Short Story


Ideascale link

Problem statement :

Coding roadblocks inhibit or slow down blockchain project completion & learning. Docs can be daunting & unhelpful compared to live help.

Describe your solution to the problem

A marketplace for students & founders to find mentors and/or pro coders to help them through issues, tasks, & train in live coding sessions

Relevant experience

Travis Cook: UI/UX Designer, Front-end Dev, & Product Owner

Erfun Tavakoli: Fullstack Developer, React, Typescript, Functional Programming

Website/GitHub repository (not required)

Detailed plan (not required) – Fill in here any additional details

Project Name: (Working Title/Name; final TBD) ProRata, “A Mentor Marketplace”


A web marketplace and VSCode extension for matchmaking professional/experienced mentor developers to ‘mentee’ founders, students, and/or new & emerging coders to guide them through projects/tasks, or help with problems or tutorials via live-coding sessions & ‘IDE-integrated’ code review.
The MVP will not be a dapp (initially), nor will it host only (exclusively) Cardano developers, but the platform will specifically market and promote Cardano developers/tech & blockchain technology and facilitate the mentorship of founders/developers working on Cardano projects while uniquely encouraging new projects in Cardano.
The marketplace will facilitate/support payments in Cardano, and we plan to integrate smart contract functionality and tokens in future versions.
“Tinder like matchmaking marketplace on VSCode for coding-students/mentors, developers/clients, & co-founders/collaborators”


We intend to complete and launch an MVP to begin testing on small groups of beta users to further validate concept, and employ a lean/agile development process with production & testing/learning/validation cycles to try and establish product/market fit as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The MVP will consist of 2 parts:

  1. Web platform/reverse marketplace: Student/novice developers, startup founders, and professional programmers can create profiles, and search each other’s profiles. Mentors can respond with ‘offers’ when Mentees post request(s) for mentorship, consultation, or code review, and they can book/schedule live coding sessions (at hourly rates) to dispatch/complete in VSCode.
  2. VSCode extension that integrates access to the marketplace (and other tools/services) allowing VSCode users to find mentors within the IDE and connect for live sessions via integrations such as Streamcode, CodeTogether, MS Live Share, Slack, Discord, Stripe, adaPay (or alternative Cardano payment gateway). By packaging and leveraging existing extensions/services (initially), the extension will support screen-sharing, chat/messaging, collaborative coding, payment processing (including ADA payments), time-tracking, and more.


There are existing marketplaces where people can hire developers to complete specific tasks or build projects, and many resources for students and new coders to learn (even in interactive coding environments), but there remains a large untapped market of new and emerging coders, founders, and/or students that are working on their own projects, experiments, or coding problems, etc. who constantly run into issues or roadblocks that can hold up development indefinitely, slow down the build process, or send them down the wrong design/strategic path and/or cause them to make poor programming choices, etc.

These people will often give up on projects/learning, and/or contract out the work to a 3rd-party (freelancer/agency/firm), or complete the project very slowly and inefficiently, likely implementing poor programming design choices, paradigms, or inappropriate tech, etc. for the application. This is especially true when it comes to new and leading edge tech (ie. blockchain, Cardano Marlowe, etc.) where the documentation and training material is not as good or widespread, and the community is not as large or well-developed/experienced (ie. not as much applicable or quality content on platforms like Stack Overflow, Reddit, Slack, Discord, Youtube, Udemy, etc.)

Our target market may also extend to teams conducting code review(s) for projects, and developers/founders looking for collaborators or co-founders, although the monetization model for this concept still needs validation.

Target Customers/Users:

  • Aimed at developer, blockchain, and startup communities; specifically programming students, new & emerging coders, and startup entrepreneurs/founders, as well as experienced, professional, freelance and entrepreneurial/founder developers offering services to that target market.


  • Users that need help with their code (ie. problems, web apps, blockchain projects, etc.) or training (coding problems, tutorials, exercises, etc.) can submit requests and/or search for mentors/tutors interested and available to walk them through solving specific problems, completing tasks/projects, or teaching/mentoring topics of interest.
  • Developers/Mentors can create profiles with skills, experience, rates, etc. (reverse marketplace support)
  • Students/Clients can post descriptions of problems, tasks, or projects, with code snippets, screen shots, messages and budgets.
  • When a match is made, they can connect within VSCode, and the meter starts going after and initial no-charge ‘warmup/intro’ stage (possibly optional and adjustable). Either party can leave at any time, but users are incentivized by reputation (ratings/reviews) to operate on good faith and not ‘frustrate’ deals & transactions.

Future Features:

  • Initially, users will need to add connections to additional services (Slack,, etc.), some of which will be mandatory and some optional, to use the marketplace but we plan to eventually replace many of the essential integrations with custom code.
  • Add support for traditional marketplace for app development services and/or training (ie. freelancers, developers, agencies, consultants, etc.)
  • Option for digital signature of Non-Disclosure Agreement
  • Prorata Members/Mentors will have the ability to add multiple users into single sessions so that Mentors can guide multiple students simultaneously
  • Added support for non-programmers (Designers, Project managers, Financial Consultants, etc.)
  • Extensions for other software such as Sublime, Adobe Creative Cloud, Sketch, Chrome, Firefox, etc.
  • API for integrations into third-party software.
  • Add blockchain and smart contract integration and token support for handling all deals and transactions.
  • “Founder Finder” area of marketplace for connecting with potential startup co-founders and collaborating on projects, etc.


Similar marketplaces, apps, extensions, etc.

  • Marketplaces:
  4. Crypto Job List (marketplace for hiring blockchain developers)


  • Phase 1: MVP


  • We will require a total of $13000.00 to build an MVP and test for 6 months (up to 1 year depending on product/market fit)
  • Web marketplace built using, and ST-Flex framework allowing us to quickly and easily build a marketplace from a fully working template with out-of-the-box functionality, using lo-code dev and admin tools. The framework gives us complete access, control, and ownership of the codebase (and complete IP) and is built with React, + Redux.
  • est. approx. 33 hours: $2000.00
  • Sharetribe Flex API Pricing: $299/mth + 1%(0-30k transactions)-0.3%(10M-100M+ transactions)
  • est. 6 mths @ $299/mth + $50/mth = 6 x 349 = $2094.00
  • VSCode Extension:
  • Build Stack: React,Typescript, Svelte, Node/Express, MongoDB
  • integrate with Sharetribe marketplace via API:
  • Packaged Extensions:
  • est. approx. 100 hours: $6000.00



  • Phase 2: Future Project Development
    We will migrate to a new web marketplace using the front-end code built with Sharetribe Flex (built with React, + Redux) and be custom building a new back-end integrating blockchain tech (after validation and possibly product/market fit)
    est. TBD (Phase 2)

Product Roadmap:

  1. Estimated Completion: March 30/21: Build web-based marketplace using (lo-code framework with full access & ownership of codebase and IP)
  2. Logins
  3. Mentor and Mentee Profile Creators
  4. Problem/Task/Project ‘Request for Help’ Post/Submit
  5. Estimated Completion: May 30/21: Build VSCODE extension (connect to existing backend via STFlex Integration SDK):
  6. Build webviews, and panels
  7. API connections via STF integration SDK
  8. Rebuild UI for webview(s) (Refactor code from web front-end
  9. Login with github
  10. Profile Creators
  11. Problem/Task/Project ‘Request for Help’ Post/Submit
  12. Offer Creations/Scheduling/Booking (w/ Calendar Integration)
  13. Interfaces for Packaged Extensions (Add Connections.., Launch Connection)
  14. Extension Integrations: Messaging, Collaborative Coding, Screen share, Whiteboard
  15. Payment Processing
  16. Soft Launch: June 01/21
  17. Start Beta-testing with closed user groups
  18. Marketing/Promotion
  19. Public Launch: July 01/21:
  20. User Testing & Promotion
  21. Estimated Completion: TBD: Phase 2
  22. Support for traditional marketplace for app development services (Can Post/submit Jobs & Bids)
  23. Blockchain Integration, smart contracts & tokens


Travis Cook: I have experience as UI/UX Designer, Front-end Dev, & Product Owner at multiple startups:

Erfun Tavakoli: Fullstack Developer, React, Typescript, Functional Programming

Requested funds in USD 13000

Which of these definitions apply to you? Other/Prefer not to say, Entrepreneur, Developer


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