With InstaSource, students can turn an idea into reality with the click of a mouse.
InstaSource is an on-demand service launched last week that provides technical and coding outsourcing for everyone. To submit a request, interested clients simply enter their email address on the website. The service will accommodate requests of any scale, such as an iPhone app for a restaurant, an online store for a small business or a short script for a data scientist.
“You can hit us up, and we’ll take care of you,” co-founder and Engineering sophomore Yagil Burowski said. “We will do edgy things ... As long as it's not evil or illegal, we’ll get it done.”
Although InstaSource provides coding and technical services to everyone, its target audience is entrepreneurs, people with ideas that have already begun fleshing them out. The InstaSource team believes entrepreneurs appreciate good service and are willing to pay for it.
“Penn is a very entrepreneurial place. People have ideas all the time ... Too often we hear people just not doing anything because they can’t find a coder,” Burowski said.
Burowski has observed from a family member’s experience that it is very difficult for people with no technical experience to manage a website. Currently, the process of outsourcing technical work is inefficient and tedious. Finding the right coder requires careful research, soliciting help on a website and filling out paperwork. The customer then has to make sure the coders are qualified, select among the bidders and arrange payment.
There is also a significant risk for developers taking on a job, as freelancers have no guarantee that a customer will pay them when their work is finished. Developers may also have to field excessive customer complaints.
“We vet both sides of the process to make it simpler. We handle payment,” co-founder and Engineering junior Josh Pearlstein said.
InstaSource protects its developers by pre-authorizing the payment amount agreed by the customer. This way, developers can move forward with their work with the security that they will be paid.
“We really simplify the process of finding somebody to do something for you. You just send an email, and we get it done. That’s what we sell: that ease, that magical black box. Tell us what you want, and you get it,” Burowski said.
The InstaSource interface — email — is simple and familiar to the customer, who does not have to learn how to navigate a new system. InstaSource has coders available at all times to take any job, and the company completely handles the matchmaking process between developers and clients.
Although the customer does not see it, there is a lot of work going on behind the InstaSource curtain. After a client submits a request, the InstaSource team decides whether or not to continue with the project. InstaSource then consults the growing database of available developers and decides who is best for the job. The team gets a quote from the developer, adds the InstaSource premium and handles all communication with the customer. When all parties are satisfied, the customer enters their credit card information on a secure link and the payment is pre-authorized, at which point the developer begins working.
The team recruits developers using online platforms as well as emails soliciting computer science students at Penn. InstaSource looks to work with freelancers with a lot of experience, especially for larger jobs, but finds that students are a good match for short scripting jobs.
Currently, InstaSource is a team of just two, but Burowski and Pearlstein say the company will grow as needed. For now the company’s primary goal is to grow the supply side — the developers — and reach more customers. Specifically, InstaSource has marketed its service to MBAs at top universities.
“Our proposition is we can offer tools to your MBAs that will allow them to make their ideas reality and allow them to move fast. Right now, so many people either don’t move at all or don’t move fast enough with their ideas. That’s what we solve,” Burowski said.
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