Startup Review #1: DevBattles –  social network for programmers

Startup Review #1: DevBattles – social network for programmers

InVenture present the cycle of crash tests startups "Startup Review". DevBattles - social network for programmers

InVenture in the framework of the cycle of crash tests startups "Startup Review" present an overview of the project "DevBattles - social network for programmers." The expert group of Startup Review included : Victor Kompaneets, Head of Venture Investments / Digital Future, Anton Karpenko, CTO / Happy Farm Business Incubator, Sergei Dovgopolyi, CTO / InVenture Investment Group, Vladimir Buriy, CEO & Founder / Startup Incubator "Continuum."

Startup Review #1: DevBattles –  social network for programmers

General information about the project

DevBattles - is the social network for programmers, the main components of which are: competitions between programmers, publication of articles and news, finding answers to the questions, new works, and also a selection of vacancies.

When registering the participant gets a certain number of  DevPoints (DevPoints - is a virtual currency, certain virtual points), which the user can use to compete with other programmers. He can buy them as real money and to earn, say, through the publication of news in the "sandbox", adding a questions or answers on existing questions. Other users will vote for these answers, and the author will get some points.

Our chip is a chance to play for DevPoints in the "table", that is to compete in the fifteen themes in programming, so virtual currency you can win or lose.

It is a challenge for programmers, a gamification element.

The advantage of this platform is multifunctionality.

Now you will say that the professional social network LinkedIn is the same information resource Habrahabr, Jinny for work search. We took it all into consideration, and combined into a single platform, but narrowly focused, targeted primarily on programmers.

DevBattles - is a social network where the user logs, indicate all his contact information, skills, brief information about himself and contacts.

Companies can post vacancies, users can post their resumes, to participate in tournaments and discussions, to write their personal blogs.

Our potential customers - are all people who are related to IT.

Programmers, engineers, IT companies, recruiters, and just fans of IT, who like to read something interesting, to visit the site, where are a lot of like-minded people.


Now we have several hypotheses about the business model. For example, you can earn on the vacancies allocation (will pay the companies). In the future we plan to implement advertising functions in vacancies section (vacancies allotment, raising into top, binding, etc.). This is the first.

Secondly, it may be advertising. We can write as own advertising platform, and use existing solutions. We are inclined to believe that the need to develop own, because we have a very large audience from around the world. This is America, Ukraine, Russia, Malaysia, Japan ... a very broad contingent. Therefore, the use of ready-made solution for the moment not approach. We want to place contextual and banner ads.

Third, is buying of DevPoints. When entering to resource users immediately gets 50 DevPoints on his own expense. You can spend DP by playing games, but earn it - harder. For example, for the correct answer to the question is charged just 0,1 DevPoints. For the published post user gets 5 DevPoints. And so, active users can earn DevPoints. Or they can take part in games. During the game on the table, user can earn from 5 to 10 points, because there rates fluctuate from 1 to 5 points. And sometimes happened that in a single day users lost all their DevPoints and bought another. Now 1 DevPoints - is 10 cents. Most people who buy DevPoints - are users from the United States.

On game mechanics, we are now use tables, but we also plan to run tournaments. This is more global vision, there will be a big bets and they will pass through the tours. For example, the first day - the qualifying round, the second day - the shootout competition, etc. And, the questions in the tournament will be much more difficult.

Growth and Traction

We have a weekly increase in the number of visitors by approximately 12%. In general service is now used by more than 12,000 users worldwide.


We have a little team now. I (ed. - Lubomir Vitol) - CEO of the project, Sasha Bereznak (CTO), two more guys, and our consultants - Maria Zagorskaya, Vladimir Buriy.

Startup Review #1: DevBattles –  social network for programmers


Now we are planning to raise $ 300 thousand for 5% of the project. We have already received an investments of $ 100 thousand, recently received the last tranche of $ 20 thousand. We think that if we develop at the same pace as now, then DevBattles capitalization would be $ 6-7 million.

We havent wishes about potential investors. Of course, if there was a choice between American and European investors, we will choose the US.


We think that our competitors are LinkedIn (on the global market), DOU, Jinny (on the Ukrainian market). Indirect competitors could be all the services of work finding, but our service - a very perspective, in the future we have a lot of advantages.

Questions of experts

Startup Review #1: DevBattles –  social network for programmers

Victor Kompaneets, Head of Venture Investments / Digital Future

- V. Kompaneets: You mentioned a few competitors. And what about the Russian Habrahabr?

- Lubomir: Habrahabr designed only for the Russian-speaking audience, in our case, for both the English and Russian-speaking audience and, accordingly localization. It should also take into account the development of Habrahabr: if Im not mistaken, they have recently published an article that described their development.

- V. Kompaneets: What about the audience,  Habrahabr has today 120 000 visitors.

- Lubomir: We agree, but them are 6 years, and we are only 6 months.

- Alexander: In fact, what is the uniqueness of our project: we were able to combine such things which no one has ever before combined. If we are talking about information platform, we have a very good, interesting content. We even were wrote by Hacker News, asked to reprint our news. Obviously, we are competitive.

- V. Kompaneets: Question about investments. You have received $ 100 thousand. At what assessment? And under what conditions?

- Alexander: We dont know. That is, we have registered a company, our first investor has a stake in this company. At the moment, we are registered in the territory of Ukraine. But we are ready to open a company in the US, Canada or the UK if necessary.

- V. Kompaneets: Question of incorporation - is a very difficult question, because in different jurisdictions different terms of investment institutions, various taxes. The investor could theoretically be our company, but we dont give you money on the territory of Ukraine, except the first tranche. So pay attention to the questions of incorporation of the company, it is important.

And the question of investments. 300 thousand for the 5% stake in the company means that you assess yourself in the $ 6 million. What can you do to confirm this assessment?

- Lubomir: At the moment we do not have supporting documents. We just expect that we will cost $ 6 million after 3-5 years.

- V. Kompaneets: At the moment your project can be assessed in different ways, for example, the number of users. How many users you have ?

- Lubomir: We now have about 12 thousand users.

- V. Kompaneets: So, you are going to sell to the investor 12 thousand users at $ 500 for each. It is not cheap ... On the one hand, Im watching for you for six months. I like the way you develop, recruit users. But now you come to stage of fundraising, and now you have to answer to the tough questions. I can say that on the territory of Ukraine in your project without financial traction and stable growth rates an investment of $ 300 thousand. 5% no one give. Except that, these $ 300 thousand regarded as convertible debt, with certain conditions of capitalization, with a discount. Or it will not be less than 15%, which I think is justified.

- V. Kompaniets: Did you think what it costs you to attract a single user? And one potentially paying customer?

  - Lubomir: No

- V. Kompaneets: This is a fundamentally important because it is from this whole business model is dancing. There are the following observation: if a customer has started to pay, you have to look, how long he is willing to pay. Will he pay each month for a year or pay twice and go, while youre spent ten times as much to attract him. This is the point of tuning of the business model isnt dependent on what you focus on. When selected a lot of forms of monetization, you need to lock in onto one thing, to conduct tests, is it work or not. If it work - picking in this direction. If it didnt work - to take the following idea.

- Lubomir: OK. Thank you.

 Startup Review #1: DevBattles –  social network for programmers

Anton Karpenko, CTO / Happy Farm Business Incubator

 - A. Karpenko: And for what do you plan to spend attracting investments?

 - Lubomir: On the ranging.

- A. Karpenko: In which way you are going to scale? More developers, more jobs, more advertising? Where exactly?

- Lubomir: We will look on all of these areas and decide what may be the most suitable.

- A. Karpenko: In fact, $ 300 thousand into this project is quite easy to attract. But you have such smeared project so that no one can understand what it is at all. Is it a  rating of programmers that have to play and to confirm the qualifications? Is it the  exchange of jobs, where live headhunters? Personally, I see something like online game, with the local currency. Something like RPG that called DevBattles. In this case, the question arises: your users perceive DevBattles as a game or service? I want to hear it from you. Because such services are very much there, and I dont understand your focus.

- Lubomir: First of all, we are perceived as a social network with the elements of the game.

- A. Karpenko: That is, the game will be in any case. Then the question is: if you take DevBattles as a game, why here I hear, "will monetize on the vacancies", etc. Why I need (as a programmer) vacancies there ? For monetization or simply in order to cover everything?

- Lubomir: For monetization.

- A. Karpenko: Ok. If we leave right now one game - the rest I dont examine, it really a lot... You plan that in the game will be a real rating: people will compare with their skills, find solutions, something else. But you give this rating to buy for the money. So I can buy a tenth level and go for all the forums, as the chief expert. Or what?

- Lubomir: Will be a privilege. You will be able to increase their ratings. Yes, you can put on its account 10 thousand DevPoints. But then someone comes to your blog and see that you didnt play. How do you earn them?

- A. Karpenko: Draft cool, all right. The only thing that you have to put in a lot of things too much. If this is such a game, the type Checkio or something else, it will be cool when the programmers in their spare time, when he embarked on his boring job or handed over the job and want to play, poreshat any problem it will be good. Yes, indeed, on the $ 500 they are. You see, I have you now specifically egged you to think, what is your value. You need to focus on that.

I want to add one more thought. As you focus on the programmer and about this, if you find a way of partnership with Dropbox, Evernote, GitHub and similar professional services, it will be very cool. See, everything is very simple. Person buys  DevPoints and if he can renew subscription for them of the same Evernote - from $ 5 to $ 9 per month - it will be the bomb.

- Lubomir: We considered it, thank you for your ideas and suggestions.

Startup Review #1: DevBattles –  social network for programmers

Sergei Dovgopolyi, CTO / InVenture Investment Group

  1. Dovgopolyi: I also have a couple of comments. Firstly, there were many questions about buying of points and selling of ratings. As an idea, I can offer the option to conduct a dual rating. That is, for example, level of player which would be increased only when the user participates in games and tournaments, and your DevPoints, which is the local currency and which you can buy for the money. This will solve the problem which Anton noted .

Lubomir: That is, he can play those points or raffle off, but his rating is not growing.

  1. Dovgopolyi: Yes. The level increases only if the user is taking part in the games, winning tournaments, publishes contact - in a word, is actively involved in the life and development of the project.

A second comment about monetization. Here you have many advice, many criticism. I have a different attitude. You said that you gain 12% in a week, for how long?

Lubomir: Six months, somewhere.

  1. Dovgopolyi: It turns out that the project has a good viral effect. If I would be in your place now, I concentrate not on the business model, but on attracting of users. When you will have not 12 thousand, and at least 100 thousand, then you are likely understand why they come to you and how you can earn on them.
  2. Kompaneets: Here I would like to mention. Its one thing when you come, lets say, with 10 thousand even with a good traction. You have a good traction - zero of marketing and the viral growth of 12 thousand - its wonderful. But we, as investors look for higher volume, and therefore we are interested in numbers, beginning with 100, 200, 300 thousand. They are interesting to us, because, since this magnitude, you can check out some scale models. They begin to work precisely because of scale. And Sergei is right says, that you need to focus on an attracting of users.

Karpenko: In short, youre a programmers - well done. It works. Look, any business, whatever it IT was not there software only 5-10%. The rest - is to twist, to twirl, trying to sell. Now I dont want that we spoil you some relationship with your audience. That, in what you are experts - do it. Think, on what you would have spent the whole focus. This can be anything you want if you have an audience with the appropriate skills and interests.

Lubomir: Thank you for your attention.


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