The numbers behind web apps laid bare

Read/Write Web has a write up on a seminar at SWSX entitled "Barenaked App: The Figures Behind the Top Web Apps", which looked at 5 web applications and what it took to build and release those products.

...the focus was very much around the financial costs to build and deploy these web applications (as opposed to elements like lines of code or revenue). It also touched on what it costs in monthly maintenance. Here is an overview of the data they shared:

One other interesting thing shared was that FreshBooks cost $430k total to build and maintain, until they reached break even ($140k of those expenses went to marketing).

The entire set of slides are online at

The challenge with comparing these numbers that it several cases the cost associated to development is reported as zero - in these the instances the founders had coded the site and so attributed no value to their time. Clearly had a "salary" foregone number been included, these numbers would be more comparable. Nonetheless, it provides a useful reminder that the entry costs have dropped considerably, but also that the story doesn't end there and more investment is invariably required to grow the venture.

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posted by John Wilson @ 12:35 PM Permanent Link newsvine reddit


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