Ooomf has been one of the more quirky startup names on the scene, but it’s getting a grown-up name – Crew – as it pivots away from an app discovery platform toward a marketplace for designers and developers.
Disclosure: Crew founder Mikael Cho is an occasional contributor to TNW
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Prospective clients fill out a form on Crew to set the expectations of the project, and then Crew responds with a budget for the work. Crew then makes introductions to a group of interested designers and developers for the job. The site handles all payment and communication, taking a 15 percent cut for its trouble.
Cho said the desire to build Crew arose from his experiences as an independent designer and working at agencies. The startup aims to clear up some of the misunderstandings about how much projects should cost, while also eliminating a lot of the overhead in order to make high-quality design and development work both affordable for clients and profitable for talent.
“What we’re building is the system to take all of those things that exist in an agency right now: billing, transferring of payments, messages and IP protection and building that into a platform to give it power to individual professionals,” he said.
Over the past year, Crew has matched up $3 million in mobile and Web projects, with an average project size of $8,000. The site’s network includes 350 designers and developers at the moment, though Cho noted that it has a waiting list of more than 4,000 people while it makes sure there’s enough work to go around for members.
I have to admit, I’ll miss seeing the Ooomf name around, but I’m definitely interested to see if the Crew model can offer an affordable alternative to boutique agencies without undermining the livelihoods of its work pool.