A new crowdsourced marketplace aiming to connect up budding coders with businesses needing to find developers to do one-off project work has launched today in beta in the U.K.
Called Coding Cupboard it’s the sister side of Concept Cupboard — a creative industries talent-finding web platform that launched this time last year aiming to connect students/recent graduates with businesses wanting design work doing.
The basic concept of both sites, which have been privately funded to date, is to pull in a pool of young professionals just starting out on their careers, and thus in a position to mobilize for freelance work, and match them up with businesses that have smaller jobs that need doing quickly — via a pitch and response process.
That template — deployed in the creative industries space — was evidently successful enough for the founders to expand their Cupboard brand to tech dev work with today’s launch.
Why expand to coding? Well there’s obviously continued rising demand among businesses for digital development work, with the proliferation of apps and other digital technologies. While, on the student side, the number of new computer science students is growing in the U.K., with more than 21,500 accepted into universities last year, a year-on-year bump of 12% according to HESA data — more growth than in any other subject.
Youth unemployment has also been a huge problem during the U.K.’s recession. Although the national economy is improving, it’s still tough for young people to find work — and therefore hard for them to gain the experience employers look for to land full-time roles. This unwelcoming job market gives Coding Cupboard its opportunity to push in, reckons co-founder Adam Ball, himself a recent computer science graduate.
“We’re a business with a social purpose of tackling youth unemployment. We’re helping young people to show what they can do whilst also helping businesses source coding at a more affordable rate than established freelancers & agencies,” he tells TechCrunch. “Our main competitors would be people like Elance, oDesk etc. We’re unique because we focus on the extraordinary undiscovered talent that students have.”
“We work closely with careers departments to get their students using the site,” he adds.
Ball, who joined the company as an intern on Concept Cupboard and now runs both sites (and also built Coding Cupboard), adds that with youth unemployment being a global issue the company has a roadmap to take Coding Cupboard to markets outside the U.K.
For now, though, this is a U.K. launch.
“We’re starting by offering projects such as website builds, mobile apps, custom coding and social media projects,” adds Ball, detailing the initial offering. “A business signs up, uses our simple step by step briefing tool (so that even the plumber can use it) and launched their project to our coding community.”
Coding Cupboard is launching with 50+ businesses signed up to the new platform, beefed up by businesses that use Concept Cupboard being ported over — meaning it has more than 1,000+ businesses pitching projects. (Concept Cupboard has some 1,200+ businesses on that site, and 4,700+ creatives — and has so far helped students earn more than £100,000+, according to Ball).
The business model for the company is to charge businesses a listing fee for projects (this is a percentage of their budget for the work but is added on top of the money that goes to the student) but for Coding Cupboard’s launch it’s waiving the fee.
Later this year, it will also be rolling out a “recruitment proposition” to further expand the revenue generation opportunities for the business, adds Ball.
The other co-founders of Coding Cupboard are marketing agency veteran Guy McConnell, formerly a Board Director at Black Cat; Simon Devonshire, Director of Telefonica’s regional incubator academy network, Wayra Europe, and previously General Manager of Small and Medium Business at O2; and Julie Cheetham, also previously a Black Cat Board Director.