Building the UI and integrating the backend API into an iOS app
Next, we want to build the iOS app and integrate the backend API. After this step, we will have a fully working app, but without the actual core functionality which is the VoIP part. A cost estimate for this implementation would look like this:
- Login/Signup flow — $2.240
- Main screen — $4.800
- Explore section — $5.500
- Explore search — $3.200
- Clubs explore — $3.200
- Start a room — $2.500
- Room details — $2.500
- Upcoming — $1.600
- Invites — $1.280
- Activity — $2.000
- Profile — $4.800
- Settings — $3.900
Mobile audio streaming / VoIP
In 2021 audio streaming is not a technical issue anymore. While there are still scaling challenges, for an MVP of up to 1 million users, using a ready-to-use free solution like jitsi or a WebRTC server should be enough. This would also imply that we have to support some server costs.
If the MVP proves successful like Clubhouse is right now, we can start thinking about building a scalable VoIP infrastructure. For this, there are many solutions from just using more servers to choosing the right codecs, but this is a subject for another topic. Here, for convenience we will stick to a free solution and will estimate just the cost of integrating such a solution:
- Setting up the servers — $1.600
- Integrating VoIP in the app — $3.200
Mobile app testing
Testing an app like Clubhouse is not a trivial task. Many tests should be done to assure the optimal running of the app. Given this is an MVP we recommend only doing the minimum testing that would assure a proper running of the app and avoid doing automated tests at this stage of the app development. The testing should be done in parallel with the development to fix the possible issues as early as possible.
- Manual testing of the app — $8.200
- Load testing of the backend — $2.500
- Load testing of VoIP servers — $4.000
The total estimated cost for the app development: $91.240
Monthly servers cost: 1000$-5000$ depending on the usage
Mobile MVP marketing
From this point on, the focus should shift to marketing and promoting the app. Getting into details about how to do marketing for a Clubhouse-like application would make this already long article longer. We can shortly note the channels that should be used for a successful launch.
Since this is an app addressed to pretty much everyone, the main goal of the marketing strategy would be to create some hype around the app and get as many people as possible to talk about it. To do this, the main marketing channel should be social media, tech reviewers, and tech news websites.
The goal is to create a snowball effect that would drive enough downloads to put the app on top in the AppStore for its category. Cost for marketing could vary wildly and a better approach here is to set a budget. For an MVP like this a starting budget should look like this:
- Marketing — $10.000 - $15.000 / month
- Partnerships — $50.000 - $100.000 / year
Total: $170.000 - 280.000$
appssemble can help you build VoIP and social MVPs
While building a Clubhouse like MVP does not pose any technical difficulties and does not involve a cost for R&D or paying for some shiny new tech, replicating their success might be hard to do. The new social media platform came after a year where working from home was the norm and people got used more and more to video or audio conferences instead of face-to-face meetings.