I’ve been bemoaning the fact that there isn’t a go-to jobs listed site for startups for awhile now. What’s a skilled developer searching for the next big thing to do? And what about those founders who just can’t seem to find the developer with the right set of skills?
I’m beginning to think, however, that this gap in service might exist for a reason and it’s because if there’s one thing that startup entrepreneur’s do well, it’s specialization. For example, I recently came across the site TapFame. Rather than generally trying to pull in entrepreneurs looking for jobs or startups looking for employees, TapFame focuses on app developers and the companies who need them.
Then they take it a step further by matching developers with relevant experience with the startups who are looking for those specific skills and the hold the funds for the project for you and dole out the money on a pre-determined schedule, so you founders don’t even have to worry about the payroll part.
Co-founder Satjot Sawhney filled us on a few more of the details about the story behind TapFame and also threw out some great tips for other startup founders out there in the startup-sphere.
What’s TapFame about? What do you do? Who are your customers?
We help businesses find and hire great freelance mobile app developers. Hundreds of iOS and Android developers use TapFame to create a portfolio of all the apps they’ve built. They add in information like rates and location to complete their freelance profile. From there, we are able to connect businesses with the perfect freelancer for their project.
What’s the greatest thing about your company/website? Why is it better than the competition?
There are two things that set us apart from the rest. First, we have so much information about each freelancer’s experience that we are able to match businesses to the perfect mobile app developer. For example, someone looking to build a calendar app was connected with Daniel Amitay, a developer who had previously built ShareCal.
How’d you come up with the name for your company?
Tap signifies what people do with apps – tapping and not clicking. Fame signifies our mission to help mobile app developers get discovered.
What was your first computer? How old were you when you first got on the world wide web?
Compaq desktop in 1995. I was 12.
What time do you usually start work each day? How many hours a day do you usually work?
We usually work in three shifts. Shift one is from home from 8am-11am. Shift two is from the office from noon – 7pm. Shift three is from home from 9pm-midnight. The total is about 13 hours a day.
When’s the last time you went on vacation and where did you go?
Aruba with the family in March of 2012.
What’s the very first thing you do at work every day?
Get one task done from the night before. It might be writing a blog post or fixing a bug or finishing up a feature.
When do your best ideas come to you? In bed in the morning? During dinner? On your third beer?
It’s always the shower for me.
How many people did you start the company with and how many people work for you now?
Our team was just two founders when we started, we now have two additional people on the team, in just in 4 months.
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually go after yours?
This was a story of a pivot. We were selling an SDK to mobile app developers to help them get downloads. While we were doing that, businesses were reaching out to us asking if knew any freelance mobile developers to take on projects. We would be forwarding these requests to the developers we were selling the SDK too – and thats when the business was born!
Remember the early days of starting up? Describe the struggles you went through.
One of the hardest things to do with your product is launch it. Twofold: how do you get the initial distribution and how do you mentally get over the fact that it’s okay to launch early with some broken parts? We got our early traction on Hacker News. We just hit deploy and got over the fact that our product wasn’t perfect!
What’s your office environment like? Do you listen to music? Watch movies? Play video games?
Music is always on in the background. I think collective listening brings people together to a common platform and wavelength.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
We want to be the professional home for mobile app developers. If you’re a mobile developer you come to TapFame before you go to Linkedin and if you’re a business looking for a mobile developer, TapFame is your first option.
Who or what inspires YOU? Role models? Quotes? Running? Video games? Snack food?
There’s a lot, so I’ll go with the most recent. I’m a huge sports fans and football coach Herman Edwards has a quote – “You play to win the game.” I have a goal in mind and I will do everything in my power to achieve it and I won’t stop until we are there.
How’d you fund this venture? VC? Self-funding? Crowdfunded? Where’d you get the money, man?
We initially bootstrapped the venture. We then were fortunate enough to get into an accelerator program in NY called Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator.
Got any great bootstrapping tips for the lean startups out there?
Start charging your customers to find out if you have a business. It’s not enough for them to say, “This is great” or “I would pay for this.” Get their money.
What other advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get started?
Launch. Don’t be afraid to get your product out there into the hands of as many people as possible. Its okay if it’s not perfect or everything doesn’t work 100%. If you have an MVP, just focus on getting it out there.
What would you do if you had a year off and $500,000 to spend (on something other than work)?
Put a lot of it in my brother’s/sisters college funds.
Do you consider yourself a successful entrepreneur? If not, what’ll make you feel successful?
I’m not sure. I hope I never think I’m a successful entrepreneur because that also means there’s a finish line. I want to strive towards excellence and hopefully success will follow.
What is your music streaming player of choice, and what are you listening to right now?
Pandora, currently listening to AR Rahman radio station. He’s inspiring.
Number 1 country you’ve always wanted to visit but haven’t yet? (And why that country?)
Australia – it’s so far from everywhere in the world and I just wonder what it feels like to be there. It’s literally on the other side of the planet.
Three people (other than you) we should follow on Twitter and why?
Dave McClure because he is unorthodox in his thinking, Ramit Sethi because he simplifies life’s problems so you can come up with solutions, and Hiten Shah because he finds great stories to read each day.
Please share some specific numbers (funding, revenue, visitors) that highlight your growth.
Four months after launch we have over 500 iOs/Android freelancers/contractors/companies using TapFame to source work. They have added nearly 1500 apps to their portfolios. Over 150 projects have been submitted to the site.