem like a minor task, their work proved integral. I was consistently very impressed by their creative ideas, skill, and the quality of their work.

Are there any areas they could improve?

The communication faltered at times, but was good overall. I don't like repeating myself, which often occurred in our interactions while developing the app. The complexities of my idea were through the roof, so this problem could be unique to my circumstances.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Even if you’re starting with a very rough idea, THINKLIONS has an excellent method to fully develop all the specific details. Mike creates outstanding business plans, and can mold your concept into something tangible. I was very impressed by his expert use of what little materials I provided. He runs his company smoothly, and is always well-informed. I highly recommend using them.

5.0
Overall Score THINKLIONS creates organized plans to grow and develop your ideas. There’s no ego or intimidation factor involved, and they’ll work with you to provide satisfying results.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They delivered the wireframe ahead of schedule, and the results were outstanding. During the app development phase, the timeline got slightly off track
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    As a return customer, I received a discount combining the wireframe, app development, and business plan. Their work went above and beyond for the cost.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    I appreciated how well they kept me informed of the project’s status.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Mike really knows what he's doing, and will go above and beyond to bring your idea to life. I don’t think any future customers will be disappointed.