From time to time, startups do have to outsource some work to third-party vendors. It could be design, backend, or mobile expertise that a startup is looking for. But sometimes, it is hard to find a tried and tested development firm or freelancer to help you out. This is also where ContractIQ comes in, which describes itself as a service that curates “real-time credibility data about service providers.”
ContractIQ is a platform that helps you search for trusted development firms; the data is submitted by folks who have tried their service. But these aren’t any old Tom, Dick or Harry. Folks who recommend someone do so in a way that it’s tied to their LinkedIn accounts (pictured below). Co-founder Ashwin Ramasamy shares with me more about his startup service:
ContractIQ’s discovery engine runs on top of LinkedIn API. When a startup founder recommends an agency for a specific service (say, mobile app development), our engine automatically tells the recommender’s network that he/she has had a positive experience. The message is also broadcasted within the ContractIQ network. This gives the buyers, and us, a real-time feed of recommended agencies that can be further evaluated.
The evaluation process within ContractIQ is also a mixture of community-driven submissions and algorithms. Ramy reveals that there are a total of 54 differentiators to decide if a dev firm/agency is contextually relevant. After eight months, ContractIQ claims to have over 15 product engineering transactions, and 50 agencies across 11 countries using its service. Ramy says that all these are achieved based on word-of-mouth with zero spending on marketing.
ContractIQ does have some competitors such as freelance marketplaces like Elance. But the service looks promising as credentials and recommendations are highly curated through its community, algorithm, and also its deep integration with LinkedIn’s real-name professional social network.
On future plans, Ashwin tells me:
We just started with the discovery part now and we have much to innovate within ‘discovery’. We shall progressively expand the scope of the platform over the next 12 to 18 months. We are indeed open to strategic investments and are looking to expand our founding team.
I wish Ashwin and team the best of luck.