Ask thoughtbot: What is Kickstart?

Kristof Bardos of Digital Natives asks:

Dear thoughtbot, I read about ‘Web Business Kick Start’ as one of your services. My question is, are you acting as a startup incubator, or merely like a kind of consultancy of tech and other business areas?

The Kickstart is somewhere in-between a startup incubator and our normal development engagement where we do agile, iterative development from concept to production.

In addition to the normal application development we usually do, we give our customer office space in our office and assist them in hiring a team to replace us. The people they eventually hire work right alongside us, being trained in Rails if necessary, our process for developing software, and the application itself.

After launch, and when the team is ready, we step away and the company goes on its own.

The Kickstart differs from a more traditional incubator in that we charge our normal application development rates, and we don’t assist with the legal setup and organization of the company. However, there are no additional charges for any of the other services. We don’t typically take equity in the kickstart companies, but it is something we are open to and evaluate on a case by case basis.

Building a successful business is about more than just the software we build. As with all of our customers, we take an interest in helping them succeed. Introducing them to our other contacts and potential investors who might help to make their dream a reality.

The majority of businesses we work with come to us with little more than the concept, typically in the form of a pitch-deck or wireframes. They are typically a single founder or a pair of co-founders who are either self-funded or have a small amount of angel investment. Most applications are launched, to production, in 4-8 weeks from the start of the project, and then go onto ongoing iterations from there.

Take a look at a video we produced with two of our customers.

I hope that answers some of the common questions we get about the Kickstart service.

Do you have a question about how we do something? Get in touch with us and we might feature your question here on the blog.