What we can do for you depends on who you are and where you’re at.

You have an idea or concept pre-funding or bootstrapping
We’ll perform user research, assess your idea for feasibility and effort, prototype it, and be your technical co-founder.
You have a strong concept, funding, and are looking for your first customers
We’ll establish learning metrics, build and launch your MVP, establish an iterative release-and-learn cycle.
You’re in market but need to bring costs in line with revenue
We’ll help you build a remote-first operations and / or product development team in Eastern Europe.

What makes a good fit?

Maybe you’ve cultivated a business idea in parallel with your established career. You’re likely business-focused, good at partnerships and management. You could be building out a stealth concept within your company or out on your own; you could be venture funded or even bootstrapped.

You’re comfortable co-creating, and letting people do what they’re best at.

What kinds of things can we build together?

If you’re trying to solve a problem, make the world a better place, or even delight somebody, then we’d love to talk about your ideas. We’ve built software prototypes for web, mobile apps, social apps, voice assistants, augmented reality. Integrated apparel and light manufacturing. We’ve leveraged real-world integration, customization, international logistics.

We’re technology agnostic, because mostly we want to be able to leverage the work done by the open source community. If your problem can be solved with augmented reality, we’re going to use whatever hooks we have to leverage ARKit on iOS. If there is an HVAC controller that needs to run for a year without recharging on an embedded device, then we’re going to go all in on C++ and Arduino for a prototype. If your AI needs to predict whether a lesion is skin cancer, we’re going to massively parallel cloud infrastructure to get that answer back fast.

We’re proficient in Ruby on Rails development, python prototyping, Javascript-to-native mobile application development. Unless there’s a good reason not to, we use AWS for Rails back-end applications and Netlify for Javascript front-end applications. If we find something faster, we use it.

What does a technical co-founder do?

When I serve as your technical co-founder, you continue to hold the vision while I probe the depths of the market, assess whether your vision can be achieved in this decade | year | quarter. Together we make a pitch that reflects both your vision and the real world, and deliver / refine until we get funding. I clean up and speak well, and I stay committed until we win.

Whether or not we build a functional prototype based on Salesforce or WordPress to get past the first hurdle, as your technical co-founder I will stay with you to validate not only the product idea but also to establish an architecture that scales into the realm of what we agree is ‘success’.

Why Eastern Europe?

The ratio of education and English language proficiency to average salary in Bulgaria is the highest in the European Union. Bulgaria is small, about the size of North Carolina in area and population. But unless you need 10,000 developers, tomorrow, it’s big enough to launch your company. The literacy rates compared with the lack of technology companies native to Bulgaria make it a great place to recruit motivated, curious, balanced people.

How long will it take? How much will it cost?

If a product idea can get to market in 3-9 months, it’s a good fit for us. If the product concept can’t be tested in that timeframe, then it’s probably too big for us, or needs to be refined down. We don’t want you to keep iterating on a prototype that never gets tested in-market.

Budget for a small web dev team for 3-6 months (product, design, dev) varies from $25K – $100K. Physical product prototyping, packaging development, launch marketing are services that typically need to be sourced in a specific domain, and it would be difficult to estimate them without vetting the product concept. Before committing a team to work, a statement of work with budget guidance and some payment up front is required.

Walk to run

Many people want to work with a partner after a trial period. That’s a good idea. We enjoy seeing lots of new ideas and typically can help an entrepreneur with user research, product strategy, early-stage design and visual prototyping as a lead-in to a decision to go to build. That phase could be 2-6 weeks.

What we're thinking about

Lada Niva offroad

How To Buy a Used Car in Bulgaria

I *thought* I had bought my last combustion engine automobile years ago in San Francisco. The city of San Francisco and the state of California have done a good job of making the environmental impact of using a car commensurate with the price of operating one. I love biking, and I never thought I would buy another car. But priorities change. In Bulgaria it doesn’t make sense to buy a new car. The quality of

Read More »

Get Out of the Muddy Middle

Look at your feature roadmap (the list of all the features you think are integral to your mature product, as you see it now). Now divide that feature list into three columns. The first column consists of features that you understand very well, that are unique and core to your product. You invented, or intend to invent, or otherwise acquire those solutions. You have either 1. assessed the feasibility of building those things, and you

Read More »

Why We Should Have Flown to Istanbul (or Ten Reasons Not to Drive to Istanbul)

Recently my dad and his wife visited Bulgaria, and we decided to go to Istanbul as part of the fun, and step foot in Asia as part of their Southern European itinerary. With a new car, I was excited to drive there, in order to see more of Bulgaria and Turkey along the way. In roughly reverse order of importance, here are the reasons we should have flown instead: Parking. It was actually pretty convenient

Read More »

What I Learned about VAT Producing Goods in the EU

You’ve been to Europe as a tourist. You walk for endless thirsty hours. You would sell your mother for a bench to nap on. You get home after dark and you pee for the first time of the day. And you have what seems like a hundred tiny paper receipts in your pocket. Have a look. They all have something called ‘VAT’ on them. VAT stands for ‘Value-Added Tax’. Twenty percent! Holy smokes–what a racket.

Read More »

At webit: in ‘Sofia Digital Capital’

Sofia has a lot to offer tech entrepreneurs. One thing I didn’t expect to find is an event that attracts startups, sponsors and investors from all over Europe, and speakers and attractions from all over the world. I was really impressed with the physical prototypes of assistive technology. Here is a company iRise (I think they’ll run into problems with this name in the US) that’s building great stuff. Their very first prototype is in

Read More »

Become Twice as Interesting by Being From Someplace Else

Stateside folks know the phenomenon: native English speakers from anywhere outside the US get at least thirty extra IQ points when they pass through customs. It doesn’t matter if you’re English, Irish, Aussie, Kiwi, South African: you get smarter, better looking, more persuasive just by being from someplace else. As a youngster in Western Europe, there was cachet attached to Americans. That’s gone now, for the most part. But in Eastern Europe there are still remnants

Read More »