Q&A: How AppFutura plays developer matchmaker

The Barcelona, Spain-based startup functions on a premise that's pretty simple: It hooks businesses up with developers who are best fit to fulfill their app needs.

To most people who exist outside of the world of tech, the concept of building an app is almost alien.

Sure, the general idea is likely easy to happen upon, that's the more obtainable side of the equation — it's turning an app idea into a functioning product that's a far trickier task.

Bernat Guitart, AppFutura CEO

Enter AppFutura. Much like the matchmaking sites that service those lost in love, AppFutura is a haven for those lost in app development.

The Barcelona, Spain-based startup functions on a premise that's pretty simple: It hooks businesses up with developers who are best fit to fulfill their app needs. And with more than 12,000 developers at the ready, there are plenty of options when hunting for the most specialized professional.

I recently caught up with Bernat Guitart, AppFutura's CEO, to learn more about how the company approaches developer/client matchmaking. Here's what we talked about:

Like most businesses, AppFutura was born out of need. Guitart said the idea for AppFutura started while he was working at AppsZoom, a platform that lets people browse, find and compare apps for Android and iOS. "There was no other platform focused on mobile app development and that is exactly what we wanted to create. Coming from that world, we were able to create a platform that could benefit both parts and brought outstanding mobile apps to life."

While the platform is technically agnostic, it predominantly services SMBs. Guitart explained that AppFutura's customers include both large and small companies, but that a significant chunk of users hail from the latter. Despite size differences, however, AppFutura users tend to have a few things in common. They're usually either businesses or individuals who are not well versed in the development world, which means they require ongoing technical support and counseling to reach their app goals. "They want to know they can handle their payments securely and have someone to go to if there is a dispute with the developer they hire. They want to be able to connect with great development professionals knowing their intellectual property is safe, which our NDA policy covers."

Matchmaking is done by bidding, as well as placement. Guitart said there are two scenarios with which the developer/customer union is made. First is a type of bidding process, where developers submit proposals to client projects that have been vetted by AppFutura's team. The second structure is the more intimate method where the bulk of the matchmaking takes place. Guitart explained how a project manager will "actively look for the best candidates for each project, considering all the possible aspects: Category of the app, features needed, budget, company, freelance, location ... This is an effort we make to ensure that project owners get development proposals that truly meet their needs. They receive a list of recommended candidates among all the development proposals and go from there."

The competition is surprisingly uncrowded. Starting out, Guitart said AppFutura's main competitors were general online marketplaces such as Elance or Freelancer. And although other app development-focused marketplaces have sprouted, such as Pickcrew.com, their angles are distinct enough to keep away any major poaching. 

The five-year plan. Guitart wants AppFutura to become the de facto marketplace for quality mobile development outsourcing services. "Our aim is to become the reference community for mobile developers worldwide. There is definitely opportunity for growth. The mobile world is yet to reach its roof and I think we have not even seen the potential there is to it."