Cash-strapped developers and talent-starved tech start-ups are being encouraged to utilise a new “crowdcoding” website dubbed Late Labs, which allows developers to trade code for equity.
Late Labs, founded by Justin Elof Johnson, is a San Francisco-based site that allows developers to gain access to worthwhile projects, and rewards them for their work with start-up equity.
“We provide technical documentation, project management, infrastructure, design, distribution and [money] to make projects a success,” Late Labs says on its website.
“We trade awesome code for equity.”
Developers become part of LateLabs via a GitHub account. LateLabs then automatically creates a profile for each developer.
According to a post on Johnson’s Twitter account, more than 500 developers are already registered for Late Labs.
“We are called Late Labs because our developers ‘burn the midnight oil’, i.e. this will not be a main gig for most developers,” the site says.
“[However,] we do want to bring in paid part or full-time ‘developer evangelists’ to manage projects that are selected… Think of it kind of like an online hackathon with equity.”
Once a developer is accepted to work on a project, they will receive access to all project details including a detailed roadmap, wireframes and technical documentation.
Before they start development, they sign a contract that lays out all the details. The amount of equity given to the developer will be predetermined by the “project lead”, a LateLabs employee.
Projects currently being considered by Late Labs include mobile bartending app Mxologist, social music app Peach Fizz, and Thrift, an app for photographing and selling old clothes.
According to Late Labs, equity amounts will be decided on a project-by-project basis.
“We will weigh all of the involved parties and run it through our ‘equity fairness calculator’ that we are working on,” it says.
“When someone comes into work on a project they will have 100% knowledge of what amount of equity they are working towards and how much Late Labs is keeping.”
Equity will be awarded to the developer after the code is tested and released to the public in beta form. The equity will be distributed over a two-year period, starting immediately after delivery.
It’s important to note the selection process will be managed and directed by a Late Labs developer evangelist.
“To work on a project, you will need to apply for a specific one and get accepted into it,” the site says.
“After you get accepted, you will be working closely with the developer evangelist to ensure you have all the tools and resources you need, and that the project [is] moving forward.”