As most founders will attest, running a technology startup is notoriously hard.

One of the biggest challenges is hiring quality software developers affordably, because they are some of the highest-paid and sought-after talent in the country. And for cash-strapped startups, they often are cost-prohibitive.

Enter, a New York-based platform that makes it easy and affordable for startups to hire specialized software development talent on an hourly basis. “We created a new way for startups to hire and work with software developers,” says Turtle co-founder and CEO Vlad Lokshin. “We’re saving companies in Silicon Valley a ton of money, and we’re giving great talent around the world that same ‘ton’ in opportunity.”

With the Turtle platform, startups can hire specialized software developers for $50 an hour. Clients select a technical specialty (e.g., iOS, Android, or React) and how many hours per week of support they need, which Turtle matches with a prescreened development team. Freelancers on the platform indicate how many hours a week they are available to work.

Tasks, projects, communication and administration are managed via Turtle through a Slack-like interface, and clients can scale how many hours/developers they buy based on demand. Clients pay $50 per hour, with a $2,000 per month (10 hours per week) minimum to get started (the firm takes a portion of the bill rate as its margin). The fixed pricing makes budgeting decisions straightforward.

“We’ve seen companies that are no more than a good idea start with one Turtle developer working 10 hours a week, build something over five or six months, then go and raise a million dollars,” Lokshin says.

There is a plethora of online staffing platforms that specialize in software development. Turtle distinguishes itself primarily in three ways. First, Turtle itself assigns freelancers to its client companies at a standard rate, mitigating hiring friction. Second, after the match is made, Turtle provides a suite of tools to communicate, track and manage the freelance development team inside the platform. Lastly, the entire system itself is set up more as a staff augmentation platform, making it more like a flexible staffing arrangement or an internal hire than a freelance platform, albeit at a fraction of the price.

Startups seem to have fallen in love with the idea. Launched in 2017, Turtle has already connected more than 100 developers with 35 startups, experiencing 30% month-over-month growth since inception.

The Buzz

Running a technology startup is difficult and expensive. Turtle aims to make hiring quality developers as easy as topping up a prepaid card — and might just change how software gets built in the process.