A Future Equity Agreement (SAFE) gives you the right to future shares in the company. If you invest, you're betting the company will be worth more than $6.6M eventually.
Because the world just hit 8 billion people and half are in Africa and South Asia.
That means that half the world's geniuses are in Africa and South Asia.
They have the potential to be engineers, designers, and creators. Instead of targeting their tiny local markets, those same minds could produce significant wealth if they would target global markets instead (US, Europe, East Asia).
Our mission at LD Talent is to strengthen remote teams by helping them drop location constraints and include these qualified but overlooked talent from the majority world. In other words, diversity meets capitalism.
And, our vision is to build a future of work around diversity and social impact, by incentivizing lifelong learning and democratizing expert engineering, design, and entrepreneurship.
We are both a social impact company and a for-profit one:
We achieved all this traction while still students. Now all 3 of us are full time and ready to grab this market.
Note, by "earning talent", we mean talent who have earned money on our platform from clients.
In fact, we believe our social impact angle will make us more profitable and help us seize a huge market opportunity.
We calculated the market size by looking at companies hiring remote developers and designers, those who are open to hiring international talent, and those who are reachable with our current marking strategy. The growing popularity of doing startups, bootstrapping, pre-seed rounds, incubators, angel investing, etc. makes our market larger and larger every year. Remote work trends at larger companies also support our case.
When it comes to remote work and distributed teams there are a number of problems that companies face. Particularly when it comes to tech talent. First of all, it’s hard to:
And yet, it is easy to miss creative potential especially with tech talent from “majority world” regions like South Asia and Africa.
There are competitors in this space, but none are solving the chicken-and-egg problem: everyone wants the best talent, but none are focused on how they become the best, i.e. by learning.
LD Talent is actually solving the chicken and egg problem in talent development. Thousands of new graduates from universities in South Asia and Africa every year. New graduates are a valuable and plentiful resource. Competitors are going after the scarce resource of experienced developers, missing this major market opportunity. Other differentiations:
This is a stable business in any economic climate. When capital is scarce, demand for affordable rates is high. When money is plentiful, demand for unbeatable quality is high. Our talent have both attributes, and hence we will succeed in both the short term and the long term.
Check out the comparison table at the bottom of our pricing page for more information on how we differ from competitors.
We know our LTV and CAC. We have sourced customers and talent from the following marketing channels, which we plan to upgrade in the following ways:
Other marketing-related statistics:
LD Talent's unique future of work affordances include meritocratic and transparent chat-based work sessions allow clients to only pay for work they are satisfied with.
We strike a balance between fixed price and hourly. Talent have ability to explain their work process and time taken, but clients have power to approve or reject the work.
These chat-based work sessions collect data and gain insights on talent by tracking their responsiveness and productivity to a granular level.
Because he's gone through our system's automated vetting and training modules, Ivaan knows to provide the client Savannah a granular time estimate. This creates common understanding between them and lays out a clear timeline and budget for the project ahead.
Our chatbots and chat analysis software also help with project management, consider all stakeholders, and instrument the entire software development process.
Here in this interview for instance, we are tracking how responsive the engineer Shradha is and how committed the client Zack is. We keep track of how active talent are in our workspace, not only through interviews, but also across public channels where they can engage in lifelong learning, participate in peer discussions, and grow connections.
Such granularity puts us at a data advantage and helps us make better and better matches. Our entire operation is chat based including the work itself, so we see huge potential in having our chatbots leverage more sophisticated NLP and generative AI to scaffold the development lifecycle.
What do we mean by data-driven vetting?
Well, we are evaluating every interaction from interviews, to matches, to messages in slack channels, to hires, to work tracked, to project completion, to ratings. This tracking of everything is what we believe will form the foundation of the future of work. There seems to be potential for tokenization here, though our team will need to do further research on this aspect.
In such an ecosystem where every work session is coupled with a git commit or other proof-of-work, our talent never fail to impress clients with their competence, converting free trial clients into paying customers 85-90% of the time.
The platform takes a 20% cut of what the client pays, with a minimum cut of $5/hr. The cut is used to:
The rest is profit. Moreover, all buyout fees and finders fees are entirely profit.
Given this, we know our LTV and CAC (lifetime value of a customer and cost of customer acquisition). We are currently "ramen profitable" and should be profitable after investment as we scale.
Every step of our pricing builds trust. We know our talent is good but to prove that to our clients we offer a free trial.
Then they can fund hours and use our work session system where they see progress in real-time and have complete budget control. That builds more trust.
Also, we make it easy to recruit talent from our platform for full time remote roles through a 1-2K buyout - this keeps high growth companies, including YC and 500 Global companies, coming back.
These mechanisms encourage clients to stick with the platform, try out more talent, and also recruit for full-time roles on LD.
To ensure talent succeed in such a meritocracy, we have developed automated modules for vetting and training majority world tech talent.
These modules are inspired by Gobi's PhD research on "What makes someone a professional software engineer?" We are doing a technology transfer from research to industry. In particular, we have EdTech tools that can automatically teach intermediate developers about:
found in professional open source code.
Overall, here is what we believe defines professional tech talent:
After interviewing many professionals and user testing on many novice and intermediate level engineers, Gobi found following abilities define a "pro":
It is all these things that make one a true professional tech worker.
But there is one thing that does NOT determine professionalism.
A+ tech talent exist in Uganda, Nepal, Ukraine, Brazil, India, and Wisconsin.
To ensure clients trust our talent, we vet talent from all over the world across these multiple dimensions. The talent must pass a screening process which includes application screening, a soft skills assessment, a live technical interview, and ongoing evaluation.
Every aspect of this is being automated through:
To allow clients to see this detailed vetting data on our talent, we have made our database of talent publicly searchable and have implemented detailed filters:
Try them out yourself on our Find Talent page. This gives control to the clients and saves them time and energy when interviewing and hiring.
To ensure talent succeed in this meritocracy, we are creating a decentralized talent-friendly ecosystem.
We mean creating a diverse community of people engaging in lifelong learning and peer review, and time tracking mechanisms that are chat based and respect privacy of talent and the companies they work for. People get credit for their granular actions. For example, we financially incentivize talent to create lifelong learning projects:
Talent interests and their career growth are considered first. Talent are provided tips on how to advance their career, including suggestions and visualizations of what skills to learn based on talent supply and client demand.
We created a scalable screencast-based peer review system for training and vetting that allows us to leverage existing online technical and soft skills challenges. This:
In this way we'll quickly train/vet: Full Stack, Mobile, QA, AI/ML, Blockchain, Game Dev, VR/AR, SEO, Design, Data Science, Security, and PM talent.
We also have modules for: Debugging, Stack Traces, Testing, System Administration, Software Engineering and Development, and Software Design Patterns, the last of which is inspired by our research.
We also have assembled soft skill modules for: Software Engineering Process, Productivity and Responsiveness, Entrepreneurship, Divergent Thinking / Creativity, Project Management, and Teamwork.
The final aspect of talent-friendliness is that the platform percentage cut is reasonable, and since we know full time relationships eventually develop between contractors and their companies, we have structured the buyout fee in a reasonable manner, so clients pay it.
Given our positioning in this market, established tech companies, startups out of top venture funds and incubators, and major research universities have hired on LD Talent.
Here are some of their words:
Daniel Osvath, Mentum (Y Combinator)
We worked with the talent of LD on SEO for our e-commerce store. We got their help to identify the gaps and optimize our content and images for SEO. They were responsive during our work periods and helped explain the steps and services that we need.
Our LD engineer did excellent work helping us write software to identify AI-enabled companies to invest in.
Catherine Jiang, SiteTrace (500 Global), Dill (YC)
On LD we found a full stack software engineer who did really great work for the equipment tracking software we're building at SiteTrace.
Swami Sundaresan, Infosys
It was a wonderful experience. We found a good engineer through LD who is making an innovative UX. It is really going to help Infosys customers visualize financial visions and outcomes. I’d like to share the LD Talent service with other teams within and outside Infosys.
Liam McCarty, UnumID (EvoNexus, Draper Associates)
LD Talent provides the best way I’ve seen to involve top-notch engineers at a moment’s notice. We needed someone who could take a glance at our code and quickly integrate several aspects of our platform. There wasn’t time for a long recruitment process, or for sifting through online proposals. Without LD Talent, we would have struggled to find such a high quality engineer on such a short timeline.
Phoebe Yao, Pareto (StartX)
I like that I can see all the skills I can filter by. Super useful. Love what you built with the Slack bot.
Phoebe found and recruited full time talent on LD.
Samay Devraj, Anamiva
I have been happy with my LD experience. I like seeing time logged and seeing my balance update via Slack. Project management thru Asana works just fine for us. One thing we keep in mind as we become pro users of LD’s system is that we should be clear on exactly what we want from each work session.
Ashley Van Cott, Writewise (Startup Chile)
LD Talent has been a godsend for us as a startup. We have connected with some amazing programmers who are all very knowledgeable and hard working. We expect to continue with LD Talent for all of our foreseeable programming needs as a business.
Sylesh Volla and Jaebum Lee, ESLHunter
The most unique aspect of LD was the ease in which we were able to get the work we needed completed. The LD process, including messaging, contracts and billing, made it easy for our team to use the service. And something that I expected would be painful like hiring a software engineer actually ended up being a very fun and affordable experience. I would highly recommend anyone looking for software services in the future to use LD!
Bala Ganesh, StaksPay
I had used other talent sourcing platforms before with some success but what I found different and refreshing is the quality of talent pool that has been established by LD. Their passion for identifying the resources with the qualification and skills necessary for each of the disciplines they support shines through as a result of their rigorous vetting process.
Wayne Willis, Yale69
I can say that the engineer I worked with at LD Talent did an excellent job, highly efficiently and with a very positive attitude. They were delight to work with. I will not hesitate to use LD Talent again when another project comes up.
Jehoshaphat is a member of our network who approached us with an idea to transform the mental health of remote workers, like those on our platform.
Jeho and our team back-and-forth'd through our business canvas until we settled on a product: a mental-health focused pomodoro timer.
This app can regulate the mental health of our talent as they are tracking their work sessions, and also its "multi-pomodoro" feature can facilitate deep work.
The app has you work for 25 minutes (or more), and then rest for 5 minutes (or more). During the breaks, the app provides psychiatrically relevant content, posture related advice, yoga, mediation, exercises, and even peer support.
Such creativity will be monetized in a couple ways: