When startups reach the key milestone of securing Angel or Venture Capital, their new partners are looking both for a series of deliverables but also a great return on their investment. One of the many questions they ask during the pitch process is generally ‘how long before you’ll need another infusion of capital?’ They love it when the response is … “a long time.”
Once that infusion is safely secured, how do smart entrepreneurs make the most of it? STRETCH. Find the best value for the money on every project. And that includes custom developed software.
In the early 2000s, the key to this savings was to off-shore development. Fast and inexpensive services sprung up across Asia and Eastern Europe, putting hundreds of thousands of software engineers to work… outside of the US.
“Americans are just too expensive,” was the cry.
What we learned, however, was that it’s not really American developers that are so untouchably expensive, but the US major cities that pushed up the prices. The developers in rural areas and small cities are actually quite affordable. Plus – they speak your language, understand your culture, and live somewhat near your time zone (if not in your time zone).
Entrepreneurs often judge the viability of outsourcing based on hourly rates they are paying. This can be misleading. When you pay for the least expensive person to do the job, you seldom get the best. Then you wind up paying more for senior team members to work through the problems created by the less-experienced.
Here are three other ways that the whole can end up bigger than the sum of its parts (ie: it’s more expensive to offshore than it looks):
Where you are does make a difference. If your developers are in major cities with high cost of living, you’ll simply spend more than you will when the teams live in places where the cost of living is lower. It’s just logical. And it’s been proven out time and time again on projects we’ve delivered.
But it’s not just the cost of the developer. It’s the cost of your time. That’s why we encourage you to take advantage of our US-based developers, and keep from going:
Just because you need to stretch your investment dollars, don’t cheap out on software development. Be responsible. Keep development in the US by working with rural and small city teams. Consider the whole of your investment, and give us a call.
Trade shows, County fairs. Film festivals. Street fairs. Flea Markets. Job fairs.
Events like these are a compendium of thousands of details. Vendors, payments, marketing, invoicing… keeping it all organized and easily accessible can be exhausting.
PS Solutions to the rescue! We’ve recently released our own vendor management system, and we call it Chute – as in, parachute – because it eases your entry into the event. We were working with a Pennsylvania County Fair which faced problems when volunteers left the organization. The result was increased difficulty tracking and managing billings. The team at PS Solutions saw an opportunity to help event managers across the country easily organize, communicate about and manage their interaction with vendors.
Here are just a few things we took into consideration when creating our event management system for festivals:
Chute Festival provides you with a computerized interactive version of your festival or fairground layout. It’s easier than ever to determine which spaces are still are rented and quickly pinpoint where each vendor will reside. Of course, it’s also easier to show which spaces are open and left to be sold, allowing you to quickly close the deal. Vendor reservations are laid out in color, making it a snap to identify who’s where.
Keep up communications with potential, current and even former vendors through our simple email management system that ties directly to the data in your system.
Let Chute Festival take the stress out of billing. Generate customized Invoices on the fly to track and manage payments and accounts. With a few clicks, you can generate all invoices for a given event. And all the information is tied back to each vendor, giving you greater insight into where you stand financially.
And if you use a different accounting – or event database — package, that’s no problem either. Chute provides easy export into PDF, .xls and CSV. With only a few clicks you can export an entire section of data in a pain-free process.
There are so many advantages to having a cloud-hosted software solution. For example:
We don’t believe in capping your creativity or your success. So, go ahead. Host two events this year. Or three. Even if you want to expand your mapping footprint or layout, the costs for new maps are available at extremely low rates, allowing you to expand or reorganize without worrying about excessive costs. Whether you host one event or a dozen there are no caps when you use Chute Festival to manage your projects.
Feel confident. As you grow, Chute Festival will grow with you.
Want to learn more about how Chute can help you? Connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
When you own a software development company and you lead a foundation that encourages young
girls to learn to code, you’re often asked about how we can get enough coders among our population. In
fact, it seems that at most dinner parties we attend there’s at least one parent in the room that asks
about how to help teach their children to develop technology skills. One team at Carnegie Mellon
University (CMU) must have been asked the same thing, as they’ve come up with one option. They call it
According to their website, Alice is designed to teach logical and computational thinking skills,
fundamental principles of programming and to be a first exposure to object-oriented programming. It’s
used by teachers but can easily be led by parents-as-teachers as well. Most start at middle school level,
although it has regularly been used with younger children – and even those at university level.
Designed to provide the basics coding and software design, it includes game development but is also
used to expand understanding of both logical and creative thinking. Studies done at CMU found proven
benefits in engaging and retaining diverse and under-served groups in computer science education.
In and of itself, Alice is a fabulous teaching environment. The Alice Project as a whole, however, also
provides supplemental tools and materials for teaching using Alice across a spectrum of ages and
subject matter. They have established an active community, wherein teachers of all sorts interact to
provide ideas and applications and talk through concerns or questions.
Alice starts with a simple drag-and-drop approach, to make the concept of programming less daunting.
Students (and teachers!) progress quickly to develop stories through animation and sound, and
ultimately even build games.
If you’ve ever had to name a product or a company in the past 20 years, you know how difficult it is to
settle on something that’s not already taken. While many girls could be Alice Smith, there’s only one
alicesmith.com, and acquiring the registered trademark is a complex process.
As the creative folk at CMU tried to express this program, they thought, of course, of storytelling. Who
better to embody the idea of Alice in Lewis Carroll’s The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland. Carroll, a
mathematician, novelist, and photographer, could do intellectually difficult things but also realized the
most powerful thing was to be able to communicate clearly and in an entertaining way. This inspired
CMU’s efforts to make something complex (programming) easy and fun.
As they describe on their site, the name is also a very practical choice. The artwork associated with the
Alice books is now in the public domain, its copyright having lapsed. Also, the name “Alice” has several
other advantages: easy to spell and pronounce, it shows up at the top of alphabetized lists. Great
It’s so important to offer programming as a key still today that CMU has found a way to make this
project a gift. In other words, it may cost you in time and energy, but there is no financial outlay. It’s
So, no matter the age of your children, go take a look at Alice. There may be a great storyteller inside
your child’s mind, once they have the tools. You’ll find a link to it on our Foundation website, under
Cucalorus, PS Solutions reached 90 students, mostly girls, ages 8-14.
The Cucalorus Festival brought a digital literacy program to local elementary and middle school students with a mobile Kids Coding Workshop. Students at Snipes Academy, Wrightsboro Elementary and GLOW Academy were given an opportunity to write simple codes that programmed and controlled super-small computers, or Arduinos. The program was sponsored by the PS Solutions Foundation.
“Coding is the language of computers,” explained Rob Hill, a filmmaker and Cucalorus outreach educator, as he led students at Snipes to engage in the programming exercise. “A computer program, or code, is a set of instructions that a computer follows to complete a task.” Leading the students through the coding program, Hill provided guidance to connect a circuit board to the computer and then program the computer to tell the circuit board to light up.
The workshops were scheduled over three days reaching some 90 students, mostly girls, ages 8 to 14. According to Wayne Hippo, managing partner of PS Solutions, “the girls tend to flourish and engage more readily without boys in the room. We want girls to see that computer science is a fun and gratifying field of study, and workshops such as these give them a good hands-on opportunity to learn and grow confident with new skills.”
Indeed, the girls showed immediate delight when lights flashed as a result of their coding exercise.
There is urgency to drawing more girls into fields of computer science. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment of software developers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. A tech talent vacuum means many of the jobs go unfilled, so broadening the pool of candidates is critical to U.S. competitiveness.
“Ultimately, we hope by providing young girls with experiences such as the Cucalorus Kids Coding Workshop, they might later consider studying for a career in computer science or programming,” Hippo said. “You never know when you are opening a door to possibilities that might otherwise never have been considered,” he says.
PS Solutions’ Foundation is a nonprofit committed to developing young girls’ interest in software engineering.
The coding workshops were part of Cucalorus Connect, an interactive convergence of technology entrepreneurship and creative arts. Expanding the festival’s media literacy programming, the digital literacy outreach works to draw people into the world of digital sciences, arts and communications.
PS Solutions is a software development firm that recently expanded to Wilmington from its Pennsylvania headquarters.
For years your team has developed hypertext-based solutions. For both internal and client applications, you guys can rock you some PHP.
But the challenge has changed – and now you need to develop for Windows. You look into a framework that will support a series of different languages – you need access to a huge library that can share with multiple applications.
You need .NET.
But you don’t know .NET, and neither does your team. You can learn it… it’s not rocket science and your team knows C# and VB… besides, they’re really keen. But, you don’t have an extra month.
You need a .NET expert. Someone that will know how to get the Framework right, how to apply the appropriate tools.
What you don’t need? To go through a hiring process. To sign someone on who has the skills you need for a short-term project. To get the project clearly laid out.
One of the great things about having PS Solutions as a partner is that we’re ready to help. We have a hefty team that’s facile with:
… and a whole lot more.
We’ve worked in manufacturing, healthcare, finance, retail, transit, HR… you name the industry, we’ve likely coded for it.
So don’t stress. Just call PS.
Company could bring on 15 employees, official says.
WILMINGTON — A software development firm has opened in Wilmington, hoping to tap into the region’s growing fintech hub and other industries.
PS Solutions, an Altoona, Pennsylvania-based firm, is operating out of the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This is the first PS Solutions location outside of Pennsylvania, where it also has an office in Pittsburgh.
Managing partner Wayne Hippo said the company develops software solutions for a variety of clients, from mid-size landscaping businesses to convenience store chains to national healthcare and corrections companies. He anticipates PS Solutions having its own Wilmington space and about 15 employees within the year.
“We’re pretty excited about it; it’s certainly the type of community we have been looking for,” he said. “Wilmington seems to be a growing community, willing to take on a lot of tech development.”
In addition to IT support, PS Solutions can develop software and provide programming to clients. Hippo said many of PS’s clients have been fintech — or financial technology — companies, an industry that’s growing roots in Wilmington through companies like nCino and the
recently opened Apiture.
Live Oak Bank is building space at its Wilmington campus
that will house future fintech companies doing business with the bank.
Hippo said the presence of those and other tech companies helped draw PS Solutions to the Port City. Rather than locating in the Reasearch Triangle or Charlotte, Hippo said PS was looking for a North Carolina home that would offer future employees an attractive lifestyle.
“Not everyone wants to be in the heart of the big development areas,” he said. “There’s plenty of talent out there that thinks, ‘maybe there’s a better way of life’.”
PS plans to do business with clients throughout the Carolinas, and Hippo said the company is excited to keep tech talent in the Wilmington area.
“I think we’re really pleased at the reception so far, and we’re looking forward to a long-term partnership,” he said.
PS Solutions of Altoona and Pittsburgh is opening a Wilmington, N.C., office, bringing software development solutions to companies in the Carolinas that are hitting technology roadblocks.
PS Solutions offers a staff of software and project management professionals and serves major corporations and mid-sized entrepreneurs, providing programming and software development, contract IT services and onsite placement of IT professionals.
The company employs a diverse group of technology professionals with a commitment to solving the tech talent vacuum and keeping technology from moving off-shore. The company looks to grow its Carolina-based staff throughout the year.
“Wilmington offers an important new business landscape for us, opening avenues to RTP and the southeast region,” Wayne Hippo, managing partner of PS Solutions, said in a statement. “We look forward to serving the growing fintech, health care and service sector economy, all of which rely on secure, scalable and state-of-the-art software solutions.”
“Ours is a team of creative problem solvers,” co-owner Joe Merilli said in a statement. “We are very adept at finding innovative solutions, whether our clients are facing changing technologies, expanding services or are even entering the technology/software world for the first time. We pride ourselves in working alongside our clients to solve their technology and software problems.”
Below is the link to the article:
PS Solutions fills regional skills gap and provides on-shore solutions for
companies facing technology roadblocks
Wilmington, NC – May 29, 2018 — PS Solutions is opening a Wilmington, NC, office bringing creative solutions in software development to companies in the Carolinas that are hitting technology roadblocks. PS Solutions offers a staff of software and project management professionals and serves major corporations and mid-size entrepreneurs alike, providing programming and software development, contract IT services, and onsite placement of IT professionals. With offices in Altoona and Pittsburgh, the company employs a diverse group of technology professionals with a commitment to solving the tech talent vacuum and keeping technology from moving off-shore. PS Solutions is currently working out of UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on College Road and is looking to grow its Carolina-based staff throughout the year.
“Wilmington offers an important new business landscape for us, opening avenues to RTP and the southeast region,” said Wayne Hippo, managing partner of PS Solutions. “We look forward to serving the growing fintech, healthcare and service sector economy, all of which rely on secure, scalable and state-of-the-art software solutions.” The company works for a broad range of clients who need help with .net, Java and Android platforms, providing creative and cost-saving solutions to support their growth.
Creative Solutions to Technology Problems
PS Solutions can scale its expertise for Fortune 500 and multi-national corporations, mid-size companies and start-ups, alike. Clients have included:
“Ours is a team of creative problem solvers,” explains Mr. Hippo, “we are adept at secure solutions for our fin-tech clients and have HIPPA-certified developers for our healthcare clients.”
Keeping IT Stateside
The trend of off-shoring technology development and IT support is a critical driver for Mr. Hippo and his partner, Joe Merilli. The two are committed to providing an accessible solution to companies who wish to keep their technology in the US. “Technology affects every aspect of our lives, so it is important that we, as a country, control how it is developed and applied,” explains Mr. Hippo. With comparisons to America’s furniture and textile industries, he asks, “Do we really want to offshore our banking and healthcare technologies? Keeping software development here at home is a matter of national security,” he says.
About PS Solutions
PS Solutions, a software development firm headquartered in Altoona, PA, with offices in Pittsburgh and Wilmington, NC, uses US-based developers to alleviate the technology talent vacuum. The company’s creative approach to software development services earned them a position on the Inc. 5000 list, in the top 150 fastest growing IT Services Private Companies (133) and ranked 7th in Pennsylvania.
On February 28, 2017, the President signed the “Inspiring the Next Space Pioneers, Innovators, Researchers, and Explorers (INSPIRE) Act” into law. The primary aim of the bill is to compel the director of NASA to encourage women and girls to study within the STEM fields. The purpose of this act is to support NASA and help women to consider and pursue a career in aerospace. NASA will use three initiatives to support the efforts; the NASA GIRLS AND NASA BOYS programs, Aspire to Inspire, and the Summer Institute in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research.
The INSPIRE Act is one additional step in what needs to be a comprehensive approach to break down the glass ceiling for women in many STEM fields. We currently have a tremendous shortage of US trained personnel to fill the many opportunities in STEM fields. The US is currently losing thousands of jobs overseas, simply because we don’t have trained people to do the work required. While not anywhere near a cure for the problem INSPIRE is a step in the right direction. The fastest fix to this problem is to make sure that women are given every opportunity to go after what are often traditionally male opportunities in the STEM fields.
PS Solutions Foundation is dedicated to helping young girls get exposure to STEM opportunities, particularly software engineering in the hopes that they will be encouraged to pursue the field as they work through their educational path. PS Solutions Foundation has provided scholarships for girls participating in science camps at Penn State Altoona.
The Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act was signed into law on February 28, 2017. It was one of two bills designed to encourage woman to pursue careers in science and business fields. This Act allows the National Science Foundation to encourage entrepreneurial programs for women. These programs will allow women the opportunity to strive for careers in the STEM fields from the lab to the commercial world.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while women make up 47 percent of the U.S. workforce, they only hold 25.6 percent of computer and mathematical occupations and only 15.4 percent of architecture and engineering occupations. At the college level, women only earn 18 percent of computer science degrees.
Founded in 2012, PS Solutions Foundation focuses local efforts at encouraging young women to develop an interest in software engineering. The Foundation partners with educational providers to engage the young women so they can explore Computer Science and hopefully one day strive for a career within the field. There is a large opportunity for women within the STEM fields and this Act will hopefully be only one step in a comprehensive plan to help grow those opportunities for women.
Altoona Development Center
1601 Eleventh Avenue
Altoona, PA, 16601
Pittsburgh Development Center
1500 Ardmore Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15221
Wilmington Development Center
2109 Capital Drive
Wilmington, NC, 28405