Atlassian Research: The Journey Of An Entrepreneur in Marketplace

› Hi, developer community!

I’m the researcher within the Ecosystem and Marketplace team. I’ve recently been researching the wide array of partners within the Marketplace community. As we round out 2020, I’d like to share with you a little bit about what I’ve heard and learned.

Over the past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to many of you. I’ve heard from a range of people at different stages in their business journey. Some of you were just getting started on Marketplace, others had been running an app business as a side hobby for years, some had very successful startups, and some are thinking about listing on Marketplace but haven’t made the leap… yet.

As I chatted with each of you, I heard many people express uncertainty about what others experience as founders in the Marketplace. Research has shown that entrepreneurship can be a lonely endeavor, and owning a Marketplace business is no different. If you’re a founder, perhaps you’ve wondered what other founders have done in their journey to success, or how they have handled challenges that you’re facing. If you’re thinking about listing on Marketplace, perhaps you want to learn about the business journey ahead. Let me shine a little light on that loneliness and share what your peers are experiencing.

The Journey to Success

Based on these conversations, our partners experience five key milestones in their journey as a small business, I call them

  1. Proof of Concept
  2. The A-Ha Moment
  3. Taste of Success
  4. Plateau
  5. All-In

Each of these milestones is associated with specific challenges and successes that are fairly consistent across different people. However, the way these milestones might fit together is unique to the individual. Your journey might look like this:

Or this:

Or neither.

Proof of Concept

Proof of concept is a development-focused stage of the journey. An engineer (or team of) is working on their app idea in their spare time. This milestone is all about getting your app to work technically.

Major challenges at this stage are all about accessing technical support and problem-solving. We heard that you make use of Google, this forum, DAC, support tickets, Slack, and StackOverflow to help answer your technical questions.

A-Ha Moment!

The A-Ha! moment is the point in time where you recognized that you could commercialize this app and make some money! I heard founders describe this moment as when they realized their app could be of value to others.
At this stage in the journey, you prepare your app listing and create the very beginning foundations of your business.

I heard that a challenge at this stage is grappling with all the requirements of listing on the Marketplace. For example: What should the price be? How do I set up customer support? Do I need a website? How do I create an end-user agreement?

Taste of Success

You’ve launched on the Marketplace, and people are using your app! Congrats. This is such an exciting point in the journey. Although, while an exciting time, this is also very stressful.

As most founders are engineers, we heard that there are many (potentially) unfamiliar tasks to tackle, which can be a pretty overwhelming moment. You need not only be an engineering lead for your app but also a marketer, a product manager, a researcher collecting and actioning customer feedback, an account manager, and even customer support.

Don’t be afraid to seek support and guidance from your peers to help stem this anxiety. Try the Marketplace Partner forum in the Atlassian Developer Community. If you’re a Marketplace Partner but don’t have access to that category, request access here.


You’ve had your app(s) for a year or more on the Marketplace, and you’ve got a fulfilling side hobby. Your app business might provide some extra cash on the side or offer an intellectual and creative outlet. The app business isn’t a full-time focus.

A significant challenge that founders at this stage expressed was how to collect and action customer feedback. The design team and I are currently thinking about ways that we can make that easier.


Your app business is producing enough revenue that you can make the jump to focusing on it full time.

At our final stage in the small business journey, all of those unfamiliar, non-engineering tasks are starting to outweigh the actual building and maintaining of the app.

I heard those of you at this stage expressing that they feel challenged by… Atlassian. I’ll say it. I heard that we can make things difficult for you in a few ways, from pushing changes that cause breaks to creating programs that can be difficult to access when you are a small business. If you haven’t already, check out Atlassian Ventures. I’m very excited by this program, which will give support to high potential small partners to take their idea to the next level.

So, where are you on your business journey? Have I captured your experience so far?

Next, I’ll be sharing what factors people feel contributed to their success in the Marketplace.

Want to participate in research? Sign up for the Atlassian Research Group.


Thanks for this great post, Caitlin! You really speak from the heart and it feels like you understand the challenges and scary moments of the all-in journey. And yes it’s a steep learning curve to become a player on MP. The biggest challenge I feel (and you hit the nail on the head here for me) is Atlassian itself in her randomness, the twists and turns in programs, requirements and rules of how to play. I seriously think of hiring a full time Atlassian relations and program manager just to keep up!


This very great post. I am original inventor of idea of the Time-sheets. I invented it at year 2006. But on that year my problem was that there was no 10 USD licenses for Server Apps like Jira itself and I haven’t a financing for buy a Jira with prices of year 2006. Second anyone in Finland wasn’t believed my idea and did not succeed to get investor to found Limed Company. Now there is Tempo Timesheets and many similar Apps which make enough money to employing one man company to 100 employees company. So all investors and support for entrepreneurs was wrong and not get a revenue shares today in Finland. Point is that who success to App with good idea to Atlassian Marketplace first and are first on market probably always win the market. Thats why Tempo was most successful I think. Not my App.