Donay, a Dutch startup that’s officially launching at TechCrunch Disrupt 2013 NY, wants to make it easier for companies and users to provide incentives to open source developers. Say your company is using a popular open-source application, but you find a bug or need a new feature. Currently, there is no easy way to pay open source developers for their work and, Donay argues, that makes it hard for companies that don’t have in-house development shops to get bugs fixed or new features added.
The service, which was co-founded by Jan and Corne Blok, can already be integrated with a number of popular bug-tracking systems like JIRA and Bugzilla, as well as Redmine, Mantis, and Trac. In the long run, however, as the founders told me last week, the plan is to work directly with large sites like GitHub or SourceForge and open-source focussed organizations like Mozilla or even Google and have them put Donay’s incentive widget on their sites.
Setting up an incentive on Donay is pretty easy. Users just add the incentive to the system and set the award amount. Optionally, the can also add an expiration date to their rewards. Once a developer has resolved the issue or added a fix, the bug tracking system will automatically notify the company and they will have ten days to inspect the solution. If the issue remains unresolved for 10 days, the money is released and put into the developer’s PayPal account.
It’s worth noting that sites like Github could also use Donay to create a new revenue stream. They could, for example, put a Donay link on every issue page and then ask users to chip in to get this issue fixed, for example. To make this easier, Donay offers a link and widget builder for potential partners sites. One other option for Donay would also be a to partner with app stores and allow them to give their users an option to report bugs and maybe crowdsource funding for bugfixes.
For now, the team is almost exclusively focusing on open source, but the company’s ambitions are obviously larger and will likely expand to internal bug tracking systems and maybe even commercially available software, too.
By default, Donay takes a 6.9% cut from every transaction, but its partners will be able to set additional fees on top of this.
As the founders told me, there is currently no single system for releasing open source bounties. The sites that use bounty schemes all use different systems and, Donay says, their reach is often limited because all of the source code needs to be hosted on their sites. The team came up with the idea for Donay in 2008 because the founders tried to figure out a way to get beyond the “bounty” model and figure out a better way to find developers who could fix bugs in the software they were using in their day jobs.
The two founders bootstrapped the company in 2010 and have been working on it as a side project ever since. Jan is currently the CTO of business application platform Servoy and Corne is the financial controller there.
Q: What size incentive would developers need to start fixing a bug?
A: For bugs, we are thinking $40 to $50 and for new features, we think developers will want around $200. (The judges think this is too little money.)
Q: Isn’t contributing for free part of the open-source ethos?
A: You should think of the system as a way to bring attention to a bug.
Q: How do you do distribution now and why would I allow you to add your system to my issue page?
A: Plugins for some open-source bug tracking system are already available.
Q: Are you using this for your own projects?
A: Not yet – just launched today.