Lusine “Lucy” Stepanyan, a 2020 Duke grad, was cautioned that launching a startup during a pandemic may not be the best idea. But the Co-Founder of SourceStack is proving her startup’s value, helping other local startups and small businesses find inexpensive but high-quality solutions to their tech development needs by connecting them to global talent.
This past summer, Stepanyan and her Co-Founder Ishan Gupta (CTO of SourceStack) took part in the Duke Accelerator, completing rigorous research and customer discovery interviews. That’s where they found a gap in the market of outsourcing software development, with startups and small businesses being especially under-served.
These companies spend a substantial amount of time finding resources, but ultimately, Stepanyan said, finding an outsource partner is difficult, given budgets, constraints and timelines. There are also communication issues and cultural differences.
“We kind of analyzed all of those pain points and came up with a solution ourselves to that,” Stepanyan said, “tailored specifically to the needs of startups and smaller companies, which usually don’t get high-quality, affordable pricing.”
Stepanyan hails from Armenia, in Eastern Europe, while Gupta is from India. Meeting at Duke, the founders have backgrounds that have fostered a special interest in creating a pipeline between the supply and demand sides of global software engineering services.
Stepanyan’s network in Eastern Europe has allowed SourceStack to move full steam ahead, taking on North Carolina clients.
In a nutshell, this is how SourceStack works: clients come to SourceStack with a project to outsource. SourceStack provides options of teams in Eastern Europe that can do the work, providing quotes for their services. Once the client chooses which team they want to work with, SourceStack helps oversee negotiations and also offers project and product management.
SourceStack’s business model is commission-based, based on the amount of time and hands-on management that SourceStack takes on in each deal.
SourceStack’s full launch is set for early this year, but the startup has already been working with three clients’ pilot projects. SourceStack also hopes to expand their team this month.
“A barrier for most startups is to tap into high-quality, affordable software development talent,” Stepanyan said. “And that’s what takes their innovation to markets, basically. And what we do is we provide the simple solution to companies that want to outsource the software development. That is a critical resource for all of the startups, and that makes an impact on the startup communities.”
Since founding SourceStack, Stepanyan said they’ve iterated their business model and gained a greater understanding of clients’ daily problems and how to best serve them. Looking ahead, Stepanyan’s main goal is in building awareness to grow their client base and support the startup community in North Carolina.
The pandemic has shown how so many entrepreneurs are willing to step up under pressure, including Stepanyan.
“I acknowledge that this has been a challenging year for everyone,” Stepanyan said. “And I think entrepreneurs especially have taken a lot of the challenges on, because entrepreneurs are generally subject to volatility under even normal circumstances.”
While it did seem to be a terrible year to start a business, SourceStack has also captured some unexpected opportunities that Covid-19 brought, considering the big shift to remote working.
“More and more people became open to working with remote teams in general,” Stepanyan said. “So we decided that this can be a great opportunity for SourceStack, and our team will be devoted to helping diversify the supply chain by helping startups and small businesses tap into global talent and work with remote teams.”