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Launch HN: Sixty (YC S17) – Freelancer Marketplaces for SaaS Companies
46 points by davidbhead on July 19, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 25 comments
Hi HN!

I’m David, one of the co-founders of Sixty (https://www.usesixty.com/partners). We're a fully-managed freelancer marketplace for SaaS companies. We give SaaS companies an experts.[domain].com that their users can go to for do-it-for-me help from specialist freelancers, whom we call "experts". We source, vet, and manage the experts. We’ve also built software to connect a user and an expert together via screenshare for on-demand sessions.

It's a common problem at SaaS companies that their users want more hands-on help than in-house support can provide, but it takes a userbase of around 1M people and an organic freelancer community to form around the software (think Google Certified Experts or Quickbooks Pro Advisors) before that can easily be provided.

We built Sixty to solve the problems we experienced during our time as Squarespace Specialists (Squarespace’s version of experts). With several years under our belt, we noticed 4 major problems around the concept of an ‘experts directory’:

1) Most SaaS users need a little bit of external help to derive the full value from more complex software – despite the software increasingly intended to be DIY. Users usually only need to get over a few small roadblocks to succeed.

2) The company’s goal of making software intuitive enough for anyone conflicts with the expert’s goal of making more money. Experts all have project minimums that presuppose them taking over the whole project.

3) Companies would need user bases of 100k+ before they would be able to even consider creating an experts community.

4) Building a community platform is fundamentally different than what SaaS companies were founded to do. It bloats the business model.

Our goal is to be a better solution in each of these 4 areas: 1) So users could get smaller scope work accomplished – helping them be more independent and successful on the platform. 2) So the experts can be a part of a better community with increased pay and more stability 3) SaaS companies with smaller user bases can take advantage of the improved activation and retention that expert communities bring, and 4) So SaaS companies can focus on what they do best – building great software.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about what we’re building with Sixty! And if you’re building a SaaS company or are particularly skilled at any startup or SMB software (Segment, Mixpanel, Zapier, Customer.io, Mailchimp, Weebly, etc.), we'd love to learn from you.

I'm someone in your direct market and had no idea what your service does for me for at least 2 minutes of being on your site. Why would I want a marketplace? What is an expert and what are they an expert of? So many questions... I'd look into your messaging, definitely. It takes a while to click and I'm still not 100% sure what you do.

Appreciate your feedback here. Can definitely see ways we can improve the messaging. I know you're asking some questions to probe our thinking but I'll answer them here anyway for clarity.

Marketplaces are good because a lot of times, users want someone to just do it for them rather than teaching themselves with docs, tutorials, and forums. There's always a time tradeoff and sometimes it's worth it to just pay someone. This is why there are https://experts.mailchimp.com, https://www.google.com/partners, etc. We make adding this layer service more accessible to SaaS companies–and it's a 10x better service for the end user because of our technology.

'Expert' is our term for the freelancer. They're an expert of the software itself. So a Google AdWords expert, or a Mailchimp Expert.

While perhaps they should clean up the messaging, to me it's a curated marketplace for consultants that specialize in specific SaaS apps (say, MailChimp or Intercom) as opposed to most freelancer marketplaces that categorize by broader technologies like programming languages.

Bingo :)

Yes, bingo. I'd suggest reading into how this person described your business. :)

Really cool concept but I think you need to really hone in your messaging and think about who is willing to pay.

SaaS companies already pay for customer success / help -- if you can really offer help as low as 0.50 per minute, can't you just sell that to the SaaS owner?

I'm sure you've done your research and asked both sides, but that stuck out at me first. If I'm on Zapier and want help, I'm much more likely to reach out to Zapier to get help than to pay a 3rd party freelancer on Zapier to help me.

So it's a tool which other SaaS' can embed so their users can pay to get video-chat assistance from freelancers?

Yes to everything except the embed.

We have a lot of ideas for embeds! Right now, the product is a subdomain (experts.[domain].com) that SaaS companies can link to from their site & support.

Love this. Enterprise are going to sign up like crazy. Will save employees countless hours and emails.

This looks pretty awesome. I'm a marketing consultant and I use so many of these tools. The next time I get stuck with something I'll probably use you.

Would love to have you as a user! Which tools do get stuck on most frequently?

Used to be Zapier, but now I'm pretty good myself. Going to need Shopify help pretty soon making sure a data feed is clean.

I hear you on Zapier! I was in the same boat initially. I actually built the initial prototype for Sixty using Zapier and Google Sheets. Then built it on Bubble.is until we got Andrew (our technical co-founder) on the team. Wished I had experts on both of them the entire time.

Have a ton of great Shopify experts :)

Did you run into any limitations using Bubble?

I am a bit confused. Is this basically a network where I can get help from an expert at a specific technology/application ? For example, if I am a zapier user, I can get direct help from a zapier expert ?

But then who is your target audience ? Is it SAAS providers (outsourcing their tech support to you?) OR the SAAS user (contacting you directly for help instead of the SAAS provider).

All of this is correct.

Both parties are our target audience. Our goal is to partner with the SaaS companies and give them control over the freelancer ecosystems. We're also building for the end-user though because we think that mindset will ultimately result in the best product for them.

Does this make sense? I can see how it's confusing.

I like it! Would probably call it 'Customer Success as a Service' (CSaaS) myself

This is brilliant

If you want to find experts, a great way to grow that side if the platform would be to approach people on freelancer and upwork.

You would be able to grow that side of the business super easily!

Just an idea, and good luck!

I get it and I think it's very neat and solves a real problem. You guys are basically providing on-demand product evangelists right?

If i understand correctly this is like <company>.stackoverflow.com. Did I get that right?

Kindof. It could evolve into something like a forum (presuming that's what you're meaning). Right now we're focused on strictly getting the end-users problems solved as fast as possible by connecting them with freelancers via screenshare.

Does that clarify?

Sounds like a good idea! Many items I end up stack overflow thinking "wish I could ask one more question to clarify this further with an expert".

Congrats on the launch Sixty!!

I swear YC admits more dumb shit each batch.

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