Minimum Viable Product · Web Development

Where to find software developers for early startup, with reasonable rates?

Siarhei Harbachou Specialty Market Researching

January 5th, 2016

Interested to find developers to build product MVP.
What is your recommendations - how do you find engineers with good price/competence balance?

Aleksandra Czajka Freelance Senior Software Engineer, Developer, Web Developer, Programmer - Full Stack

January 5th, 2016


Where to start unwrapping your question?

Do you want a cheap product? Then search for cheap developers. 

Remember... A players hire A employees.... B players hire C employees. Which one would you like to hire to build the base of your business?

With that said, get someone that could really help you on the tech side. If you don't know much about the base of what your business is going to be tech-wise then you don't just need a developer. You need someone that will give you suggestions, direct you in the appropriate direction, fight back if you're trying to make a move that will not work or that should be done in a different way. You won't get that with cheap developers. You will get that only with people that want top dollar... because they know they are worth it. 

Would you rather pay 2 hours at $120/hr or 10 hours at $50/hr? You have to take that into consideration. With experience comes faster understanding, faster output, and a higher price. 

For that, I would check LinkedIN and start with people in your network. Search LinkedIN groups about development, etc. See who you can find. Checkout their references, history, etc. 

Good Luck.

Michael Barrett Entrepreneur - Writer - Investor

January 7th, 2016

If you are not very technical, hire a tech lead internally to serve as your champion and primary driver of the team.  Then let that person build a team with the vendors or consultants they're comfortable with. 

If you don't have the money to hire a tech lead and you're not technical... you are in for a lot of pain.  Your vendor will not enjoy working with you either.

If you are very technical yourself, work with a nearshore vendor (Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, etc.).  Visit them, build a real relationship with them, and hold their feet to the fire on delivery.  Pay what they want but ask for their best people and their best work. Latin culture is mostly about relationship and pride, two things that will help you create a solid MVP.

Emil Safier

January 12th, 2016

If you are building an MVP, namely, a MINIMUM VIABLE product whose sole purpose is to enable you to demonstrate the idea either to early adopters or investors, then by all means stay lean, and that means either:

  • Finding local inexpensive talent.
    •  inexperienced developers want an opportunity to work on challenging projects, and often are very talented, but touch to find.   
    • Find that gem and sell them on the startup idea, offer them early employee benefits (equity), basically persuade them to be part of your lean start up vision.
    • Experienced developers who believe in the success of your startup idea can be persuaded to join you as tech co-founders.   That is a great way to go, since you are building a company you both believe in.
    • Doing this you are building not only the MVP, but your company.
  • Find reliable and talented offshore resources - there are plenty out there.
    • There are some caveats when working with an offshore team.  
    • You are dealing with time zone differences and cultural differences.
    • You are communicating with people you probably have not met and who are not invested in your projects, just their profits.
    • There is no long term bond.   This is just about getting the MVP done, and not about building a company (obviously there are exceptions).
  • If you take the Entrepreneur's view point then building your team at the same time as you are building the MVP makes sense, since a Pivot in your product is easier to do if you have a local team committed to the product rather than an offshore team committed to keeping a contract. 
  • Startups with internal teams have a value that startups that were built by third parties do not.   Very often, the value of a startup is based as much on the strength of the team as on the product idea.   
So basically this is not just a decision about building the MVP, but ultimately how you put together your dev team impacts the value of the startup.

Rami Dridi Dridi Rami

Last updated on December 3rd, 2018


Saïd PhD Tech Entrepreneur, Search Expert, Digtal Marketer

January 5th, 2016

Hi Siarhei,

Do you have a clear idea and solid specifications about your product, or are you going through a trial-and-error process? The difference is huge when it comes to select engineers. Some engineers get frustrated when requirements change all the time. If this is the case, you need to find specific engineers that are entrepreneurs who can iterate and pivot with you without any frustration. Actually, it should be fun for them to go through the process and validate the hypothesis. In this case, it's too early to talk about quality of software. You just need to build an MVP that doesn't need to scale. Once you find your product/market fit, you start thinking about scalability, growth and software quality.

You can find on LinkedIn freelancers/consultants who have entrepreneurship skills (previous founders of startups).

If your specifications are clear and won't change much, then you can go with a consulting firm that has a track record. They will follow a certain process and deliver on time. You should talk to their customers for reference.

Last, but not least. The skills of the engineers must fit with your specific needs. Not every engineer is good for everything related to computers. If you need specific expertise (e.g., analytics, geo data, NLP, Search, AI, etc.), then you should find the right engineer with the right skills.

Feel free to PM me if you have any question.


Davidson Atere-Roberts An innovation hub owner and a startup founder.

December 25th, 2016

Another option is to search on the freelance/upwork websites as well on here. The main prerequisite should be the work commitment of the developer(s), as people have mentioned expensively priced developers doesnt necessarily guarantee satisfaction or commitment.

Doug Wheeler Founder at Partskeeper LLC

September 19th, 2017

I have spent the last 10 years working with software development teams in Sarajevo, Bosnia, both as employees of our wholly-owned subsidiary and in an outsource model. I have found the technical talent there to be very strong and English-speaking - so good in fact that this is my third company using software devs in Sarajevo.

As my new company is small and self-funded (and I’m not a developer), I wanted an outsource dev shop and went back to Sarajevo to find the right one. In my search, I was introduced by a trusted friend to a team in Sarajevo that I cannot recommend more highly.

They are super smart technically, English-speaking and have a strong skill set covering a range of capabilities including front-end, back-end, UI/UX, security and native mobile. Most importantly - they are very collaborative. I work with them the same way I used to work with employee developers - we work collectively as one team. If there is a problem, they do what it takes to get it solved, regardless of the hour.

They are based in Stockholm and Sarajevo and have built a number of impressive projects in Europe. They are busy and selective and prefer longer term engagements, but have interest in expanding their client base to the US. If this sounds interesting message me and I’ll make an intro.

Ignacio Juarez CEO & Founder @ TRATO | Ofrecemos Tecnología para la Gestión de Contratos con Firma Electrónica Avanzada |

January 8th, 2016

This is a great question. And I advice you to be cautious about the cheap or expensive rate of a developer. I have met "cheap" developers that are far more committed and with an outstanding work than "expensive" (prima donna) types. My advice to you is to find a CTO for your company in case you are not familiar with technology that can help you hire the best fit for your job. Personally, I like to work with someone "in-house" since I like to get involved every day in the first impression of the product. Over time, a team will handle the detail aspects of the product, but since you are looking to build an MVP, it is very important that your idea is clearly reflected in the product that will be shown to your early users. So ask your friends and colleagues if they know a good software developer and begin your quest for success. Good luck!

victor jack Web delveloper

Last updated on December 3rd, 2018

Don't worry too much on the pricing, instead think more of the quality terms. As the prize increase so will it be with the quality.

Aleksandar Varnicic

Last updated on September 20th, 2017

There are too many philosophical answers to the specific question.

The answer is east Europe - Serbia, Ukraine, Bulgaria etc. etc.

You will get deal "best buy".

What it "best buy"?

The developers in east Europe aren't the best developers and for sure not the cheapest, but for very reasonable price you can get excellent quality.