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Should I sell my AI app for $50k ?

A topic related to SAAS or APPs

Jeannen

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Hi!

I received offers for my app, but I'm still hesitating if I should sell it or not.

Here is some background:

I learned to code in May of last year (2022) (full details here). Since then, I released lots of apps, until one started to work well. Without going into too many details, it's related to AI. I launched the app in December 2022, so 3 months ago, and it generated $20,000 of sales so far.

It makes consistent sales ($100-$200/day) fully organic. The profit is around 70%

However, the issue is that the internal reviews are pretty mediocre. Since AI can't generate EXACTLY what people ask, and some don't respect the limitations (I wrote clearly the do/don't but people don't read), the results often end up being just ok. That could definitely be improved in the long run by re-working the app, but I think it's beyond my technical capacities. I'd also like to focus on other businesses.

I decided to list it for $50,000 on a platform acquisition marketplace, and I received a few offers already.

I just wanted to get some opinions from entrepreneurs who've been there before too.

Should I sell it, or keep it as a cashflow source to fund other projects? And is $50,000 too high, too low, or ok?
 
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circleme

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A track record of only 3 months and you are already getting offers? I would definitely NOT buy that at all (from a buyer perspective) as the earnings and traffic history is quite short.

I'm curious. Can you give some more information about your product?

And btw: A big congrats on your success! I'm in the process of building mine as well and I would be happy for any general information from someone who has made it if you don't mind.
 

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Have you vetted the buyers? There are a lot of tire kickers out there, as well as snakes who will try to get you to cough up your intellectual property during their "due diligence."

Have you considered listing it for more? AI is a hot field right now, and you're selling at roughly your annual projected income (.20,000 / 3.5 * 12 * .7 = 48,000). Established SaaS companies sell for 3-4x annual profit, sometimes more.

Obviously there is a lot in the air with the SaaS only being a few months old, so $50K might be solid.

I'd ask yourself these questions:
  • Could you hire a machine learning dev from another country to improve the app for you?
  • If you sold it for $50K and found out that you could have received much more, would you regret it?
  • If you don't sell it and it fizzles out, would you regret having let the $50K pass by?
  • How much time are you willing to lose for other projects in an effort to improve your sale price here?

Though, congrats on going from not knowing how to program to having a profitable SaaS in less than a year.
 
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farmer79

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I don’t know how to price ai related apps, but congrats on learning to code so
recently and building something that makes money.
 
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FeaRxUnLeAsHeD

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If you've generated 20K in sales in <3 months, why would you sell it for 50K? Am I missing something?

Seems like it would be a lot more valuable than that. Why would you consider selling it when you could just continue to scale? Reinvest into marketing and branding and get more reach with the app and pull in more sales.
 

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I'll be the contrarian.

Sell.

This is really just my gut reaction to the information you gave us. The market is giving you feedback that you're stuff isn't all that great. Listen to it. It sounds like you don't have a good idea on how to improve it. So it's just a matter of time before you can't sell.

But if you sell, you'll always be the guy who sold his first venture in 3 months for 50k.

That's a pretty solid start. Anytime you go to raise capital for the rest of your life, you can start off with I sold my first venture in 3 months for 50k.

Take that 50k, turn it into something that gets better results...

And don't discount what @WillHurtDontCare said. Just because you had an offer, doesn't mean the person has any intention of buying your company. They might just want to figure out what's behind the curtain.

Come up with a story of why you want to sell. This was just a side project, and you want to focus on your main gig. If anybody asks what your main gig is, tell them it's none of their business and it has nothing to do with the deal. Or tell them your main gig is a more robust app that you've been working on for a while...
 

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A track record of only 3 months and you are already getting offers? I would definitely NOT buy that at all (from a buyer perspective) as the earnings and traffic history is quite short.

I'm curious. Can you give some more information about your product?

And btw: A big congrats on your success! I'm in the process of building mine as well and I would be happy for any general information from someone who has made it if you don't mind.
Yeah, got lots of people signing NDAs to get the listing info, and a few people sent me offers

I agree that it's short, and that's why I'm not selling it for more considering the reviews

As for general info, I'd suggest reading the thread I linked, it gives lots of details about how I learned and how I got started with my first apps
 
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Jeannen

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Have you vetted the buyers? There are a lot of tire kickers out there, as well as snakes who will try to get you to cough up your intellectual property during their "due diligence."

Have you considered listing it for more? AI is a hot field right now, and you're selling at roughly your annual projected income (.20,000 / 3.5 * 12 * .7 = 48,000). Established SaaS companies sell for 3-4x annual profit, sometimes more.

Obviously there is a lot in the air with the SaaS only being a few months old, so $50K might be solid.

I'd ask yourself these questions:
  • Could you hire a machine learning dev from another country to improve the app for you?
  • If you sold it for $50K and found out that you could have received much more, would you regret it?
  • If you don't sell it and it fizzles out, would you regret having let the $50K pass by?
  • How much time are you willing to lose for other projects in an effort to improve your sale price here?

Though, congrats on going from not knowing how to program to having a profitable SaaS in less than a year.
I'm using acquire.com, so there is already some vetting in place, and they have to sign an NDA to access the listing. But I'm not revealing any sensitive information, at least yet. The only reason I'm not listing it for more is because of the improvement needed. Also, it's not a subscription, it's only a one-time purchase.

As for the questions:
- I can't hire a ML dev because I'm not using custom models, I'm just using different APIs and post-processing
- Depends on what "Much more" involves in terms of effort
- Yes, I would definitely. $50k is 2 years of living cost where I'm right now, so it would def remove some pressure
- Not sure, I'm def going to improve things like conversion rate and others, but if I see that another project starts to take off and get good reviews, I'll 100% focus on growing it
 

Jeannen

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If you've generated 20K in sales in <3 months, why would you sell it for 50K? Am I missing something?

Seems like it would be a lot more valuable than that. Why would you consider selling it when you could just continue to scale? Reinvest into marketing and branding and get more reach with the app and pull in more sales.
Because it's short-term, there is no "long-term" track record, so it could be a fluke for a buyer

The current economics don't really give much room for paid advertising, so the best I could do is SEO
 

Jeannen

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I'll be the contrarian.

Sell.

This is really just my gut reaction to the information you gave us. The market is giving you feedback that you're stuff isn't all that great. Listen to it. It sounds like you don't have a good idea on how to improve it. So it's just a matter of time before you can't sell.

But if you sell, you'll always be the guy who sold his first venture in 3 months for 50k.

That's a pretty solid start. Anytime you go to raise capital for the rest of your life, you can start off with I sold my first venture in 3 months for 50k.

Take that 50k, turn it into something that gets better results...

And don't discount what @WillHurtDontCare said. Just because you had an offer, doesn't mean the person has any intention of buying your company. They might just want to figure out what's behind the curtain.

Come up with a story of why you want to sell. This was just a side project, and you want to focus on your main gig. If anybody asks what your main gig is, tell them it's none of their business and it has nothing to do with the deal. Or tell them your main gig is a more robust app that you've been working on for a while...
Yes, that's my main reason. Someone with better technical abilities could definitely make something great out of it, but I'm personally limited.

And that's true, would be a good "proof of result" if I ever need to raise money, and the money would allow me to have some room to reinvest in other projects (and remove some stress, as it would easily give me 2 extra years of living cost)

As for the "why I want to sell", I've been transparent in the listing, I said the app needs improvements that are out of my technical abilities, and I'm also getting a bit bored and want to focus on other projects. I'd rather not hide the truth. But yes, not going to reveal any sensitive information until the sale is made
 
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First, congratulations for hitting the market in less than 1 year of coding. You're doing it right.


Now, based on the numbers you provided:

It makes consistent sales ($100-$200/day) fully organic. The profit is around 70%
  • ~3k / month in profit

I launched the app in December 2022, so 3 months ago, and it generated $20,000 of sales so far.
  • ~4.5k / month in profit

I'm not sure which one is more accurate.
But if you're selling it for 50k now, you get 11-16 months worth of profit today.

I would price it for at least 24 months (2 years) worth of profit.

Whether you should sell it or not depends on more factors than just a number.
  • Does this have a future?
  • How big can this thing scale?
  • How motivated you are to keep working on this?
  • How capable you are to run this project?
  • Do you have other opportunities that have a better ROI on your time?
You are the only one that has in depth knowledge on the whole situation. It's ultimately your call.

The only advice I have is to follow your instinct.

You already know the answer. Don't spend too much time trying to rationalize it.
I'd also like to focus on other businesses.
 

biophase

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Hi!

I received offers for my app, but I'm still hesitating if I should sell it or not.

Here is some background:

I learned to code in May of last year (2022) (full details here). Since then, I released lots of apps, until one started to work well. Without going into too many details, it's related to AI. I launched the app in December 2022, so 3 months ago, and it generated $20,000 of sales so far.

It makes consistent sales ($100-$200/day) fully organic. The profit is around 70%

However, the issue is that the internal reviews are pretty mediocre. Since AI can't generate EXACTLY what people ask, and some don't respect the limitations (I wrote clearly the do/don't but people don't read), the results often end up being just ok. That could definitely be improved in the long run by re-working the app, but I think it's beyond my technical capacities. I'd also like to focus on other businesses.

I decided to list it for $50,000 on a platform acquisition marketplace, and I received a few offers already.

I just wanted to get some opinions from entrepreneurs who've been there before too.

Should I sell it, or keep it as a cashflow source to fund other projects?
I don't know what the longevity of apps are but I would lean towards selling.

Making $70-$140/day, let's just average it and say $100/day. So 500 days until you get $50k. Do you think your app will last that long? Do you think you can improve it and make more?

Do you have another project in mind? More importantly is what are you going to do with $50k. If you sit around and do nothing for 6 months, then you might have just lost out on 6 months of app income which could be $10k or even $50k. Who knows.
 

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Questions to ask...

How defensible is your app and its position?
How scalable is your app? Ease of market access?
What do you need to do to go from $100 day to $500? $1000?
How can you improve ratings?
Can the skills you learned be "rolled up" into bigger things?
What is your 1, 5, and 10 year goals? And would selling advance them, or slow them down?

Love these types of questions because the right answer is variable on the person.

Moreover, a BIG FAT CONGRATS on striking some early success!
 
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Antifragile

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decided to list it for $50,000 on a platform acquisition marketplace, and I received a few offers already.

Sell. You decided already just looking for permission from internet strangers. You got it, permission granted.
 

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As for the "why I want to sell", I've been transparent in the listing, I said the app needs improvements that are out of my technical abilities, and I'm also getting a bit bored and want to focus on other projects. I'd rather not hide the truth. But yes, not going to reveal any sensitive information until the sale is made
@NeoDialectic and I sold for similar reasons - not wanting to grow a bigger team, add any more products to the lineup, de-risk and were ready to move onto something new.

We stayed in our business though for 8 years (2012-2020) until we decided to put it up for sale. The financials made sense to us as well - from the 'financial free' standpoint - to evaluating risk/reward in keeping the company moving forward (it was middle of covid we sold), so could of been a toss up which way market went.

There is really no right or wrong answer here , all depends on your motivations and what you would rather do instead. Is money all fully passive now with this app or are you still actively involved with doing anything? Is it taking your time away from other projects? Would it improve your mental space if you did not have this on your plate anymore? It sure did for us after we closed on our business!

If it's the first 'successful' app you had - you can uplevel your skills and see how you can improve app, hire out for talent, etc. OR you can definitely sell and try to invest your time into landing more home runs, and giving you some peace of mind that you have several years of expenses paid for.

Good luck and keep this thread updated with your progress. This is what makes the business world fun, and it's always fantastic to create a sellable asset out of thin air !!
 

Jeannen

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Questions to ask...

How defensible is your app and its position?
How scalable is your app? Ease of market access?
What do you need to do to go from $100 day to $500? $1000?
How can you improve ratings?
Can the skills you learned be "rolled up" into bigger things?
What is your 1, 5, and 10 year goals? And would selling advance them, or slow them down?

Love these types of questions because the right answer is variable on the person.

Moreover, a BIG FAT CONGRATS on striking some early success!

How defensible are your app and its position?
I have a big first-mover advantage, but the barrier to entry isn't huge either, just takes lots of time to figure out the proper "configuration"

How scalable is your app? Ease of market access?
The current economics need improvement to be scalable, which implies an improvement of the app

What do you need to do to go from $100 day to $500? $1000?
I would say run ads or be in the top #5 on Google, both of which I can hardly do now

How can you improve ratings?
By re-making the app completely I imagine, but there is probably more needed

Can the skills you learned be "rolled up" into bigger things?
Yes for sure, I learned a LOT by doing it

What is your 1, 5, and 10 year goals? And would selling advance them, or slow them down?
My 1-year goal was to be profitable, which is sort of achieved
My 5 years goal is to have enough $ to not have to worry about $ anymore
My 10 years goal is to invest in various assets to keep the $
 

Jeannen

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First, congratulations for hitting the market in less than 1 year of coding. You're doing it right.


Now, based on the numbers you provided:


  • ~3k / month in profit


  • ~4.5k / month in profit

I'm not sure which one is more accurate.
But if you're selling it for 50k now, you get 11-16 months worth of profit today.

I would price it for at least 24 months (2 years) worth of profit.

Whether you should sell it or not depends on more factors than just a number.
  • Does this have a future?
  • How big can this thing scale?
  • How motivated you are to keep working on this?
  • How capable you are to run this project?
  • Do you have other opportunities that have a better ROI on your time?
You are the only one that has in depth knowledge on the whole situation. It's ultimately your call.

The only advice I have is to follow your instinct.

You already know the answer. Don't spend too much time trying to rationalize it.
Yes, that's true
Only reason I didn't priced it more is because of the reviews

  • Does this have a future? Yes, there is clearly demand for it but it needs to be improved
  • How big can this thing scale? I'd say probably to $1000/day, huge community of entrepreneurs who make lots of projects and need logos
  • How motivated you are to keep working on this? Right now not very because of the reviews and because I have a hard time growing it more
  • How capable you are to run this project? I lack the technical skills necessary
  • Do you have other opportunities that have a better ROI on your time? Well, that's tricky. In theory yes, but it's unsure
 

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So it’s an ai logo generator and the results aren’t good?

Could you upsell people?

They pick from all the ai generated logos and for $50-100 a designer will touch it up properly

$500 and they’ll give you fonts colours and a style guide?

Seems to solve both problems, aov and quality

Just creates a lot more work to manage though

I’d probably sell it, it seems like you aren’t interested in owning it or working on it. As much as people say don’t follow your passion, if it’s going to take 3-5 years to build something and exit, you should definitely be interested and excited about working on it
 
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Jeannen

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So it’s an ai logo generator and the results aren’t good?

Could you upsell people?

They pick from all the ai generated logos and for $50-100 a designer will touch it up properly

$500 and they’ll give you fonts colours and a style guide?

Seems to solve both problems, aov and quality

Just creates a lot more work to manage though

I’d probably sell it, it seems like you aren’t interested in owning it or working on it. As much as people say don’t follow your passion, if it’s going to take 3-5 years to build something and exit, you should definitely be interested and excited about working on it
The results are good or just okay at worst, I use it for all my projects and I have a few recurring customers who are really happy about it, the problem is that some people simply don't read the instructions and then complain, or expect designer-quality logos

I imagine I could upsell designers, yes, but the whole point of the app is to offer cheap logos quickly, so a designer kinda breaks the whole point, and I don't want to manage designers

And yeah, I don't know anything about design so I can hardly create content about it for SEO. I don't mind working on something I'm not passionate about, but here I just lack lots of skills to do so
 

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Hi!

I received offers for my app, but I'm still hesitating if I should sell it or not.

Here is some background:

I learned to code in May of last year (2022) (full details here). Since then, I released lots of apps, until one started to work well. Without going into too many details, it's related to AI. I launched the app in December 2022, so 3 months ago, and it generated $20,000 of sales so far.

It makes consistent sales ($100-$200/day) fully organic. The profit is around 70%

However, the issue is that the internal reviews are pretty mediocre. Since AI can't generate EXACTLY what people ask, and some don't respect the limitations (I wrote clearly the do/don't but people don't read), the results often end up being just ok. That could definitely be improved in the long run by re-working the app, but I think it's beyond my technical capacities. I'd also like to focus on other businesses.

I decided to list it for $50,000 on a platform acquisition marketplace, and I received a few offers already.

I just wanted to get some opinions from entrepreneurs who've been there before too.

Should I sell it, or keep it as a cashflow source to fund other projects?
If you receive a few offers at 50k, why not asking for 80k?

Sell to the highest bidder. There seems to be more juice to squeeze.
 

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If you receive a few offers at 50k, why not asking for 80k?

Sell to the highest bidder. There seems to be more juice to squeeze.
Not sure it's worth 80k considering its current state tho
 
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Jeannen

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I don't know what the longevity of apps are but I would lean towards selling.

Making $70-$140/day, let's just average it and say $100/day. So 500 days until you get $50k. Do you think your app will last that long? Do you think you can improve it and make more?

Do you have another project in mind? More importantly is what are you going to do with $50k. If you sit around and do nothing for 6 months, then you might have just lost out on 6 months of app income which could be $10k or even $50k. Who knows.
Yes, that's true

I don't think I could myself improve it enough to make more

And I do have other projects in mind, I have a huge backlog of project ideas to test

As for the $50k, it would allow me to have a better safety net (2-3 years here in Bali) and reinvest some to launch new projects, which I can't do now. So, selling seems to be a good option, just not sure about the price
 

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@NeoDialectic and I sold for similar reasons - not wanting to grow a bigger team, add any more products to the lineup, de-risk and were ready to move onto something new.

We stayed in our business though for 8 years (2012-2020) until we decided to put it up for sale. The financials made sense to us as well - from the 'financial free' standpoint - to evaluating risk/reward in keeping the company moving forward (it was middle of covid we sold), so could of been a toss up which way market went.

There is really no right or wrong answer here , all depends on your motivations and what you would rather do instead. Is money all fully passive now with this app or are you still actively involved with doing anything? Is it taking your time away from other projects? Would it improve your mental space if you did not have this on your plate anymore? It sure did for us after we closed on our business!

If it's the first 'successful' app you had - you can uplevel your skills and see how you can improve app, hire out for talent, etc. OR you can definitely sell and try to invest your time into landing more home runs, and giving you some peace of mind that you have several years of expenses paid for.

Good luck and keep this thread updated with your progress. This is what makes the business world fun, and it's always fantastic to create a sellable asset out of thin air !!
Oh, thanks for the link, will read that!
And yes, this is my first successful app, far from being worth yours (and becoming financially free) but that's a good start. I learned a lot, and it would allow me to focus on improving my skills and making more apps

And yes, will definitely post here if I end up selling hehe
Agree on the "create sellable asset out of thin air", it's really something incredible
 

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Not sure it's worth 80k considering its current state tho
It is only worth what they are willing to pay. If you have more than one offer at 50K. The "true market price" should be higher.
 

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The results are good or just okay at worst, I use it for all my projects and I have a few recurring customers who are really happy about it, the problem is that some people simply don't read the instructions and then complain, or expect designer-quality logos

I imagine I could upsell designers, yes, but the whole point of the app is to offer cheap logos quickly, so a designer kinda breaks the whole point, and I don't want to manage designers

And yeah, I don't know anything about design so I can hardly create content about it for SEO. I don't mind working on something I'm not passionate about, but here I just lack lots of skills to do so
Mitch actually has a solid point that seems worth exploring. I've seen many graphic design stuff creator sites, label companies, and similar offer their free generator at the front-end, and place a sneaky "or hire one of our expert designers". You don't have to change "the point of your app", just link it to another landing page that offers actual design services, but make it subtle on the generator page.

It doesn't really cost you much in terms of money, you just have to find 3 solid freelancers who actually design logos (not just use free generators and call themselves designers). To make sure you're working with an actual designer, ask if they can provide source files from all drafts, mockups, and final versions.

Also, can you add different types of designs? Canva is a great inspiration source. There have to be other designs that everyone needs and can be designed relatively easily. I've seen ad creative generators but seems like they're not great yet. "AI Canva" would be a beast, although probably difficult to build.
 

AristotlesPupil

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Look at growth over time. Check if the user base is constantly increasing, stable or decreasing. That should tell you the trend of the market in the face of your product. Have you tried ad campaigns, email lists, etc.

If not, give those a shot, pretty inexpensive usually compared to what they return.

After doing that for like 10 days, see if new users are coming in from those efforts. Then you can predict if your product will be worth more in the future. Then you can sell it for more.

Also, keep in mind people may buy your app already having a vision of how they would fix it to change the behavior you described, where users expect something that you can't exactly deliver right now.
 
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jdm667

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Lots of good advice here. I would flip the question: knowing what you know about the app, would you pay $50k to buy it from someone else? More? Less? That might give you some clarity.
 

CrimsonNight

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Congrats on taking action. As a fellow developer, I would recommend you sell it. AI space will get really competitive this year and only the best of the best will survive. Unless you are confident in your ability and have the willingness to compete, it's much better to sell it so you can pursue something more sustainable.

And TBH, from how you describe the app, there are no real competitive advantages you have over others.
 

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