This week we feature the California based hi-tech startup StackShare.
StackShare (previously Leanstack), started in May 2013 as a side project. The founders wanted a better way to find and choose things that would help them build apps. Fast forward over a year later, and they have built up a growing community of developers, engineers, CTOs, and Founders that are helping each other learn about tools and services.
StackShare, lets technology professionals publish their companies’ stacks and see what others are using, similar to “lego blocks” as Yonas Beshawred, the CEO likes to call it. “Stack,” technologies can mean a few different things, but is increasingly used to describe a collection of different pieces of software used together to accomplish a task. An application platform stack might include the programming languages used to build it, the services used to connect it to other apps or the service that hosts it online.
Q&A: Interview with Yonas Beshawred, Founder, CEO – San Jose, California
How did you get started with the idea?
I spent some time in management consulting, helping large Fortune 500 companies figure out which technologies to use for large scale projects. I also saw the consumerization of IT first-hand; software was being adopted haphazardly by individuals in departments across large organizations. There were the official IT-approved solutions and then all the things everyone used because it made their jobs easier. Yet the way that all of these technologies were discovered, evaluated, and adopted wasn’t consistent, reliable, or efficient. So you ended up with a lot of wasted resources, unhappy employees, and half-solutions to problems.
Then I joined a startup in Silicon Valley that was going through Y Combinator (a startup incubator in Mountain View, CA). I saw how CTOs and founders in the Y Combinator network would ask each other which technologies they should use to build their companies. They’d have long back and forth discussions over email about which solutions were better. Same thing, no consistent way to figure out what they should use.
I thought there should be a better way—a platform for IT buyers, engineers, and developers to share which technologies they use, why they use them, and how they use them.
The idea sounds unique. Who are your main competitors?
Siftery – They are our main competitor – but they are more focused on marketing. Others include BuiltWith, Quora, GetApp, BlackDuck, Slant, StackExchange, and Trust Pilot. But none of these platforms combine the capabilities StackShare does.
Who are the main customers of Stackshare?
Our main customers are developers and other technology professionals, mostly CTOs between 28-38 years of age. Sixty-four percent of our users are in the United States, with California ranking highest, followed by Oregon, then New York.
What are your greatest practical challenges?
Prioritization is our biggest challenge. Having such a large community of users, everyone wants something different, and figuring out what to prioritize in terms of development of new features or changes to the product is something we work on everyday. The way we’ve addressed this is by getting qualitative feedback from our users and weighing it against company goals and what we are preparing for the future.
What are your plans to go global?
While right now we are primarily focused on the US and English speaking countries, in a way we’ve already begun going global. The top three countries that use StackShare are the US, India, and the UK, with 36% of our users being outside of the US. We don’t have any concrete plans to actively market StackShare outside of the US, but we do have some community based efforts in the UK.
Tell us about your business model. Where do you see yourselves in a year?
Our biggest opportunity lies in matching the best available software with developer teams. In the current model, our revenue comes from software vendors. We’ve started to test out products and in a year’s time, on the vendor side we will have a much more personalized way of reaching out to IT buyers through the StackShare platform. Going forward, there is opportunity to build something more community based, where vendors can interact with buyers.
Any other details you wish to highlight about Stackshare?
Over time, Stackshare has also become a hiring tool. Technical job seekers use StackShare to see which technologies companies they’d like to work for are using. Our platform allows them to see which companies and positions are a good fit for them based on the technology they’re familiar with (https://stackshare.io/match). Companies share the technology they use so that they can attract and recruit top engineering talent that has experience with the technology their company uses. Companies like Instacart and HotelTonight have hired engineers that have learned of their companies through StackShare.
[Edited for clarity 16th May]
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