Can you share any outcomes from the project that demonstrate progress or success?
Project was late, overbudget, and poor quality. We had to cancel three customer contracts due to the quality of work provided by Anthroware.
After five weeks of QA, one client asked if we had tested the product whatsoever before we provided it to them to test drive, then promptly canceled the pilot, citing that it was nowhere near completion.
How effective was the workflow between your team and theirs?
Anthroware required our team to be in stand up meetings three times a week; however, timelines were never discussed. Anthroware staff would simply say 'No blocks' and avoid discussing timelines whatsoever.
Finances were similarly guarded. Despite numerous asked to see the burn rate Anthroware would not provide runway until two weeks before a nine-day development gap as we had pre-paid for QA before not expecting development to be double to the amount they originally estimated.
What did you find most impressive about this company?
I am impressed that Anthroware is still in business. Besides thei team's ineffective resource management, their inability to meet deadlines and appalling customer success are beyond reasonable comprehension.
My favourite example of Anthroware's customer success involved Anthroware's CEO, Jon Jones, calling me when I mentioned to the Anthroware development team that we lost a contract because they had not completed the project on time with, "I don't care how you feel. Never bum out my team for being behind schedule."
Anthroware's CEO then threatened to pull the technical team off our mobile project entirely so we would lose further revenue.
Are there any areas for improvement?
After going over the established budget and timelines, Anthroware CEO Jon Jones requested equity in our company to complete the product his team was unable to complete in the established time and budget.
After we refused he extorted us into signing another contract at a higher rate; otherwise, we would lose the $200,000+ investment we had already made.
His email reads as follows:
"Aaron, I’m not sure how concerned [Investor 1] and [Investor 2] would be with you investing your own shares and not diluting their investments... Regardless, based on the posture you’re taking, it doesn’t look like that is going to work for either of us.
I have one other option that I’ve been saving because I don’t like it as much; but does take into account our risk AND gets you through the Oct. launch without messing around with equity.
Safe to say we view your equity differently than you do, so here is option B (or C, D, E... ).
Right now you’re getting a special rate because you’re pre-paying and we gave you a startup discount. It’s about 13% below our regular rate of $150/hr. The new deal is simple, we remove that and flip it the other way. Instead of a discounted rate, you pay 20% higher ($180/hr) and we move to Time and Materials billing.
Effectively, it’s expensive debt. Just lasts through MVP and you get paid, then we go back to a rate that makes sense and maybe even talk about that “Anthroware Ventures” thing with an even lower rate for members.
No equity exchanged at this time at all. We’re all just trying to cover this gap and get you squared away. Just being clear that we’re gambling with my money, so we need to see that come back somehow."
The contract we were extorted into signing came with a total that was double the original estimate. Anthroware refusing to extend repayment deadlines beyond two months despite claiming to support the growth of startups in his community.
Areas of Improvement include:
- Untrustworthy and irrational leadership
- Inability to manage time and resources effectively
- Poor communication of project finances and deadlines
- Inability to manage staff effectively
- Lack of professionalism
- Yelling at clients after losing contracts because work is behind schedule
- Extorsion for equity in our company after mismanaging pre-paid resources and not meeting schedule deadlines
- Disregard for laws and legal agreements
- Increased hourly rates after they went over budget, and we would not provide them equity in our company
- Irrational, irreverent, and unprofessional