Appirio acquires TopCoder, corners crowdsourced developer market

Appirio buys TopCoder so it can combine its cloud services, analytics and design developer communities.

Appirio, a cloud services integrator, on Tuesday acquired TopCoder in a move that brings together two key developer communities.

In a nutshell, TopCoder's development community combined with Appirio's CloudSpokes network of cloud and Web technologists creates a platform with 600,000 developers. Appirio has been utilizing its crowdsourced CloudSpokes effort to develop custom cloud applications for its customers as well as find employees.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Add it up and you have TopCoder, which has more than 100,000 application designers and credibility with analytics and algorithms, combined with CloudSpokes, which revolves around cloud-oriented technologies.



For Appirio, TopCoder brings the following items to the table, said Narinder Singh, co-founder of Appirio:

  • Scale: "TopCoder has a much larger community and we had success with CloudSpokes and elastic development, but wanted to do more and more," said Singh.
  • Front-facing development: TopCoder design community brings user interface into enterprise services. As applications increasingly go cloud, interface is possibly the most critical piece of development.
  • Enterprise services tools: Singh noted that TopCoder spent a lot of time on making it easier to play matchmaker between companies and developers. Those tools will help CloudSpokes too. "TopCoder had market pricing and customer facing tools to better interface with developers," said Singh.
  • A talent ecosystem: Appirio has been crowdsourcing development for its customer base for years. With TopCoder and CloudSpokes, Appirio will have more developers than Accenture, Deloitte and Infosys combined. In addition, TopCoder brings developers who have experience in AngularJS, Heroku, HTML5 and Java---languages that are critical to mobile and cloud applications.

Singh will become president of both communities and TopCoder founder Jack Hughes will join Appirio's crowdsourcing advisory board. David Messinger, vice president of community at CloudSpokes will be chief community officer.



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For developers, TopCoder and CloudSpokes both have similar monetization models. Generally speaking, there's a small subscription fee to use the platforms and turn developers into a team. There's an investment to build the development team and transaction fees based on application usage. The model is similar to the way cloud services are typically used.

Here are my key takeaways:

  1. For Appirio, the company gets an inside track to a labor pool that can offer soup-to-nuts development to any project. Running a large crowdsourced development community enables Appirio to be more nimble against the large integrators.
  2. Developers may have the opportunity to monetize their services better and become involved with larger enterprise projects. As a result, more developers are likely to follow the money.
  3. This concept of elastic development, scaling projects up and down to innovate, could be powerful for the enterprise. Appirio by itself had a great concept, but lacked the scale. TopCoder changes that equation.
  4. For a lot of companies, crowdsourced development may look like a better option than going offshore and Appirio has brought a level of safety to the crowdsourcing market. "The end game is to displace legacy providers and let you as an enterprise tap into the global marketplace. We want to provide that marketplace," said Singh.


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