Traction is what you need
Five or six years ago, the tech scene used to get excited about founders with “great startup ideas”. Ideas were enough to spike the interest of VC firms, get notable accelerators like Y Combinator or AngelPad to support you or convince a top-notch CTO to join you.
It stands to a reason why those good old times are gone. The low barrier-to-entry to building a tech company was too tempting, and soon everyone was rushing to grab their slice of the pie. As a result, failure rate increased. Since then, showing traction became a key asset to earn some attention and credibility.
In his post The Evolution of The Startup Pitch, Yassine, our CEO, puts it this way: “A pitch is a request for trust, and trust requires tangible evidence. People you ask to follow you will demand to see progress before committing”.
For non-technical founders, this has meant a heavier burden of data-backed proof before they can earn a spot in the scene.
And as we toured the major startup hubs, we witnessed founders with ingenious business models missing exciting opportunities, simply because they could not find technical partners willing to embark with them on the journey of building an initial version of the product to test the market opportunity.
Your current options
After a quick scan of the tech landscape, you realize that you have three options:
- Hiring an in-house developer: This is one of your best options. But unless they are your technical co-founder and are willing to take a bulk of compensation in the form of equity, getting a talented developer on board will cost you an arm and a leg, and a few months, at best, of screening and interviewing. And once they’re hired, between health insurance, salaries, compensations, you can easily find yourself drowning under paperwork with your burn rate jumping up the roof. Besides, with the fierce competition and high demand for skilled developers, good luck convincing them how they’ll be so much better off with you than with Dropbox, or Facebook because you think you’re onto the next big thing.
- Contracting offshore freelancer services: Many entrepreneurs praise the merits of outsourcing development work overseas, and we see where they’re coming from. The costs can sound extremely tempting. The main issue with this option remains quality control. The odds of shipping a great product are significantly low because most offshore freelancers tend to lack solid startup or product experience.
- Working with a development agency: Available and dedicated to their clients, development agencies, when chosen wisely, can ship good quality products. But unless you’ve managed to get some sort of funding, it’s unlikely the conversation with a renown devshop would lead to a collaboration. Even the moderately good ones remain unaffordable to early-stage founders with limited access to funds.
At Hidden Founders, we understood that we could neither offer our skills as a simple development agency for startups nor as a freelancing platform, given the obvious inadequacies between these models and a startup’s needs.
The Startup-friendly option
Starting a company is hard. The excitement of bringing a business idea to reality always faces the uncertainty and self-doubt that come with this journey.
As Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup defines it: “A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty”.
If you’re a solo or two partners trying to bootstrap a startup idea, chances are you want to calibrate the financial uncertainty of launching a new product.
However, this need may not match a dev shop’s or a freelancing platform’s interest, because their definition of success (delivering a product) is different than yours (testing a market & showing some traction).
So, what’s the best way you can launch a product on the market while calibrating your financial risk?
Since we started back in 2014, Hidden Founders has been solely focused on helping startups. This experience allowed us to perfectly understand an early-stage founder’s needs and constraints, and build a model that fits them:
- If you’re among our batch founders, you get access to a bootstrap-friendly payment plan. Founders start with a 14% down payment, and the remaining cost is split over the next 18 months. It's pretty much like leasing a car, except you commit to the monthly installment for 6 months only (over 18). You can decide to complete your payment only if your product shows some traction.
- Knowing this is a pretty big risk we take, we decided to be selective and take 3% equity in each startup of our batch. Having a small ownership in your startup can assure our interests are aligned at all times.
And you know what the best part about our offer is? The unique pricing model you say, well not quite.
In it together
Our office is full of passionate developers with a proven track-record of building beautifully designed, top-notch startup products. Leveraging technology to help a founder disrupt a particular market or industry is what thrills our teams.
Politics, fashion, Finance, Real Estate and Advertising are just some of the fields we dove into in the course of this journey.
Our community also involves some of the amazing founders & mentors who have been there and can steer you in the right direction and offer business assistance when needed.
We built Hidden Founders since we believe, to a great extent, that founders don’t need support with technology or development only. Rather they need a support system that can share with them the risk and ownership of starting a new company.
On a final note, if you are an early-stage founder looking to create a product, chances are you’re looking for a team that can understand and translate your vision while helping you bootstrap on the go.
If you think we are a fit, head over to our application form and tell us about yourself and project idea. We’ll be in touch right after that.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about us today. If nothing, we hope we can help you discover more about what it takes to bring a tech product to the market.
We'd be happy to hear from you.