Side Work Success Story: CrowdRaise

Posted by Mike // Jan 12, 2016

One of our most favorite stories of side work, is that of a startup called CrowdRaise (the name has been changed for this story). It’s our favorite because it was a great success for both the side worker and for the business.

(The details are real but names have been changed to protect the innocent)

CrowdRaise was formed in the early days when the JOBS Act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jumpstart_Our_Business_Startups_Act) was being written in Congress in 2011. This act would legalize crowdfunding for equity in a business. Crowdfunding for equity was, at the time, something everyone believed should be legal and couldn’t believe it wasn’t. Luckily, those in Congress and the White House felt the same way. President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law in April of 2012. However, even though crowdfunding was legal at that point, the SEC still had to create the rules around crowdfunding before a single transaction could be executed.

In February of 2012, CrowdRaise started down the path of developing the application that would handle the online crowdfunding process. Unfortunately, at the time, there wasn’t enough capital to hire a significant development staff. The founders considered developing the app using offshore resources and some steps were taken down that path. After three months in, the emphatically made promises of the offshore agency were discovered for what they were: vapor.

“CrowdRaise was so young that they couldn’t afford top talent at precisely the time they needed it the most.”

At the same time that heads were rolling along distant shores, one of the founders, Todd, was up late at night and saw an interesting retweet on Twitter. A fellow named Sam had complained that his side project fell through and that he was now looking for work: “Anyone need a developer on the side?” Todd, tweeted back let’s talk!

Amazingly enough, Todd found that Sam was a team lead for software development working at a large bank. Sam was looking for work on the side for extra income and a creative outlet. After being given the run around on both the level of skill and the output of his offshore staff, Todd was more than ready to give Sam a try. Sam was able to commit to 15 - 20 hours per week building the new CrowdRaise app. In the early days, Todd found it interesting that as he would be coming home from work, he would have to spend a bit of time talking with Sam in the evening. It was similar to the offshore team’s schedule, but the calls were shorter because Sam just knew what was needed. His significant experience in building software for the financial industry really made things go faster.

Sam ended up working on the CrowdRaise application for 9 months. During that time, the SEC finalized their investor rules and crowdfunding became real. CrowdRaise was able to post deals and run their investor process because of the work Sam had done. Sam had the satisfaction of helping to build a startup and, even better, made quite a bit of extra money. All the while, he maintained his full-time job.

What we at Brilliant Chemistry love about this story, is it exemplifies the type of success side work can create. Businesses can get access to experienced individuals when they wouldn’t otherwise be able to. CrowdRaise was so young that they couldn’t afford top talent at precisely the time they needed it the most.

It’s not difficult to see other, similar, situations in which side work can move a business forward.

If you would like to hire experts like Sam, you can find them here at Brilliant Chemistry.

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