Case | HBS Case Collection | January 2013 (Revised February 2013)

EverTrue: Mobile Technology Development (A)

by William R. Kerr and Alexis Brownell

Abstract

Brent Grinna is evaluating different options for the technology development of his start-up's iPhone app, including hiring local programmers, finding a CTO, or outsourcing. He only has a little over two months before he presents his alumni networking app to Brown University, in the hope that they will adopt it and fund his company, EverTrue. He lacks the technical knowledge necessary to make the prototype himself, and so has to quickly decide on the best option. He is considering multiple ways to find a developer, including hiring a local programmer or making use of a local app-development company; using an outsourcing platform like oDesk; contracting with Dashfire, a friend's company that charges low fees for product development in exchange for equity; or finding and hiring a CTO or technical co-founder. Grinna must weigh issues like cost, speed of development, equity retention, proximity and ease of collaboration, and control of intellectual property. The case further provides an opportunity for discussing the business models of global firms like oDesk and Dashfire.

Keywords: entrepreneurship; start-up; mobile app; oDesk; outsourcing; CTO; minimum viable product; app development; intellectual property; globalization; Business Startups; Decisions; Entrepreneurship; Mobile Technology; Intellectual Property; Product Development; Globalization; Technology Industry; Massachusetts; Boston; India;

Citation:

Kerr, William R., and Alexis Brownell. "EverTrue: Mobile Technology Development (A)." Harvard Business School Case 813-122, January 2013. (Revised February 2013.)