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Show HN: Betatype - A freelance site where clients pay $3,500 for prototypes (betatype.io)
285 points by brandonhsiao on Apr 29, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 142 comments

As someone who is a member of both of this site's target audiences, I'd be curious to actually see some live samples of products that were developed on a $3,500 budget. I think that would help give "idea people" a realistic expectation for what the scope of their project should be in it's first iteration, and it would set some expectation for the developers as to what they should be able to produce on a $3,500 budget.

Another thing I'd like to see Betatype providing is some sort of franchised coaching and guidance to both the product owner and the developer on how to best set themselves and the other party up for success.

> Another thing I'd like to see Betatype providing is some sort of franchised coaching and guidance to both the product owner and the developer on how to best set themselves and the other party up for success.

Coaching and guidance isn't a substitute for experience. You can learn about the product lifecycle by reading a book or taking a class, but that doesn't mean you know how to manage it in the real world. Frankly, the number of good developers who can also credibly wear the hat of product manager is much, much smaller than the number of good developers.

Right, I agree with what you've said completely. The reason I introduced the concept of "coaching and guidance" here is because I believe it would be required on both sides for eligible parties at the $3,500 price point. I really wouldn't expect "good developers who can also credibly wear the hat of a product manager" to be picking up $3,500 contracts on a site like this, however, I could see it being a stepping stone for mid-level developers who are entry-level consultants.

Coaching and guidance can, however, support new users on both sides of the table during their initial attempts and providing (or purchasing) contracted services. You only gain that experience by having the opportunity to practice. Likewise, Betatype won't keep lasting customers if the experience working with the community of developers is dissatisfying or contentious.

No way I would wear the hats of a product manager and a developer at that price point. The spec better be really good, and no "little changes".

If they have a way to make this happen, then it's an amazing product. If not, then there will be a lot of disappointment on both sides.

To all the people dismissing the site based on low potential earnings for the developer.

From a quick look on elance. There are currently 10,344 "Web Developers" with a listed hourly rate. The cutoffs for 50/75/90 percentiles are $15, $25 & $40 per hour. Obviously dance doesn't represent the top earning developers. Elance covers the low end, mostly.

The hourly rate of developers ranges a lot. So does the hourly output. Silicon Valley veterans expect $100-$200 per hour. On a worldwide scale, that's high end free lancing. Jobs usually come by way of personal introductions and relationships.

I totally agree that few are going to turn down a job at Google to build $3500 prototypes.

The gigs you can get as a freelancer for a SV company are not something that most elance developers can compete for. You can't cold call your way into them and you can't get them through a website. Part of the reason is skillet, some of it is cultural. The ability to relate to the person hiring, sell yourself and a whole bunch of other soft reasons play a role too. They can't get to the high end.

A lot of the startups in this space seem to be trying to crack the middle end, which IMO is underdeveloped. My guess is that's the $25-$60 per hour range. This is (as mentioned elsewhere on this thread) rational in the context of average developer salaries in some parts of the world. BTW, $50 per hour X 20-40 hours per week will buy you a great lifestyle.

Also, a freelancer on his 26th $3500 prototype may get pretty good at it. They'll be using suitable tools have methods for coxing ideas out of clients. It is it's own skillet.

I look at it like this: There are 4 directions that a software project can be constrained: Time, price, scope, and quality.

1. Elance or ODesk can offer you fixed time, price, and scope, but highly erratic quality.

2. An expensive contracting agency can offer you fixed time, scope, and quality, but with high costs.

3. This site promises fixed cost, and quality, but makes no promises on scope or completion timeline.

All that's left is for someone to make a site that has fixed timing, like "Software Prototypes in One Week". I'll wait for that one to hit the front page of HN. As a developer I'd actually prefer that because I know when it's going to be over.

"All that's left is for someone to make a site that has fixed timing, like "Software Prototypes in One Week"."

Looks like someone already did that too: http://protoverstas.com

10,000 EUR + 2.5% equity (o_O);

More realistic though; you really cannot do anything for $3500 (E2500). Well you can do something but it won't be very nice I don't think. E10k is good for a proto.

"Done In One Week"

Quality, Cost and Scope will be "best effort"

Honestly, it might sound silly, but it would be useful. Give a client an idea of what can be done in a week, lets them know what can be off the shelf and what has the be built, etc. Something like $85 an hour @ 3500 a week. Better than spending a week in meetings arguing about scope.

Yeah, as an engineer it sounds like a blast. If I could line up work doing that week after week I'd definitely give it a go for a while.

Same, specially that I love doing prototypes.

Sprinkle a little 'agile' magic dust...

self-plug: You're almost describing my company, Prontotype: http://prontotype.us/

We're not trying to build one-week twitter clones, but well-working prototypes out of unique ideas.

Hmm, so as a software consultant I'm impressed with your business model because it seems like a scheduling nightmare. How do you manage to have available resources when people contact you? Do you sometimes have to say no if your team is busy with something else?

Since we're focusing on prototypes/MVPs the process is very iterative and feedback oriented, so scheduling just consists of fitting well-defined blocks together. We've also got a balanced team which helps us parallelize. There haven't been any scaling problems yet, but when there are we're ready to bring on extra talent.

How do you find clients?

Now: Word of mouth spurred by high quality output. Before: Job boards and friends in business schools.

I have used elance for graphics work 4 times. The 3 was fine, acceptable result, nothing outstanding. That one time it was an awful poor choice. But for a long-term project, expensive project I'm not sure if eLance is the way to go.

Neat idea. Initial thought is that I have trouble seeing this be profitable, given how little Betatype is taking. Betatype itself is only getting $140 / project and for this is promising to "help clients flesh out their idea into a clear list of requirements." That alone could take many hours of back and forth.

Agree. One strategy would be to do the upfront project analysis at a loss until they get the hang of it and identify the patterns, then create automated tools that product owners can work with to get the same work done. Or maybe they already have automated tools.

However, my bigger concern is that working out the requirements is being done by someone other than the developer that's going to be working on the project. If you're trying to get something done on a budget, fewer people in the mix is better.

Furthermore, the conversation about product requirements needs to be a two way discussion. Developers are often in a unique position to guide a product owner into what's easy to implement and provides the biggest "bang for your buck." Their early insight can radically shape the product and is not based on what the customer thinks they need, but what the customer communicates their goals are. This is where a consultant can provide serious ROI to a product owner.

I suspect this is what they have in mind long term, for starters i'm guessing they are just going to filter both jobs and developers to a realistic starting point.

For example, trashbin and "i want an ebay clone" elance style requests, and filter out the developers who claim to be able to do it for $500 in 12 days.

That alone would cut down most of the crap you see on sites like elance.

As for their fears (dsrguru posted) about people going out of band to work around 4% for a measly $140 I don't see how that would really come into it as a reason for doing the filtering. $140 is nothing to a developer for a guaranteed payment on completion, its also against the interests of the buyer as they may end up with subpar quality and an angry developer chasing them down for work they didn't really do to a reliable standard.

Sure, there will likely be a few who try to work around it, but really they aren't the target market user to begin with (the i want ebay for 500$!!? types)

It seems like the fear is that allowing the developer to have direct communication with the client could result in people circumventing the 4% commission. But unless they come up with an excellent workaround, it might be hard for the site to catch on without allowing that communication.

They are trying to create a two-sided marketplace on something that is traditionally a consulting gig.

So many things can go sideways, and at a 4% take on $3,500 projects, as loosely defined as that is, there is no way this can scale.

> No way

Sure there is, limit to what time they spend working on getting projects ready, if they don't meet a certain standard, drop them and give quick 5 second tips to get them back in the queue. If they don't produce a reasonable spec in enough attempts just drop them as a user.

Even the AP had a work around for scaling this further, run at a loss for some time while you identify patterns of failure, produce resources for the user to solve their own problems.

For $140 I could easily spend 10-20 minutes looking at a rough spec and tell you if it is workable for 3500, I'd even be able to put in a few slash points on which features would likely need to be cut.

For some perspective, $3500 @ $50/hour = 70 hours. In other words, 1-3 weeks of dev time.

For a developer living in Greece a 3.5k salary could equal in 1 month's work or more (8 hours per day). So it largely depends on the location.

Since the developer's location is becoming irrelevant I guess that's a reality for developers in general.

LOL, $50/hour.

The types of developers you want creating your prototypes are those that can justify charging $200+ per hour because they have past business/user experience to truly understand what you want to achieve from your project as opposed to what you've specified.

In developing countries, $50/hour is considered very lucrative. Thus the hourly rate is not a good indicator of developer quality.

I assure you, it very much is.

The number 50 was for illustrative purposes. Not sure why that's so funny. Ok 100/hour and 35 hours look at that. If you can get the projects done in a tenth the time suddenly you're getting a lot more than that figure.

Also as another has pointed out, justifying 200/hour and beating the competition is very difficult in a world wide market. Those in sv may be able to push that high but I can assure you there is many many developers with the same skill set living in much cheaper economic climates where 50/hour is considered much higher than 200/hour is in sv.

I'm sure a could read a bunch to find out your answer, but it wasn't quickly enough obvious to me (as a programmer) how you ensure the scope of work is actually equal to $3500 of my time.

Agreed. An example scope of a prototype would be very valuable to see if it's worth the time signing up. Additionally, I'm guessing that rudimentary design skills would be required because there's a helluva difference between a functional bootstrap proto vs designing a product with specific design goals in mind.

I agree with this - I think both parties would greatly benefit from being able to see a "standard" prototype. Over time, I'm sure a that few spec templates could be developed that would cover 80% percent of use cases. It sounds like a scalable model to me.

As a university student, this is really pretty great. I will have the opportunity to work on reasonably sized projects, earn some extra cash, and probably build a pretty sweet portfolio. I even think it would be cool to form student orgs around this - have upperclassmen train underclassmen in the art of full stack web-dev, and then have let two underclassmen jump into one of these projects with the guidance of an experienced dev. Finally, split the profits. If any of the founders are reading this, would you be open to something like this?

Even if you sign up, you need to submit a resume before you actually get to see the offered projects.

It's nice that the dollar figures are all upfront on this page, but it seems a bit strange to say "Get a working, launchable prototype for $3,500" when the client actually pays $3570. It seems that you're putting half of your fee on the client side and the other half on the programmer side, but in doing so the client's seeing a mixed message that could be off putting.

I doubt it's off putting. 2% for the sake of simplicity is OK. Similarly, "$10k" would be fine instead of "$10,200."

In UK, prices are always inclusive of VAT. Going back to the U.S. pricing model after that is annoying to say the least. A price discrepancy leaves room for dispute unless you add "fine print" for "hidden fees", both of which are frowned upon to the extent that many products market themselves as having no "hidden fees". Consumers never benefit from any of it, only companies do.

Agree on the UK comment. Companies are generally expected to put the price of sale in the UK (with VAT if B2C, without VAT if B2B).

There's a strong feeling that they're cheating or deliberately misleading when they don't do that.

> As part of our screening, we'll help clients flesh out their idea into a clear list of requirements.

At market rate for an experienced contract product manager or developer with product management chops, the process of defining functional requirements for a new product will usually entail more than $3,500 worth of work.

I just can't imagine any non brochure-ware prototype that can be built for $3500 (let's leave off the problems of the middleman not making much money on this one /and/ promising to do project management).

two problems

1) limited hours - you're talking about somewhere around 20-30 hours of senior dev time or 40-70 hours of a newer devs time. Let's say they can both accomplish the same amount during that timeframe. It's still /not that much/ especially if you are taking any design into consideration beyond popping bootstrap on it.

2) zero iterations. (and this is perhaps a bigger problem, since the first can be solved simply be changing it to a prototype for $10k or whatever) I've never seen even an MVP come out fully baked without a lot of iterations at the beginning. Arguably prototyping is the process of rapid iteration. One and done just doesn't work for what a prototype needs.

Considering that a mid-level to senior South African developer makes around R40'000 per month (which is roughly what $3500 equates to), you would be able to get an entire month's worth of work from a competent developer based here in SA.

Came here to say this. I'd go so far as to say that a two man team from a country like SA or India, with a back-ender + front-ender, working on 2 prototypes a month, can make a healthy living.

I find this kind of funny I've seen this forgetfulness elsewhere in the thread. We all work in the worldwide web here on hns, yet we constantly forget about the rest of the world.

>limited hours - you're talking about somewhere around 20-30 hours of senior dev time or 40-70 hours of a newer devs time.

Do you have to be from the US to participate in this?

This would still pay a lot more than anyone on oDesk/elance is willing to spend. And I think a lot of prototypes/betas/MVPs can be built in 30-40 hours.

Zero iterations? I think most people would just continue on after the beta, working outside of Betatype.


>20-30 hours of senior dev time

Someone should point the fact that senior devs are on average making $175/hr to Google's Greatest Asset, who recently wondered where to find contracts that yield $100/hr.

This seems more like "vet my potential idea" rather than "Show hn".

Domain was registered today and we can assume the idea was hatched today if not fairly recently.

There is nothing here other than a single page and a way to signup for either a programmer or person with an idea.

This isn't a business it's an idea. Wrapping it in a somewhat acceptably designed website and some marketing speak and seeing HN start to nibble as if it's some real thing actually happening is always interesting.

When is the line crossed between "Show HN" and free advertising for your idea?

The same person registered another similar domain for more personal offers just a few weeks ago. http://prototypefor2345.com/

Betatype seems like an iteration of this previous site.

I see a lot of comments here about the quality of work that can be delivered on a $3500 budget. While this may be considered a shoestring budget in developed countries, it is completely reasonable in developing countries such as South Africa. Here, $3500 equates to roughly R37'000, which would be considered a decent monthly salary for a mid-level to senior software developer (depending on location, of course). So from this perspective, a South African developer would easily be able to spend a month developing such a prototype, which is almost enough time to develop a functional system for a simple-enough use-case. I've personally developed a few pieces of software around this price-point: software that is actively in use now and not just a prototype, and whose code I don't consider completely terrible either.

Will need to do 10,000 apps to make $1.4M in revenue. Pretty tough business. If I were CEO I would raise your 4% fee and charge more than $3,500 per app.

I have a feeling their numbers are soft for a reason. 5000 is a solid investment, 3500, thats a small portion of dayjobs income i could drop to get a sideproject trialed. 4% is also very minor, where 5+ would likely look a little too middleman-y for my liking.

Limit the size of the project, limit the size of the investment, limit the cost.

Going forward I expect they will have to do some form of tiering once they see the type of work is in demand, and which type of work is achievable by their developers (which all is still unknown at this point) Example tiers: 500-1000 = quick site, 3500 = mvp, 5000-10000 = soft launch

It turns out you have to submit a CV and portfolio. If I knew I was applying for a job I wouldn't have submitted my email :/

It wasn't clear to me that the prototypes would be web only - I'm an iOS developer and figured I'd sign up.

To be fair, I think the idea would work for different platforms, but perhaps be explicit on the front page.

Sort of offtopic, but has any non technical person launched a startup / business without a technical cofounder?

The company I work for gets people asking for quotes to build their "next big idea", where the person isn't technical but has industry experience behind them.. this has turned out pretty well for some people.

It happens all the time. I have been involved in such businesses, and there are public examples[1].

Entrepreneurs who don't code do not need technical co-founders. There are plenty of talented firms and solo developers with product management chops who will collaborate with you to build a product. The entrepreneur pays a fair rate and the service provider delivers a solid foundation on which to pursue the business.

Many if not most of the folks looking to jump into bed with a technical co-founder they have no existing relationship with are doing so because they don't have adequate capital. Undercapitalization is one of the top reasons new businesses fail, so most equity-only/deferred comp. technical co-founder opportunities are unattractive from the start.

[1] http://www.groovehq.com/blog/technical-co-founder

So this is quite relevant to me.

I wouldn't like to be a solo founder because it's too much work and stress for one person. I've had this idea for a mobile app (it's a social network game - littlequest.me) for about 2 years now but still haven't done it because I don't have the right co-founder. Mostly because my network is too dispersed I think.

I do have a couple friends with no experience with building mobile apps interested though. Do you think I should team up with them or hire a professional? I really don't like the idea of doing a business by myself though.

Since you're asking for advice, don't go into business "with your friends" who have "no experience." You'll lose one without gaining any of the other.

Why is that?

Always enjoy reading your posts 7Figures. I'm in this exact situation, and decided to go the agency route for the same reasons Alex did for Groove. It's hard in some occupations to have technical friends in your circle, creating some distance between the people who have the domain expertise and the people with the skills to execute on ideas. It's nice to see alternatives. It's worth mentioning also that developing Groove with the agency costed $300k.

I run http://builtFromIdeas.com, where I build apps, generally for non-tech entrepreneurs, for $5,000. I've had a few clients "succeed" without continued input from me. I consider success a lifestyle business, where income each month was at least enough to move onto the next venture. With a well-built app and enough knowledge of your vertical and marketing, it's definitely do-able. At this writing none of them are millionaires.

why does it say > NDA included! NDA's are terrible. They stifle creative thought, put yourself up for lawsuits and someone, has had the "genius" idea before.

I happen to agree with you. But some of my customers don't, and I'm not going to turn down a customer based on a principle that doesn't hurt my business. By getting it out of the way, we can move onto actually doing cool things together.

i think it is there so the person about to hire him/them has some reassurance of privacy

Cool video, who made yours?

Nick at completionwebstudios.com did the video you see on http://builtFromIdeas.com Highly recommended.

Would like to know too

I go to a school with a highly ranked computer science program, and it's not too uncommon for nontechnical "entrepreneurs" to post openings for developer positions for some vague startup idea. Usually, these openings don't come with much (if any) pay, equity, or a co-founder credit. Needless to say, these people don't get a lot of applicants. I'm sure there have been a few that have actually taken off, but I can't name any.

Similar here. My favourite part of those postings is 'looks great on CV'. Yeah right.

People put so much emphasis on CVS in the schooling days. I think my CV back then was a 4 page essay. Its now barely a page of bullet points.

Are you handling the escrow in a safe manner to make sure everyone gets paid? What is your dispute resolution plan?

They mention on the homepage of the site that you _can_ handle payment entirely outside of their system in your own terms.

Sometimes a blank canvas is not a good thing. Twitter invented something entirely defined by its constraints.

The process of negotiating, defining and developing an "prototype" between a client and a freelance developer is hard, for both sides. Often, neither are skilled at managing the process.

Once you limit some aspect of the project, you can adjust the other aspects around the limitation and everything becomes simpler. It's a lot easier to scope a project when the scope needs to fit in a $3500 budget. Simplifying negotiations and decision making could be a big win. Choosing a developer by looking at a portfolio is a lot easier when the scope budgets are the same.

I wonder if this idea could usefully be applied to something outside of software. How about a $3500 (or whatever) custom kitchen.

For me, I use a one-hour skype session to talk every potential client "down off the ceiling". We discuss their idea, and then work together to define a scope I can do for $5,000 in 4 weeks (this is the service I offer at http://builtFromIdeas.com )

Could you go into more detail about how you deal with the initial stages? What if the client wants more, eg. "without this feature it doesn't make sense", etc. Thanks in advance.

This is a cool idea. I've been experimenting with a similar model for design. Undesigned[1] will redesign or prototype a single page in one week for $1500.

In your case, the greatest struggle is going to be supplying the marketplace. It makes sense to offer the service at unsustainable margins for now while you seed the market, so I wouldn't worry too much about all the comments talking about how unsustainable it is, and instead focus on the ones talking about the difficulty of building a marketplace.

1: http://www.undesigned.io

You're on good tracks, this is one of the things 37signals did in the beginning.

" Want to make one of your site's pages better? Check out 37express: 1-page redesigns in 1-week. 37express is perfect for companies that need one more design comp, rapid professional prototyping of a wireframe or early-design concept, or just a quick, hassle-free, "how could this page be better?" creative spark. "


You make it pretty hard to register. I don't want to send all kinds of details about myself when checking if a service is worth my time and I don't think I'm the only one.

Show stopper for me as well. I wanted to see if they had any projects that would be fun for a night/weekend type thing, but they are asking a lot of info without giving enough back to make me feel comfortable sharing.

It's a nice site ... what's your strategy for solving the chicken-and-egg marketplace problem?

Upon creating my account I received an account id of around 1050~. Looks like little is done to obscure the numbers. Perhaps they hope sufficient hype will solve the problem?

1806. Looks like they're getting popular.

Indeed, 2010 here. Sequential for sure.

North of 2800 here

As a prospective programmer, I would love to hear this answered.

Are all prototypes worth $3500? I'm confused as to why there is a fixed price.

I think it makes sense. It implicitly keeps the project scope very limited and it eliminates a lot of the haggling.

My biggest concern, like others have mentioned, is that it seems unscalable with the cut that the company keeps.

Spotted a typo:

http://betatype.io/whyapply says:

> All job postings are required to be as clear and specific as possible, and they're required to pay 1/4 ($625) up front.

This points to conclusion, that the author initially set the price to $2500, but changed to $3500 later.

I like the idea of it, was thinking of something myself not too long ago.

It's great because it provides big value, and your (i.e. betatype founder, contractor specialising on prototypes, etc) job is to highlight the value because it's not obvious for many. Doing that seems like a fun experience.

Tell the "idea people" that you will sell some seemingly incomplete software which might need to be thrown away for $3500 and they will shrug their shoulders or laugh.

Tell the same people that for $3500 you will help them to find out the potential of their idea for a small price, and they, in the ideal world, should love it. Many of us have worked on some project, which was sort of stealth project and founders spent loads of cash just to find out that no one needs it. All of it could have been avoided for $3500.

But how close the real world is to the ideal world?

To all the people saying this price is so too low- don't you think that they are doing this to attract a bunch of people to solve the chicken-egg network effect problem first? Then I'm sure they will raise their cut.

They should also have some good reference-able wins as well, and most importably, knowledge of the advisory/selection process well in hand.

I'm in neither market, but I'm very interested to see how this goes, and whether it can be extended to mobile app dev, or longer than 1wk dev projects.

Really should be https. I like the idea though and hope it's successful.

On the bright side, this project acknowledges the killer issue with these kinds of marketplaces: scalably managing quality, scope, and disputes.

But on the other hand, I see nothing but assurances and a woefully low cut that I can't imagine could keep this train chugging without shoveling time (=money) into the furnace. At ~$140 revenue a pop, if even 4% of projects go off the rails, the "insurance" policy already puts the company in the red -- forget profit.

There is a huge problem to solve here, for sure. I want someone to solve it. But I'm not seeing a solution.

Cool but there are already similar services: http://launchyard.com/

They will help you focus your idea and one of their partners will build the prototype.

Thanks for the shoutout Bruce.

I'm the Founder of LaunchYard.com, and we have been successfully helping entrepreneurs from the last 1 and half years to launch their products. For instance: http://launchyard.com/case-studies/albums/

Shoot me a line if anyone wants to learn more. atif at launchyard.com

I liked the idea, atleast Betatype will have less noise and better quality of developers/hackers. I wonders how will the quality be maintained though. Also there is thin line between what are beta products ? will you prescreen the projects posted ? also there are good chances that buyers will misuse the service due it being flat cost in nature. Expect people asking for N number of features and changing deliverable as well as unsatisfied buyers.

Clicking "learn more" on the "idea guy" side 500s for me:


Everything that I'd expect to 404 gives me 500s.

Probably using a framework (Django, for instance) that doesn't have a default 404 path.

If 404 template is absent, in the case of django it will show Not Found The requested URL /whypost was not found on this server.

Guessing by what curl -I says, looks like lighttpd + webpy.

BuiltWith shows it's using Rails.

Really cool idea, but I think a flat-cost of $3,500 for a prototype is way too low and the approach is error prone. How about iteration? Iteration is one of the key factors during the prototyping process. Does that $3,500 figure cover only one iteration or the initial development and consequent iterations? Or does a company/individual have to pay another $3,500 per each revision?

Interesting idea but so far poor start. We need more information, less errors. I would like a video on main page explaining what you are doing here and why anyone should use you. Outline strengths of your idea and give much more details please. The next few hours will be probably a turning point if this idea will work for you or not. So be quick and fix all the issues!

What does the programmer screening process involve?

Assuming this is 2-3 weeks of work, I hope there are a lot of strict controls in place concerning requirements to stave off the "wait, this should be simple" chronic under-estimators, but I've been in plenty of spots where quickly getting a project like this would have meant a lot. Hope it works out for this site.

This is one of the most interesting things I've seen as a Show HN in ages... Awesome! I can't wait to see how this plays out, and how scared people are to tell each other about what they're building with it, while it's begin built (e.g. if listings for ideas are public to developers?)

> launchable web application prototype

This sounds like an oxymoron which would imply the two sides of the transaction have separate expectations.

As reasonable developers, do we build out the system, security, data backup plan of a "prototype"? As reasonable buyers do we "launch" an application without them?

$3500 is one week without talking too much to the client; not sure how to get something usable from that? If your idea is clear then sure, but (hopefully) most aren't and then you need a few days talking/sketching and starting up your favorite edi... oops $3500 gone.

> Automatic payments without any hassle. We'll drop money into your bank account on a rolling basis.

What does this mean exactly? My prototype will be connected up to your Stripe account and then you'll transfer the money my app makes to me through periodical bank transfers?

No, I believe it means the programmer gets automatically paid when milestones are marked as done. They are referring to the 3.5k being paid for the job. Any revenue the app gets has nothing to do with them.

Looks like this is something interesting that came up from cwilson's suggestion on one of brandonhsiao's earlier submissions: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7606963

Did anyone else notice that the "Apply as programmer" sign up page doesn't use HTTPS? Is it just me or this is the case for everyone.


It stopped my sign up immediately.

Love it taking something thats seemingly a complex process and turning it into a product. Only thing is, they should be charging a lot more than 4%. Perhaps the 500 USD or a similar fee on top. If you provide value, charge for that value.

OK, what the actual fk? I register as a programmer and then a page shows up saying "Thank you for registering, now please EMAIL us your info - and we'll get back in touch". Fail on so many levels.

I really like this idea, and in combination with the bitnami stacks, the "handover" to the client could be very easy too.

[1] https://bitnami.com/stacks

I think you should take more than a 4% cut, that doesn't seem sustainable.

Nice. I've thought about building such a service myself. Found this when I was looking around: http://iwbyp.chris-granger.com/

The term prototype seem ambiguous enough that will cause problems. How far does it have to done? How much bugs can it have? Cross-browser compatible? The problem with fixed pricing is that its not scalable.

This would only makes sense to me if I could acquire and complete 3 prototypes a month which would be an unlikely outcome with an insane amount of work with little hope of making more.

I interpret this as "get a crappy MVP prototype for a very low price" which I think sounds great. I don't think the price is too low if that's the expected outcome.

I love that you allow people to "pay outside". I wish more services offered this. Just be sure that users understand the risks associated with "paying outside".

Nice product. 1 year ago, I launched "Two weeks to materialize your idea": http://munda.me

This business model works well. Congrats.

4% doesn't seem sustainable if they're taking credit card payments. The best they can probably get to is around 1.2% transaction fee (if they've shopped around) and this is unlikely given the risk profile of a marketplace like this. I bet they are paying 2.5%+. So 1.5% ($52.50) profit per project?

I have to wonder how they came up with 4% (2% per side). Surely 10-20% is still a reasonable fee to connect these parties and manage the relationship.

Heck, both I and the purchaser pays 10% to an auctioneer to sell my stuff in < 60 seconds (yes, I know they do a little more than that… but mostly it's about supplying the marketplace).

Unless the creator of this marketplace is himself a provider, in which case he picks the best projects for himself at $3000 profit, and offloads the bad projects to others for $50 profit.

From the /whyapply page:

We're a site that pairs contract programmers with clients. Specifically, we're a marketplace where clients buy prototypes for $2,500.

It says $3,500 now. (Maybe somebody read your comment and fixed it?)

The price grows as a function of time. Clients had better get in now while it's still this cheap.

A business where most customers aren't qualified to be good customers. (Bad at defining, scoping, specs, estimating, having realistic expectations...)

I've tried to contact them a few times via their application form and via email, but no response. Has anybody actually get into the program?

No SSL? Not even for sign up and sign in? How is my info (user, password, e-mail, name, banking info) going to be "protected"?

Has people given up on SSL (and any security for that matter) already because of Heartbleed? I guess I can hear some people talking: "We don't need SSL! Not having it is pretty much the same, but with less overhead!"

Seriously, without SSL, you are Beta at best. And if you have been operating like this for a while, well that's terrible... Your users should be very concerned.

Typo under 'Both sides get what they really want'.

> Programmers get get paid to implement a well-defined spec.

I have seen similar sites like this like 5k MVP, 10k MVP. wanted to know if pricing is the only difference .

I feel like this is the startup that so many of us have always wanted to do. Kudos for doing it!

So, assuming you had an extra $3,500 to blow. What would you most like to have built?

"What We Offer" "I'll write this when I have time."

Looking forward to this.

Interesting.. signed up for this. I wonder what the scope of work is for $3,500.

Change description on login page unless you're Rokumo ;)

price should be higher to have a decent output. Around $5000.

How are you taking payments? Checks?

The premise alone makes me think that someone is trying to get some free money ... snake oil smell. Know what I mean? Why read this?

Sounds too good to be true.

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