We Build and Scale Great ProductsWith founders and entrepreneurs
We Build and Scale Great ProductsWith founders and entrepreneurs
Your great idea and vast experience can only change the World if you have a product team to execute effectively.
Once your business is proven, you need bolt-on technology capacity or replacement feature teams who still speak agile but can build scalably.
We need brains and attitude to help visionaries change the World in practical steps. Jira ticket processing robots need not apply.
D.Labs can reduce the cost of getting to a
Series A funding round by 50%.
You are a practical visionary — not a dreamer
You imagine the World working in a different way. Perhaps you reimagined how people find a dentist (just in time), how patients interact with their doctor (from wherever they might be), or how your blockchain based startup will fund its product development with an ICO. Maybe it bothers you how global trademarks are created and sold or how data analysts find work.
To do any of these, thechnolgy is needed. It is also an essential part of your success, but also one of your biggest costs, one of your biggest risks and an even larger distraction risk. You need more than engineering talent, you need a partner.
Traditionally, the only choice was to build out a fully internalized technical co-founding team — some people still believe that this is the only way. We believe otherwise and we have an exceptional track record to back up our position.
We believe that much of our success is due to the service that clients would rarely expect from a technology supplier. These services and efforts (outside of normal billable engineering and development) represent our investment into long term partnerships.
We also believe that we don’t build great businesses on our own. Every service we provide and every skilled resource is wasted on the wrong idea or the wrong entrepreneurs. When our teams are combined with founders with solid ideas who can activate their instincts, hustle, learn, and stay involved, all of our upfront investments are more than justified. As a result, we don’t take just anyone with money to spend on technology — we select partners like an investor would and we invest for the long term.
Does it really work?
Yes, but it’s almost never easy — we are going to ask you to work in ways that you may not have imagined but it does work.
Teams at a distance, cost controls with iterative development and all this combined with the business side disruptions are all part of the game we know how to play.
We are optimized for Series A, not for traditional engineering efficiency or traditional scope control.
Are there hard numbers?
The vast majority of startups that we work with survive and continue to partner with us years after our first interaction.
At a client level, some have pivoted, made an exit, or shifted out of startup mode. Almost none have stopped operating.
Given that most of our customers did not exist as a company 12 months before working with us, this track record is nothing short of phenomenal. In truth, this can’t be just our talent, we seem to be a bit lucky as well.
This track record is important to us and is starting to get noticed by more and more investors.
Getting to “Series A”
For us, “Series A” is shorthand for a business that is ready for scaling and maybe even ready for an early exit. Most founders underestimate the amount of work, time, and investment it takes to get to this stage — but you know that already. What to do about that risk, however, is more complex. Here are some of the ways we help:
We help to optimize what can be delayed & make sure the sequence of development is optimal. Usually initial client scope is at least 2x too much and total cost to perfect that scope is underestimated by 5x or more — starting with too much initial scope is the fastest way to burn through cash and eliminate your options.
With synchronized development between the business side work (validation) and the product development cycles, we can shorten the cycle times and costs on both sides of the technical/business divide. No more stockpiling of technology or business learning and waiting for the other side to catch up.
We help decide what technology should be built durable and scaleable as a foundational component vs. what should be built as a temporary validation tool.
We help to identify capability holes and refer clients to others in the D.Labs community: eg. advanced geo marketing, funding driven development help, funding connections, peers / mentors in the same space …
We can reduce the cost to reach “Series A” by 50% over non-specialized engineering and development teams through the use of these and other techniques together.
Exits to date
Yearly revenue retention
When general engineering outsourcing is not appropriate,
but development scale is still needed.
Agile capacity scaling
D.Labs is a technology co-founder team that grows with you. At some point, you need a “real” engineering department at scale. Even if your initial technology was built elsewhere, we have the capacity to grow with you to 20+ team size without any loss of quality. More importantly, we know how build more solid/scalable infrastructure, how to help you recruit your own key engineering leaders (Product Managers, CTOs) and how to help you stand up your own internal teams to either replace our teams or keep both internal and D.Labs teams in place together for even better agility. As your business advances, your internal capabilities and technologies need to advance as well.
What is so different at D.Labs?
Most Enterprise-Class, highly efficient engineering organizations have strong layers of focus. Startup companies and disruptive products; instead, need cross-layer awareness and collaboration — even as they scale. Our engineers understand market pivots, partnering strategies, funding needs, analytics driven development and lots of other concepts that normal engineering teams usually work hard to avoid since they see these as distractions. The trade off is that our teams would never be effective working on product enhancements for SAP engineering!
Almost every engineer knows about agile development practices (eg. Scrum or Kanban) and most are now using some form of it much like most managers now know about the need for being lean & agile. Making these work in practice, living it, and extending the concepts far beyond a few specific code development processes or brainstorming sessions is a completely different matter. D.Labs lives, breathes, and truly believes in lean business development and agile executuion — we simply don’t work any other way.
Getting started with D.Labs
Every new engagement starts with a custom workshop. Each is different based on the situation and need, but all address the non-engineering as well as the development needs of the business & product. Tech audits, business audits, design sprints, analytic reviews, and roadmap design collaborations are common components for these workshops as well as deciding the communication rules and details of each specific partnership.
D.Labs can of course provide high performing engineering development teams. But other skills such as UX, product management, DevOps, analytics, and QA are also part of any evolving D.Labs engagement. What the team needs at the MVP stage or feature build-out phase will be very different than growth stage. Very few in reality need “just coding” and if they do, they are probably not a good match for D.Labs.
In addition, the external D.Labs networks also help with things like funding round assistance, positioning, growth hacking, partnering strategies or just the general category we often call “business therapy”.
How do we charge
At D.Labs you only pay for what you need and use. For early stage MVP customers, the benefits are obvious.
In contrast our Series A and beyond (scaleup) clients usully have fully dedicated feature teams in addition to the as-needed members that provide specialty services. These larger teams also have a dedicated “Squad Lead” who has ultimate control of the entire team and becomes your primary point of collaboration to make sure nothing falls between the cracks.