Editor note: This post is sponsored by online recruiting site Elance.com
We wrote about Bokavård.se last year, soon after announcing that they’d joined the Schibsted family. The services helps consumers find and compare clinics, practitioners and treatments. On the other side, clinics have a channel to acquire customers which is more focused than say Google Adwords. The site also handles booking and payment – so it seems to be quite a handy service for consumers. Today, only 2% of health care bookings are made online, but I’m sure that number will increase over the next few years – so with Schibsted behind them – they are well placed to take that market.
What many people don’t know about Bokavård.se – is that they are one of many startups that have built their technical team by using remote and outsourced developers, using sites like Elance to find and manage talent.
I was curious to find out more about this process, so I spoke with CEO Amir Mofidi for a chat about the process and what advice he has for companies looking at outsourcing development.
On using Elance to build out their tech team
“The first challenge was to build the site and booking platform to get us started. Since I’m not a developer myself and I didn’t have any dev resource at hand I had to start scouting for one. I looked at hiring someone, web agencies and I got a tip from a friend to check for offshore developers via Elance too. Hiring someone was to risky and wouldn’t provide enough capacity. The web agencies I met had to much to do and maintained a high price level. So we ended up hiring offshore resources in India to start working on our platform.
For us it’s been an overall positive experience. We tried a couple of teams and ended up with one team that did most of the work. Working with different time zones and cultures is a bit challenging but pretty soon we got the hang of it and work proceed pretty well. This way we managed to build up a beta-platform entirely from scratch to the point when landed an investment from Schibsted. Since we were bootstrapped until then it had not been possible to make it any other way.”
Advice for other startups looking to outsource development
- Evaluate and test the resources thouroughly before you hire them. If you’re not a developer find someone you trust to do it.
- Make sure to hire a specific namegiven resource or else the resource might suddenly have changed without you knowing it.
- Use a marketplace, such as Elance, to handle time tracking, escrow and disputes.
- Work with fixed price projects when you can to avoid costly surprises.
- Understand the cultural differences when working with people from different countries.