Arkadiusz Krysik

Outsourcing Software Development for Startups: Complete Guide

The success of tech startups in 2024 will largely depend on how quickly and efficiently they can deliver value to their first customers.

That’s why many startup entrepreneurs are turning to software development outsourcing.

By partnering with experienced custom software development companies, startups can tap into a global talent pool, take advantage of lower rates in different countries, and significantly speed up the development process itself! Discover how to choose the best technology partner today!

Building a new application or extending your development team?

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What Is Software Development Outsourcing

Software development outsourcing is a business practice in which a company, often a startup, hires an outside organization to perform tasks related to creating, maintaining, or enhancing software products.

This approach allows startups to access specialized skills and technology without having to hire in-house developers, which can be both time-consuming and costly.

It’s especially beneficial for startups because it allows them to focus on their core business while leveraging the expertise of outside teams to develop software solutions quickly and efficiently.

Outsourcing also allows startups to scale their operations more flexibly by adjusting the size of their external teams to meet project demands without the long-term commitment of full-time employees.

In addition, it often results in cost savings, as outsourcing to countries with lower labor costs can reduce overall development costs.

In the world of business and technology, software development outsourcing is often seen as a strategic tool that startups use to stay competitive and innovative, ensuring they can bring their digital products to market faster and more effectively.

startup software development services

Finding and hiring full-stack software developers for a startup involves several strategic steps to ensure that you partner with the right talent to bring your digital vision to life.

One highly recommended approach is to work with a custom software development company, as these organizations specialize in tailoring software solutions to meet the unique needs of each business.

These companies offer a blend of innovation, expertise, and scalability, making them an ideal choice for startups looking to develop custom software.

To find reputable custom software development companies, startups should consider platforms like Clutch, a business directory that provides detailed information on service providers in the tech industry.

With over 23,000 custom development services listed on alone, making the right choice can be daunting.

That’s why it’s important to know what to look for.

outsource software development

With its collection of client reviews and ratings, Clutch provides and invaluable source of information for startups aiming to assess the reliability, quality, and performance of potential software development partners.

Startups can assess custom software development companies on Clutch by reviewing detailed profiles that include past projects, client reviews, and ratings, which provide insights into each company’s expertise and customer satisfaction.

They should also consider the relevance of a company’s previous work to their project needs, focusing on the firms with strong track records in similar projects or industries.

software outsourcing

Paying close attention to a company’s average score and reading through client testimonials on Clutch can offer insights into their professionalism, skill level, and ability to deliver projects successfully, helping startups make informed decisions when selecting a software development partner.

[Read also: How to Choose a Software Development Company in 2024 [CHECKLIST]]

Why Custom Software Development Is Important For Startups?

Outsourcing a software development project is a strategic move that can significantly advance a startup’s growth trajectory and market position.

Here are five key benefits of outsourcing software development that underscore the value of this approach for startups looking to innovate and scale efficiently.

software developer

Access to Global Talent

Outsourcing opens up a world of possibilities for startups to work with highly skilled professionals from around the globe.

This means startups can find software developers in specific technologies or industries, build a development team enhancing the quality and innovation of their software solutions.

Cost Efficiency

By working with an experienced software development agency, startups avoid the substantial costs associated with building and maintaining an in-house team of software developers.

This includes savings on salaries, benefits, and office space, making it a financially smart choice for startups looking to optimize their budgets.

Focus on Core Business Activities

Outsourcing the development process allows startup founders and their teams to concentrate on their primary business objectives, such as refining their product market fit, customer acquisition, and other strategic areas critical to their growth and success.

Flexibility and Scalability

The nature of outsourcing provides startups with the ability to quickly scale their development efforts up or down based on current needs and market conditions. This agility is crucial for startups that need to adapt rapidly to competitive challenges or opportunities.

Speed to Market

With the support of an experienced software development partner, startups can accelerate their development timelines.

Outsourcing can lead to faster turnaround times for bringing products to market, giving startups a competitive advantage by meeting customer needs more quickly and efficiently.

[Read also: Outsourcing vs. Insourcing: An In-Depth Comparison to Guide Your Business Strategy]

Stratoflow – Your Go-to software development outsourcing partner

startup outsource software development

At Stratoflow, we pride ourselves on our ability to deliver high-performance, custom software solutions that are tailored to meet the unique needs of our clients in industries as diverse as fintech, travel, e-commerce, and insurance.

Our approach to custom software development is centered on a deep understanding of our clients’ operations and priorities.

We focus on developing efficient, scalable, and high-performance software that is not just a technology solution, but a strategic asset to our clients’ businesses.

This approach is complemented by our comprehensive technology stack, which includes web applications with mobile-friendly interfaces, scalable in-memory processing systems, modern lightweight Java development, and robust databases, among others, ensuring that we have the tools and expertise to meet any challenge.

outsourcing team

We utilize an iterative development approach with short feedback cycles and seamless communication to ensure the success of our projects.

We partner throughout the software development process, from requirement analysis, development and testing to system migration, installation and maintenance.

Stratoflow developers specialize in custom solutions that provide customization, flexibility, and a competitive advantage by ensuring that our software can grow and adapt with our clients’ businesses.

By choosing Stratoflow, companies gain access to personalized support and a solution that they own outright, with the potential for long-term cost benefits and scalability.

Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your startup idea!

software development services

5 examples of successful IT outsourcing for startups

Can this approach really work? Can a team, often on the other side of the world, deliver high quality software that meets your initial vision?

Of course it can!

Many successful companies have used software development outsourcing, turning to skilled professionals outside of their immediate team to speed up the process.

Here are six notable examples of startups that have successfully used software development outsourcing to build their products and scale their operations:

Example 1: Opera

outsourcing software development misalignment

Opera, a renowned web browser, used software developers from several nations to develop and deploy specialized software for its online platform.

Understanding the importance of diverse perspectives and skills, the company used outsourcing to access a global pool of talent.

This strategy enabled them to build a strong and inventive web platform that stood out in the fiercely competitive browser industry.

Example 2: Skype

in house development team

Skype benefited greatly from outsourcing, working with Estonian developers who built the entire backend of the application.

This collaboration was fundamental in enabling Skype to pioneer video calling and later be acquired by Microsoft for $8.5 billion.

Example 3: Basecamp

offshore software development outsourcing

Originally a side project of a web consulting agency, the project management software was driven through strategic outsourcing.

This allowed for rapid refinement and scaling, ultimately allowing the founders to focus on Basecamp full-time and build a remote development team that supports customers worldwide.

Example 4: Alibaba

software development company software developer

In its early days, outsourced its website development to a firm in the United States due to a lack of local talent and to overcome internet restrictions in China.

This move was critical for Alibaba to become a global e-commerce giant​.

Example 5: Slack

outsourcing firm

Slack hired a custom software development company to overhaul its website and app.

This helped Slack refine its product and significantly contributed to its popularity as a collaboration tool​, leading to its current valuation of $27 billion.

Their story is a powerful example of how startups can leverage outsourcing to accelerate growth.

How To Lower The Cost For Startup Software Development?

In the startup scene, especially in 2024, cost and time efficiency in software development are critical factors.

Startups are in a constant race against time and budget constraints to develop and deploy their products.

The urgency to get to market quickly and affordably stems from the competitive nature of the market and the need to achieve a return on investment as soon as possible. This context makes the choice of development tools and platforms a critical decision for startup owners.

Openkoda is emerging as a key player in this scenario, designed to address these very challenges by offering a faster and more cost-effective route to custom software development.

software company in house software development

As an open-source platform, Openkoda accelerates the development of business applications and internal tools by leveraging pre-built templates and customizable solutions.

This reduces development time and costs, with Openkoda enabling application development up to 60% faster than traditional methods.

early stage startups

The platform is built on a foundation that encourages rapid application development.

By using technology stacks that developers are familiar with, such as Java, Spring Boot, JavaScript, and PostgreSQL, Openkoda ensures that teams can get up to speed quickly without having to learn new languages or frameworks.

It provides a comprehensive set of out-of-the-box features, including dynamic entities, application admin panels, user and organization management, event listeners, and multiple multi-tenancy models.

This rich feature set enables the rapid assembly of complex applications while maintaining the flexibility to customize and extend as needed.

In addition, Openkoda supports rapid minimum viable product (MVP) development.

The ability to launch an MVP in significantly less time than traditional development methods can dramatically reduce time to market and initial development costs.

technology development

Openkoda is a compelling solution for startups looking to efficiently overcome the challenges of software development.

Do you think that Openkoda can boost your startup?

Schedule Your own demo today!

What you should know before considering a software development company for startup

Before a startup begins outsourcing its software development, it’s critical to thoroughly evaluate several important factors.

These considerations are critical to ensuring the success of the project and forging a productive partnership.

Below we outline the essential elements that startups should evaluate:

Define the Scope of Your Project

Before choosing your go-to development team start by clearly articulating the project’s scope involves outlining specific goals, features, and functionalities you wish to achieve with your software solution.

A well-defined scope helps potential development partners understand your vision and requirements, leading to more accurate proposals and ensuring alignment with your objectives.

Establish a Realistic Budget

Then move on to determining your budget upfront is critical for guiding your choice of software development company.

It helps to filter out potential partners who can deliver within your financial constraints while still maintaining the desired quality.

Being transparent about your budget also facilitates open discussions about what is achievable, allowing for adjustments to the project scope or timeline if necessary.

Set a Realistic Timeline

Establishing a timeline that reflects the complexity of your project and market demands is essential for cooperation with software outsourcing companies.

Communicate your expected milestones and product launch dates to ensure the software development company can meet your scheduling needs.

A realistic timeline also accounts for potential challenges or delays, providing a buffer to address unforeseen issues.

Communication and Collaboration Approach

Effective communication is the backbone of any successful project.

Evaluate the company’s communication tools, processes, and their willingness to integrate with your team. Regular updates, responsiveness, and open lines of communication are vital for addressing issues promptly and ensuring your project remains on track.

Project Management and Methodology

Familiarize yourself with the company’s approach to project management.

Do they follow the principles of agile software development methodology? Do they hold regular meetings with project stakeholders? Do they work in short development sprints?

These things are crucial to check before signing the contract.

Due Diligence

At last, beyond evaluating technical capabilities, conduct thorough due diligence on potential partners.

This includes verifying their legal status, financial health, and reputation in the industry.

Due diligence ensures you are entrusting your project to a reliable and solvent company.

[Read also: How to Find App Developers Near Me in 2024? Comprehensive Guide]

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why is software outsourcing a strategic choice for startups?

Outsourcing software development is a strategic choice for startups looking to efficiently navigate the competitive and fast-paced technology landscape.

This approach allows startups to leverage specialized skills and innovative technologies without the overhead of expanding their internal teams.

By choosing outsourced software development, startups can focus their resources on core business strategies, market research, and customer engagement, while trusted partners handle the technical complexities of building their digital products.

In addition, software development for startups often involves rapid scaling and adaptation to changing market needs.

Outsourcing provides the flexibility to scale development efforts up or down without the logistical and financial constraints of hiring or downsizing internal staff.

As a result, outsourced software development not only streamlines the product development cycle, but also enhances a startup’s ability to innovate and compete in its industry, making it a smart strategic move in today’s digital economy.

What are the average outsourcing software development cost?

The average cost of software development can vary widely based on several factors, including the complexity of the project, the geographic location of the development team, and the level of expertise required.

In general, regions such as Eastern Europe and Poland offer more cost-effective rates ranging from $25 to $50 for Java and Angular developers per hour for software development services, making them attractive options for startups looking to maximize their budgets.

In contrast, outsourcing to companies in North America and Western Europe can be significantly more expensive, with hourly rates often ranging from $75 to $150 or more.

The complexity and scope of the project also play a critical role in determining the total cost.

Here are examples of various projects and their estimated costs:

Small Projects

  • Number of Developers: Typically requires 1-3 developers.
  • Time Required: Ranges from a few weeks to 2-3 months.
  • Budget Required: Budgets can vary widely but often fall in the range of $5,000 to $20,000. These projects usually involve developing a minimum viable product (MVP) or a simple app with basic functionalities.

Medium Projects

  • Number of Developers: Usually requires a team of 3-5 dedicated developers, potentially including a project manager and a QA specialist.
  • Time Required: Can last from 3 to 6 months, depending on the complexity and scope of the project.
  • Budget Required: The budget for medium projects typically ranges from $20,000 to $100,000. This category includes more complex applications with custom designs and functionalities that require a detailed development process.

Large Enterprise Projects

  • Number of Developers: Often requires a large team of 5-10 developers or more, along with dedicated project managers, QA specialists, and UX/UI designers.
  • Time Required: These projects can take anywhere from 6 months to several years, reflecting their complexity and scale.
  • Budget Required: Budgets for large enterprise projects usually start at $100,000 and can go up to several million dollars. They involve extensive custom development, integration with existing systems, high-level security features, and scalable infrastructure to support a large number of users.

What are the models for outsourcing software development?

Outsourcing software development can be structured around several models, each with its own unique approach to collaboration, project management, and financial arrangements.

Understanding these models is critical for startups to select the one that best fits their project requirements, budget, and desired level of oversight.

Here are the main models for outsourcing software development:

Fixed Price Model

This model is suitable for projects with well-defined scopes and requirements.

The outsourcing company and its software development team provides a fixed quote for the entire product development process, covering all tasks and deliverables. This model offers budget certainty for startups but requires a clear understanding of project specifications from the outset. Changes or additional features beyond the initial agreement may result in extra charges.

Time and Materials (T&M) Model

In the T&M model, billing is based on actual offshore or nearshore developer time and resources used during the project.

This model provides the flexibility to adjust project scope, features, and priorities on the fly. It’s well suited for projects where requirements are expected to evolve or are not fully defined at the outset.

Dedicated Team Model

Startups opt for a dedicated team model when they need a full-time team but want to avoid the overheads of hiring in-house. The outsourcing partner provides a team that works exclusively on the startup’s project, offering a high level of collaboration and integration with the startup’s internal processes. This model is ideal for long-term projects with changing scopes and for startups looking to scale their development capabilities.

Staff Augmentation Model

This model allows startups to extend their in-house team by adding outsourced offshore developers or entire software development teams on an as-needed basis. It’s a flexible approach that helps startups address specific skill gaps or scale their team temporarily during peak workloads. The staff augmentation model is beneficial for startups that want to maintain control over the project while leveraging external expertise.

Project-Based Model

Similar to the fixed-price model, but broader in scope, the project-based model involves outsourcing an entire project, from conception to completion, to an outside company.

This model is suitable for startups that prefer to fully delegate project management and execution, relying on the outsourcing partner’s expertise to deliver the final product.

Each of these models has its advantages and considerations, so it is important for startups to carefully evaluate their project needs, management capacity, and financial flexibility before choosing the model that best fits their outsourcing strategy.

How to choose the best software development outsourcing company?

If you are a startup owner and want to outsource software development, choosing the best software development outsourcing company is a critical decision that can significantly impact the success of your startup’s project.

Here’s a structured approach to making an informed choice:

Step 1: Define Your Project Requirements

Clearly understand and outline your project’s scope, goals, and specific technical needs. This clarity will help you assess whether a prospective outsourcing company has the expertise and experience to meet your requirements.

Step 2: Research and Shortlist Companies

Conduct thorough research to identify companies that specialize in the type of development work you need. Look for companies with strong portfolios, positive client testimonials, and relevant industry experience. Shortlist those that align closely with your project requirements.

Step 3: Evaluate Technical Expertise and Experience

Examine the technical skills and project experience of the shortlisted companies. Look for evidence of their proficiency in the technologies required for your project and their track record in delivering similar projects successfully.

Step 4: Consider the Cultural Fit

The working relationship with your outsourcing partner will be smoother and more productive if your company cultures align. Consider aspects such as work ethics, communication style, and problem-solving approaches to ensure a good cultural fit.

Step 5: Analyze Cost Structure

While cost should not be the only factor, it’s important to understand the pricing models (fixed price, time and materials, etc.) and ensure the proposed costs align with your budget. Look for transparency in pricing to avoid hidden costs down the line.

Step 6: Check References and Past Client Feedback

Reach out to past clients of the outsourcing companies to get firsthand feedback on their experience. This can provide valuable insights into the company’s reliability, quality of work, and ability to deliver on time and budget.

Step 7: Trial Projects and Pilot Phases

If possible, start with a small trial project or a pilot phase to evaluate the company’s delivery capabilities and compatibility with your team before committing to a larger engagement.

We are Stratoflow, a custom software development company. We firmly believe that software craftsmanship, collaboration and effective communication is key in delivering complex software projects. This allows us to build advanced high-performance Java applications capable of processing vast amounts of data in a short time. We also provide our clients with an option to outsource and hire Java developers to extend their teams with experienced professionals. As a result, our Java software development services contribute to our clients’ business growth. We specialize in travel software, ecommerce software, and fintech software development. In addition, we are taking low-code to a new level with our Open-Source Low-Code Platform.

Building a new application or extending your development team?

🚀 We're here to assist you in accelerating and scaling your business. Send us your inquiry, and we'll schedule a free estimation call.

Estimate your project


The developed software product was built from scratch with solid quality. We have had a long-term engagement with Stratoflow for nearly 10 years. We look at them as partners, rather than contractors. I'm impressed by their team culture and cross-team support.

Nathan Pesin

CTO, Legerity Financials

Stratoflow was a great partner, challenging as well as supporting our customer projects for the best outcome. They have a great pool of talent within the business - all very capability technologists, as well as being business-savvy and suitable for consultancy engagements.

Chris Goodall

Managing Consultant, CG Consultancy (UK) Limited

The bespoke metal exchange platform works great, it is easily accessible and richly functional. Stratoflow managed deadlines capably, meticulously documented their progress, and delivered a complex project at an affordable cost.

Bartlomiej Knichnicki

Vice Chairman, Supervisory Board

We are very pleased with our partnership with Stratoflow and, as we continue to grow, we expect to increase the numbers of developers that work with us on our projects. They have proven to be very skilled and flexible. They're extremely reliable, and they have a very good company culture of their own, which gives them a real edge compared to other providers that serve more as production shops rather than thought partners and creative problem solvers.

Andrew Kennedy

Founder & Managing Director, Tier 2 Consulting

Stratoflow successfully customized the system according to the specific functionalities and without bugs reported. The team was commended for their adaptability in the work process and for their responsiveness.

Joshua Blavins

Tech PM, Digital Agency

The features implemented have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from end-users. Stratoflow has an incredible technical expertise and a high degree of flexibility when it comes to changing project requirements.

Adam Hill

Chief Technology Officer, Legerity

They have impressively good knowledge of AI issues. Very responsive to any amendments and findings. Very good communication. We received a finished project which could be implemented into production shortly after testing.

CO-Founder & CTO

Circular Fashion Company

They provided superb service with seamless communication and a highly professional, technical approach. The team displays impressive technical expertise and are willing to share information and engage in constructive feedback.

Filip Stachnik

Operations Manager, Otwarte Klatki (part of Anima International)

They're very skilled technically and are also able to see the bigger picture. Stratoflow can actually think about solutions, not just the technical task at hand, which they've been assigned.

Arnd Jan Prause

Chief Operating Officer, musQueteer

Stratoflow delivered the website successfully within the timeframe and budget. They assured that the output met the set requirements. Overall, the team's performance was excellent and recommended for their exceptional technical business expertise. They've been able to deliver all of their work on time and within budget, which has been very impressive.

Lars Andersen

Founder & CEO, My Nametags

Travel sector rebound after the pandemic is complete. We have fantastic global coverage of travel data distribution due to mutual agreements and data exchange between aggregators. Competition for the best price of limited resources degradates margins.

How to win? Provide personalized experience and build your own products in the front-office. The missing bits: a traveller golden record collecting past activities and a AI/ML recommendation technology.

Michał Głomba

CEO at Stratoflow