What was the scope of their involvement?
We did this project from scratch. MentorMate's team is responsible for all of the programming and most of the QA for the development of our iOS and Android apps, from version one through to today, and over the course of 100 different versions of the app.
They don't develop our internal server logic, our database, or our application layer, but they do build the apps themselves, which is a pretty substantial contribution. Both the Android and iOS apps are native.
They assisted in strategy and design, but we lead those fields. They helped us with the app store process. Whether they facilitate the release independently or we will participate in the release, is up to us. They will take that process as far as we request them to go.
A key feature that they've helped us to develop over the years is a video product which rewards members for watching video content, monetized with video advertising and display advertising. It required MentorMate to get a better understanding of advertising technology, specifically related to video ad tech.
What is the team dynamic?
They essentially are our iOS and Android development team, and we work with them in that capacity. Although the development team of MentorMate is based in Bulgaria off-site and is a consulting company, we work very closely with them and consider them an external extension of our team.
We communicate directly with the developers. The outsourced Bulgaria team usually consists of six individuals, two iOS developers, two Android developers, and two QA engineers. We also worked with two local Minneapolis-based individuals, one project manager, and one solutions architect. In general, we usually work with eight people.
How did you come to work with MentorMate?
Through networking and word-of-mouth within the Twin Cities. Our decision to go with MentorMate primarily came down to a combination of two different things. Firstly, their pricing is competitive, especially because they outsource the development to Bulgaria. Secondly, they were interested in partnering with us and working closely. We got the impression that they took our project seriously and wanted to work with us long-term, not just for the initial release of the app. We felt like we could work with them for many years and, subsequently, we have.
How much have you invested with them?
We pay them $30,000–31,000 a month.
What is the status of this engagement?
We started working together in June 2013.