CTO as a Service

Hidden Founders is a group of developers, product hackers, and startup enthusiasts, who build your Tech Product on a bootstrap-friendly payment plan. The selected startups on the batch get to build their Product with an experienced tech team on a tailored leasing contract.

We founded Hidden Founders back in 2013 when we reflected on how the startup hype was reshaping entrepreneurial landscapes everywhere, and on how we wanted to be part of this momentum. We started out first as a development agency specializing in MVP development but pivoted quickly to offer a model that fit our target better.

 

Hidden Founders model: The Quest for the Really-cheap-but-also-really-good.

The model we developed for Hidden Founders is a package of technical services and startup-savvy business experience with a bootstrap-friendly payment plan. We reduce the financial burden on the startups.

We also help our first-time founders by connecting them with mentors and offering business assistance during Office Hours.

 

Why Founders like us

Hidden Founders provides very definite advantages to its founders:

  • Founders can have a Product on the market and start getting traction early, making future negotiations –with investors or CTOs, for instance- easier. If the product fails, it fails faster and at lesser costs.
  • Founders have access to technical talent with a solid startup experience and business mentors with a proven track record in the startup scene.
  • The shared risk reassures the founders on the fact that we will be committed to the project.
 
$10,000+
 
$25 - $49 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2013
Show all +
New York, NY
headquarters
  • 276 5th Avenue Suite 704-004
    New York, NY 10001
    United States
other locations
  • 26, Rue Jbel Oukaimden, 1st floor
    Rabat 10000
    Morocco

Reviews

Sort by

App Development for Traveling App Prototype

“I saw really good work, good involvement, and a very accessible price.”

Quality: 
0.5
Schedule: 
0.5
Cost: 
0.5
Willing to refer: 
0.5
The Project
 
Less than $10,000
 
Dec. 2015 - Mar. 2016
Project summary: 

Hidden Founders developed a prototype for an application’s user on-boarding process. The on-boarding required gathering geolocation and reverse geolocation data from a user’s photos.

The Reviewer
 
Paris, France
CEO, Startup
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The prototype led to an influx of investment capital. Their deliveries met specifications and expectations, and they were accessible via various platforms.  The finished deliverables were of good quality for their price point.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CEO of a startup. We built an application to share travel recommendations with friends.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Hidden Founders?

I needed them to develop a prototype for the app’s user on-boarding process. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They developed a six to seven screen user onboarding process from the wireframes I provided. The process involved gathering both geo-location and reverse geo-location data from user’s photos. The app was built for iOS.

What is the team composition?

I interacted with one developer.

How did you come to work with Hidden Figures?

One of their customer’s recommended them to me.

How much have you invested with them?

I have invested between €3,000–€4,000 ($3,697–$4,929 USD).

What is the status of this engagement?

The relationship started in December 2015 and ended in March 2016.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

The engagement drove increased investment capital and allowed me to hire another full-time staff member.

How did Hidden Founders perform from a project management standpoint?

We had a stand-up meeting every two days to review the developer’s work. Hidden Founders managed a Trello board and we connected over Skype.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The quality to price ratio exceeded my expectations. I was impressed with their level of involvement compared to other freelancers I have worked with.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They could have respected the deadline more, but I was not pressed for time or pushing them to move faster, so I can’t complain.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Provide a very narrow scope, especially when working with freelancers abroad. The broader the scope, the harder it is to work with someone who is not physically present.

0.5
Overall Score
  • 0.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 0.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 0.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 0.5 NPS
    Willing to refer

App Development for a Startup

“They’ve done incredible work on the brand and UX.”

Quality: 
0.5
Schedule: 
0.5
Cost: 
0.5
Willing to refer: 
0.5
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Aug. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Hidden Founders is working on iOS application development. Using Swift, they are developing a solution for Wi-Fi hotspot management, including UX work.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Paris, France
Steny Solitude
CEO, Beacon & Eggs
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The prototype is still in beta testing, with all deliverables looking clean and high quality. They are dedicated, hard-working, and focused on developing a good product while taking time to understand the product and its goals.

A Clutch analyst personally interviewed this client over the phone. Below is an edited transcript.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We’re a startup company developing a mobile platform. I’m the founder and CEO of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Hidden Founders?

One of the challenging features of our platform is Wi-Fi hotspot management, which Apple has a strict policy for. We needed a simple solution and UX for managing the technically complex options.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They’re developing our app for iOS using Swift. We’ll start work on an Android version using Kotlin later in the year. 

What is the team composition?

I’ve been in contact with almost everyone on the team and was involved in the initial selection of resources. I explained my project and goals to their co-founders, then met with a growth hacking specialist to discuss my strategy for evolving the app and attracting users.

I’m constantly in touch with their project manager and the production team. We’re using one designer, two frontend developers, and two backend developers.

How did you come to work with Hidden Founders?

I received quotes from different development shops that I found online. They proposed a more involved collaboration, which would allow me to discuss my strategy and goals with the team. They offered a smoother financing solution with monthly payments and you can quit after 6 months if not satisfied. To compensate, they explained that they take a small share of my company if successful. This meant that they would be more likely to deliver a great product and allow us to keep paying them. They presented a fair offer and seemed to have a very good technical team. Also, because of this model, they would be taking a small risk, that's why there is a selection process. 

How much have you invested with them?

We have spent around $38,000 so far.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with them in August 2017. We have an ongoing 18-month contract. I plan to continue using them until the app has had success with users, and then possibly build an Android version.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We haven’t pushed the MVP version to too many users so far. It’s still in technical beta, with some user test flights being done by around 10 people.

I would praise their receptivity and willingness to understand my vision. They took the time to discuss the mood of the app, and what types of users and contexts I imagined for it. They’ve done incredible work on the brand and UX and always take time to explain their direction.

How did Hidden Founders perform from a project management standpoint?

Even though they weren’t part of the startup, I needed to make them believe in it. In the first three months, we set up an approach to communication and a sprint schedule. This required maintaining a leadership role on my end and collaborating closely with their team.

The start of the project was well-defined in terms of project management tools and development phases. Their manager took the time to explain every step. 

We are using email for communication and there was full transparency on their side. There may be other tools used on their side, but we mainly used Trello and Jira as well. 

What did you find most impressive about them?

They produce very fast and clean deliverables, even after changing some requirements. I haven’t had the chance to look at the code yet, but I plan to show it to some developer friends. They put a lot of effort into creating a current and friendly UX for the app. Their greatest strength is approaching the product as if it was their own.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They had some turnover in its development team—which is expected, given the scarce nature of coding talent—but I’ve never experienced an issue with this.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

It’s important for clients to be clear about what they want from the team—in terms of design and technical features—and to ask questions whenever necessary. We each have expertise in our own domains, and I’m sure they are also looking for good partners. Having substantial design or development skills is not essential for a client, but it’s important to have complete requirements from the start.

0.5
Overall Score There is always room for progress.
  • 0.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    I’ve never had an issue with sprint planning and discussing priorities.
  • 0.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    There are cheaper developers elsewhere, but they won’t have the strategic approach of Hidden Founders.
  • 0.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 0.5 NPS
    Willing to refer
    It would depend on the situation. Hidden Founders is not the ideal choice for everyone.