Starting a business is perhaps one of the most difficult things possible. The reason for this being all the backend grunt work that goes behind getting it up and running. Hiring staff costs insane amounts of money, and doing certain jobs yourself takes way too much time to learn and perfect. That’s why keeping your sanity by outsourcing certain jobs plays such a pivotal role in the way things get done both cheaply and efficiently.
You’d be pleasantly surprised as to how many of your favorite best-known companies got their startup idea up and running, thanks in large part to outsourcing. These businesses were savvy enough to acquire the services of freelancers in an attempt to save themselves from unnecessarily burning through large amounts of capital.
So without further hesitation, here are 15 successful startups built on outsourcing.
- Slack: This is probably the most popular business communication tool out right now. Just about everyone who works remotely or within a corporate setting uses Slack. The company used outsourcing to build out its platform in the early days. Now it is being valued at around $3 billion.
- Skype: Similar to thousands or millions of businesses operating today, they used a team of foreign developers based in Estonia. This allowed the company to help build out their business. As a result, the company grew and became an industry leader in VOIP (Voice-over-IP) communication services. Later the company would be acquired by Microsoft for several billion dollars.
- Basecamp: The same kind of business savvy when it comes to saving money by outsourcing worked for Basecamp, a technology leader.
- Github: Before the company started helping people build software, they used numerous folks who completed development working remotely from home. Not to mention, one of the founders of the company was hired as a consultant on an outsourcing basis.
- Klout: To help get its technology off the ground, the company relied on many outsourced developers to get things where it needed to be before it launched. Now Klout is one of the leaders in helping people who want to be great at social media.
- Alibaba: Alibaba is the biggest global marketplace you can access online. However, what people don’t know is the company initially outsourced its development to a firm in the U.S. in its beginning days. At the time, overseas development talent was still in short supply and the U.S. had the skills Alibaba needed to compete with e-commerce giants like eBay and did it all behind the Chinese internet restrictions. Outsourcing development to contractors can provide affordable talent to a startup when it needs it the most.
- SeatGeek: This company found a considerable cost benefit to outsourcing specific tasks to talent in other countries. That helped them build their infrastructure quicker at less cost than hiring in-house staff. The founder Jack Groetzinger has publicly stated how he’s a firm believer in the power of outsourcing in the early stages.
- AppSumo: The company has used many freelancers in various fields, including marketing, content and IT to grow its business. AppSumo is proud of the fact that it was started with just a modest 50 bucks. Crazy, right?
- Staff.com: Earns its money as a company that offers outsourced talent and freelancers for other organizations. Staff.com utilized a similar model like many of the companies on this list in growing from a start-up into a globally successful business.
- UpWork: Isn’t it ironic that a company that specializes in crowdsourced work was also built on the same principles? Well, that’s the beginnings of how UpWork started, as they were built by contractors. Most of the company’s engineering staff is comprised of talent they hired off their own ODesk marketplace.
- Fab.com: This company’s e-commerce platform was built by using a software development firm in India. Over time, Fab.com saw that the site’s needs were more robust and, as a result, purchased the India firm. The company succeeded in its outsourcing efforts in large part due to top-level execs’ skill at managing the outsourcing process.
- Groove: Before being acquired by Microsoft, this SaaS (software-as-a-service) company made the decision to outsource the technical aspects of growing its business through a firm. Thus, allowing for the company to save money it would’ve otherwise spent on hiring a full-time staff.
- Opera: This web browser was strapped for cash, so paying for top notch developers was out of the equation. Instead, the company made the smart decision to hire developers in other countries to implement its platform.
- Gliffy: Way before Gliffy was able help professionals create UML diagrams, floor plans, Venn diagrams, flowcharts and various other kinds of diagrams online, it had to be extremely resourceful with limited funds. As a result, the company relied on outsourcing for specific aspects of its technology development.
- Mailburn: These guys made the calculated decision to partner up with an outsourced service provider. This allowed for the company to build its business communication platform with backward compatibility with email.
We hope you enjoyed this list of successful startups that defied the odds and became leaders of their industry using outsourcing development as a key tool. Be sure to check out our outsourcing services here.