It’s been a while since I’ve done a Startup of the Week post. Maybe I should change it to Startup of the Month hah. I do have a few more in the pipeline too though. Nonetheless, I’m back with a company in a market that I’m super excited about. The company is called Codementor, and you can learn more about them below:
Problem: Learning to code. Codementor is a two sided marketplace where demand is people who are learning to code and/or need help fixing bugs. The supply side is expert developers who (presumably) want to earn extra cash, and/or prospect new clients.
Solution: Real-time help marketplace making it easy for developers to get instant help from experts via code/screen sharing, video, and text.
Market: I’m bullish on pretty much any company whose customers are developers. Software is eating the world. I’m even more bullish on the beginner developer subset, because I think there’s a huge shortage of supply of developers given current and expected demand. I think there will be more and more people, like me (see below), who will be learning to code.
Product: As someone who recently started learning to code, I can tell you, the pain of running in to a roadblock while coding is excruciating! You get into a rhythm and you’re cranking stuff out when all of sudden you get stuck. I try searching Google, StackOverflow, message boards, etc., but sometimes the best and fastest way to get someone to help is 1:1 and live. There have been several instances where I run into a roadblock and say to myself, “man I would love to just pay someone to help me through this right now.” Not in a few days when someone responds to me on a message board — now. Not via text and screenshots — 1:1 and personalized to me. Enter Codementor.
I’ve used the product and it provided the perfect solution to the problems I was having. For example, I needed to make some very simple HTML and CSS edits to my blog. I tried for a couple hours to do it on my own, but was stuck. Instead of paying someone to do it for me, I hired a Codementor to teach me. I learned to fish instead of buying a fish. Within minutes of placing a request on Codementor I was connected to a live human being. At a rate of just $20/hr, I was extremely satisfied with my experience. I believe learning 1:1 is the most effective way to learn.
Risk: Marketplaces have “network effects” that lead to “winner take all” outcomes. There is some direct and indirect competition. I have seen a few startups with nearly identical products. Codementor also indirectly competes with well-funded companies solving the same problem with different solutions including StackOverflow and Codecademy.
Team: Weiting Liu, previously co-founded YC backed startup which was acquired and another that he bootstrapped to 50+ people.
Funding: TechStars Seattle 2013 + angels
Key takeaway: love the market, love the product.