Which software consultants do startups love to work with?

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Outsourcing engineering has become more common in recent years, so we’re starting a new initiative to profile the software consultants who startups love to work with the most. Founders and other startup leaders, just fill out this quick survey with a few more details to help us find the right ones.

For our first profile, we interviewed Joshua Davidson, CEO of Chop Dawg earlier this week. “We’ve been around since the early days, and we have maintained relevancy,” he explains. “If you asked one of our partners … I think what they’re going to tell you is that longevity allows us to tell people not just what to do, but that we know why to do it that way, and how to be more pragmatic — save time, save energy, but also know what not to do. From being around so long, we’ve probably made every mistake you can possibly think of. Which is an advantage.” The software development agency has worked on more than 350 digital products since its founding in 2009, for startups of all sizes.

More details in the link below. But first, here are some of the reviews we’re already getting from the new survey.

Consultant: Appetiser Apps
Recommended by: Andre Eikmeier, founder of Good Empire
Testimonial: “They had a good reputation globally and had produced some good products. We also liked their flexible model — we were able to use our CTO to lead a team of six devs from the Appetiser team, with occasional UX/UI, product management and project management as needed, it was properly collaborative, not a blackbox agency arrangement. So we were able to build capability in house at the same time, rather than dependency. [Working with them] allowed us to get a first iteration of product to market from scratch in three months. We were able to build iOS and Android versions simultaneously.”

Consultant: Aloa
Recommended by: Samir Mirza, Fifth Star Funds
Testimonial: “Fifth Star Funds (our fund) is a venture philanthropy fund focused on closing the funding gap for Black founders, at the family and friends round. We’re an evergreen fund, so as the startups we invest in grow, all returns are funneled back into the fund so we can invest in more founders (hence the philanthropic portion). Aloa is our dev partner because they have integrity. First, they’re aligned with our mission and offering at-cost services to anyone we invest in. Second, they have helped perform work for some of our team members and built our website pro-bono. Aloa understands the pain points of outsourcing. They aren’t going to just tell you what to do, they’re going to understand what your business problems are and figure out how to best solve it with technology. In instances, they’ve turned potential clients away encouraging them to use no-code tools as Aloa wasn’t worth their money yet.”

Consultant: Ajmera InfoTech
Recommended by: Chintan Bakshi, Skyku
Testimonial: “As a startup CTO, I was looking to work with a team that can be sustained for multiple years of development and product launch. Our small team and company, which was bootstrapped, tried to invest and train new hires, but would eventually lose junior developers through attrition because of a competitive landscape. In Ajmera Infotech, we found experienced architects and developers that we have been able to work with through multiple releases. We have built trust and can truly leverage offshore time zones to gain 16-18 hours of productivity. For our company, this has allowed us to stay within our budget and continue to add value into our product and services.”

Consultant: Goncalo (Gonka) Moraes, Rishabh Jaipuria (RJ) from DevGrid
Recommended by: Leo Malave, co-founder and CTO of Orbix360 Inc
Testimonial: “We went from running a ‘hobby’ SaaS offering to running a real company with goals, releases and a growing customer base. Thanks to DevGrid, we have an achievable product roadmap, revenue model and plans to solicit investment.”

Consultant: Cultum
Recommended by: Deji Ariyo, Laudah
Testimonial: “[We chose them for their] expertise, transparency, cost-effectiveness and willingness to help. [They] helped, and are still helping, to translate our idea to a market-ready solution that customers love.”

Consultant: ManagedKube
Recommended by: Garland Kan, consultant
Testimonial: “[They have] a deep understanding of cloud technology and how to use that in combination with open source software to get us an infrastructure that is scalable but easy to understand and maintain. They were literally trying to make themselves obsolete!”

Consultant: Appetiser Apps
Recommended by: Matt Brennan, TradeNow
Testimonial: “The Appetiser team has developed great leading applications and also believed in the vision of TradeNow from the very start. We were able to develop a great working relationship early on and continue this along the journey.”

Consultant: Aloa
Recommended by: David Pawlan, Bracketology
Testimonial: “Aloa approaches this space differently. They aren’t in love with their solution; they’re in love with the problem of outsourcing. Before they determine how to best handle our experience, they first understand us as a business. Then, rather than serving as a dev shop, they essentially provide the infrastructure necessary to have a seamless experience. They’ve vetted through over 10,000 firms and match you with the one that makes the most sense for you. They have a PM tool focused on client-facing project management. They have an invoicing tool so we don’t have to deal with international fees, exchange rates or international tax compliance. They have an audit process that is based off custom development strategies they built out for us. They then also have a strategist, someone in the U.S., who serves as an account manager in case I need anything. What’s wild is they do all of this at still an outsourced price. They helped us not only grow our tech, but they helped us understand how we were growing our tech. One of the greatest values is their focus on education. I’m not a technical leader, so the ability to understand the process of what is happening, allowing me to speak more intelligently about the product, has been incredible.”

Software Consulting

(TechCrunch+) Investors share how infrastructure as code is taking over DevOps: “Infrastructure as code (IaC) has been gaining wider adoption among DevOps teams in recent years, but the complexities of data center configuration and management continue to create problems — and opportunities.” Karan spoke with some of the top investors in IaC startups. He asked them questions like, “Which areas do you think IaC’s capability to set up any cloud resource will be most used” and “How can a startup trying to establish itself as a provider of IaC set itself apart from the competition?”

Driving AI innovation in tandem with regulation: Will Uppington, guest contributor for TechCrunch, CEO and co-founder of TruEra, writes about how the regulation of AI could slow down its growth in Europe. Uppington says, “The main thrust of the EC regulations is to place new requirements on “high-risk” AI systems. These include AI systems used for remote biometric identification, public infrastructure management, hiring and employment, creditworthiness assessment and education, as well as for various public-sector use cases, such as dispatching first responders.”

App agency Chop Dawg on helping startups build for the long term: Miranda Halpern spoke with Davidson about trends in the app development industry, how the popularity of outsourcing tech has changed since the pandemic and more. One thing you should know about Chop Dawg is that Davidson says, “As a company, we purposely are constantly just trying to be better and better at what we do. Even today, with my CEO hat on, I’m constantly like, “How can our process improve? What new technologies can we adapt? What do new design trends, technology trends can we be leveraging?” I think that’s probably one of the things I’m most proud of.”

Help TechCrunch find the best growth marketers for startups.

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Growth Marketing

(TechCrunch+) As Apple messes with attribution, what does growth marketing look like in 2021?”: Danny walks through a recap of his panel at TechCrunch Disrupt 2021. Danny says, “Growth provides revenues, venture capital, prestige and scale — ultimately driving the success of every business. Yet, measuring growth is complex and challenging — and it’s only getting tougher. Changes to attribution in iOS 14 and further refinements in iOS 15, plus other privacy-preserving initiatives in the industry, have forced growth marketers to rethink how they define their growth analytics engines.” Read on to see what his panel members have to say.

Why generic marketing approaches don’t work on software developers: Anna Heim interviewed Adam DuVander, a developer marketer and author of “Developer Marketing Does Not Exist.” DuVander says, “The book title is a call to these marketers to treat their technical audience differently. To reach more developers requires more education and less promotion. Your ‘marketing’ should not feel like marketing.”

(TechCrunch+) 5 common growth marketing mistakes startups make: Jonathan Martinez dives into common growth marketing mistakes, and what startups can do to fix them. Martinez says, “A common thread of mistakes connects most startups that try their hand at growth marketing. Some frequent errors include performance metrics not being correctly measured, product and growth teams working in silos, low testing velocity and failure to consider the entire marketing funnel.”

(TechCrunch+) B2B marketing tactics that can help move the needle: Ryan Narod, marketing lead at Mutiny, walks us through 10 marketing tactics. One piece of advice Nord gives us is, “When a target account lands on your pricing page, one of the most helpful things you can do is surface ROI for them right away. The easiest way to calculate your ROI is by vertical.”

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