Just to be taken through the application to be told on the last screen that they will be prioritizing startups that have gone through incubator programs.
That's very annoying and misleading.
Had I known that, I wouldn't have spent the time it took to fill out the 4 pages of application.
You guys should have been more upfront with that.
Other than that, this looks very promising - but you need to clearly articulate who you are looking for. Is it 'premium accelerated' startups? Or TRULY bootstrapped startups?
Not to poo poo on anyone's parade, but if you go through a startup accelerator that can be hardly considered 'bootstrapping'.
Edit: Also, do you guys pair up people? For instance, I am a single founder and I can do all the development - but I am not a designer. Can you guys supply a designer for me to work with?
Edit 2: Kudos on not adding (YC class number) to the title. I prolly wouldn't have clicked it, to be honest.
The wording on the last page of the wizard is old and should be changed. We are focused on accepting talented startup teams and knowing a team went through an incubator program does help vet them. We're not only accepting startups who are funded by an incubator program.
Our target market startup is one who was a finalist in a distinguished incubator program (top 50 or so). They've built a good product as a team, didn't quite make it in, but now need some bootstrapping cash to keep them going before raising a round of funding (if they choose to do so).
Oh, and our vision of the product is to allow team building within the site. A project is posted and they want 2 developers and 1 designer. If you're a developer, you could fill a developer slot and invite another dev/designer in your network or have us recommend one.
Is there something magic about applying for an incubator that makes teams that do so better at their game?
An 'unknown' losing to a 'failed' may cut off the lows but it also cuts off the highs!
As a single founder, I would much rather flat-rate projects. I don't have the time, nor interest, in tracking time.
I know what I want to make every month, based on the scope of the project I can generally tell how long that will take. So I can budget my monthly income that way.
So I hope that if you are going the hourly way, at least you have an alternative to bid on projects individually.
We're exploring different ways to charge for projects as we move forward.
You know what would be great? A trusted-third-party for judging whether a project meets its requirement milestones, and payments escrow to make sure that the money is actually there when it does ...
Nonetheless, renting a startup or (team for that matter) is still a new concept for employers and they are used to paying an hourly rate for consulting gigs. If we start to see way more demand for flat-rate project from startups, we'll move in that direction.
Last Sunday my co-founder and I published a page [http://bootstrap.getblimp.com] to get gigs in order to bootstrap our startup. So far we got a few good leads for jobs we can do on weekends without taking time off the startup.
Going through an agency is fine, but they usually don't cater to team gigs and they take a pretty big percentage of your rate.
Comparing fund raising time commitment to ongoing contract work is not apples to apples. Fund raising takes time, but it's time spent on your startup. Also, it's a one or two time thing, not the unending time suck that is services.
There's a reason there are innumerable posts about the failures of bootstrapping products with services.
On the flip side, as a client I would be quite weary of hiring a startup team to do a project. If the startup takes off (even a bit) then be damn sure that startup team is out like the gout! There's not much incentive to complete the gig.
Not trying to be negative here, but I see a lot of holes in this business.
So you know what we did? We all spent 3-4 days a week on contracting gigs, and the other 3-4 days a week working on our product together. Aside from the fact that we really didn't see eachother for half the week (which sucked because communication broke down), the contracting worked great. I set up expectations with my client and did some amazing work for them, and in the same week we made great progress on product.
Is it ideal? No. But does it keep the lights on and the health insurance paid and food on the counter? Yes. Assuming that everybody who decides to start a company has $50k saved up in their account is ludicrous.
And you know what? If we could have worked on the same project when we were bootstrapping rather than different ones, our communication and camaraderie would have been a lot better.
I completely agree that if you have a good deal of runway through savings or venture capital, staying heads down and avoiding distractions is the right move. But Christeso, that's not what this product is for. It's for all the other guys who need to hustle and scrape together enough money to keep going.
Although this approach is a little bit distracting, it can be much less distracting that raising capital and dealing with bad investors. I would recommend it to any early stage startup.
Otherwise, replacing a day job with a contract job might not be the biggest gain.
Just curious, how did you find your last contacting job? Did you work as a team or just allocate 1 person to do it?
We didn't charge a whole lot but it was enough to cover most of his salary. We're not in California and salaries are lower here.
Seriously though, my focus was on doing something like this to cultivate the Houston Startup scene(there isn't much of one yet but there seems to be simmering pot and few really good start ups.) Blog posts here:
Having quality clients is as important as having quality developers.
You are faced with the same challenge a normal web dev shop faces: how do I get more quality gigs? Except that you have to get enough gigs for a lot of teams or you will end up serving the same teams over and over again.
I sincerely wish you success as I am interested by your concept (although I am based in Australia and my startup is not part of any premium incubator).
Oh and one for my co-founders has connections in Australia if you're interested.
As a client, why would I want to hire a team that I know is focused on something else? I don't want my project to be treated as a means to an end for the startup to achieve their dream.
How are you going to address this kind of apprehension?
Everyone is focused on something else. If not a side project or a startup, an SO or a hobby.
By definition, if you are paying someone money, they are focused on something else.
Also, we've seen larger startups (4 or more people) that need to bootstrap tend to only give up a portion of their team to take a contracting gig while the rest of the team focuses on the startup. Not unlike raising a round of funding.
Full disclosure, I'm doing something similar right now, and the employer we are working for is truly satisfied with what we're doing.
If you have something that needs to be built and you want a long term commitment you should simply hire experts as full time employees.
For instance, I live in Jamaica, but my startup is registered in Delaware (with a full blown US presence - bank account and all).
Would I 'qualify' given that I could be considered remote (i.e. use Skype and communicate via email)?
I can understand why you would want the Projects to be US-based (quite frankly, that's what I am looking for), but I don't see why the team would have to be US-based.
My company name is in my profile.
Let's see what happens.