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What inspired you to start your own company?

A particular passion? A desire for independence? Necessity?

The ReadWriteWeb blog has an interesting post on the “Accidental Entrepreneur“, which I came across from seeing the Penninsula Technology Incubator‘s facebook page.  It quotes a Forrester report talking about how many businesses today are being started by those who have lost their previous job and decide to start a new company rather than seek new employment.

History repeating itself

It reminds me of during the 2000 dot-com bust.  In 1999 I was working as a software developer for Value America, which was supposed to be Amazon before Amazon really existed.  It’s an interesting story, but I learned an awful lot about what to do and even more, what not to do, when starting your own company.  I also learned I don’t really like writing Siebel code.

In the spring of 2000 Value America had gone through a couple rounds of layoffs, and I chose to leave the company.  I joined another upstart company in the area called Musictoday (now owned by LiveNation and Ticketmaster), but many other veterans of Value America started their own businesses in Central Virginia instead.  Some have survived, some didn’t.  It was an interesting time.

Regardless of your motivations for becoming an entrepreneur, the current economy (and perhaps your own personal finances) means that you need to be very lean.  If you can’t do the development yourself, or you are growing beyond your ability to do all the development yourself, then you need a development partner like AgilityFeat.

We do our development in Costa Rica, which means we can pass on hourly rates to you that are 1/2 to 1/3 of what you would pay most US companies.  But we also have experienced entrepreneurs like myself in both Costa Rica and the US, which means that we can provide more than just lower cost development services.  Combine that with our highly responsive agile process methodologies and you’ve got a great formula for outsourced development to startups.

What kind of startup are you?

Here’s a few categories you may fall into and how AgilityFeat’s team can help you…

1 – “Just Getting Started”

If you are just getting started, then you probably don’t have a lot of funds yet to build the full product out or hire the full size development team you really need.  We may still be able to help you out for relatively small fees by doing the following:

  • Estimating future costs
  • Building wireframes and visual designs of your concepts so you can sell it to investors
  • Building a bare bones Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to prove the concept
  • Setup a landing page to help you gauge interest

2 – “Just getting funded”

At this stage, you’ve got a pretty good idea what you need to do technologically, and you’ve fleshed out the idea enough to get your early seed investment.  Congratulations – that’s a big deal!  Now how are you going to follow through?

You’ll need a full development team to build the next phase of your Minimum Viable Product, or to augment your internal team that got it all started.  You’ll probably need a couple of experienced developers, a User Experience expert to make the application very user-friendly and “sticky”, and a visual designer to make it beautiful.  Plus we can provide experienced project leadership that will be able to go beyond your standard technical advice.  We understand business strategy and lean startup concepts, and we can advise you on all that while we write your software.

Quality of the application is going to start to matter more now as you get through beta phases and are taking payments from your customers.  So good engineering, testing, test automation, and deployment processes will all become critical.  We can set all of that up for you and manage it, or train your internal team to take it over.

3 – “Corporate startup”

The lean times of course affect larger companies as well as the small startups.  More large companies are trying to take the Lean Startup and Agile principles to heart and apply them to innovative internal projects to get a leg up on their competition in a tight market.

Our Costa Rican Code Commandos can become your company’s “Skunk Works” and help you build that revolutionary addition to your product line.