The makers of CodeTrace have turned the hiring process into something really easy. Read our interview with CodeTrace co-founder and CEO Rafayel Mkrtchyan and co-founder and CTO Hayk Hovhannisyan.
So, what is CodeTrace? Is it an HR tool or anyone can use it?
Rafayel Mkrtchyan: CodeTrace is a real-time skills assessment software that measures developer’s expertise. For resume builders, it creates a concrete portrayal of their abilities and up to date evidence of their skills, strengthening their hiring prospects. For recruiters, it provides a screening platform to corroborate the skills and knowledge of prospective employees.
Our slogan is ““Your Code Defines Your Skills” – meaning that the code says everything about how talented a software engineer is. Our algorithm utilizes developer’s GitHub profiles to go through their public code and analyze their skills through software development metrics. The combination of the results provides a general overview of the developer’s skill set.
Our customers (currently 5) are software companies interested in growing their engineering teams. Our users (over 20,000 in just 3,5 months) are software engineers interested in improving their career opportunities.
How are you planning to monetize the tool?
Rafayel Mkrtchyan: We are targeting both B2B and B2C sectors. For CodeTrace Resume Builder (for the B2C sector), we will charge users only if they decide to export their CodeTrace certified resumes through our resume templates.
For CodeTrace Hiring Package (includes CodeTrace Screening Tool and CodeTrace Recruiter) we are planning to have a straightforward pricing strategy. Customers will have two payment options – either monthly or annually.
What inspired you to make this?
Hayk Hovhannisyan: The story started when we noticed the problems with LinkedIn’s endorsement feature. Anyone can add their skills but the skills are not truly verifiable. We decided to create something similar but with actual skill verification.
How many people are there in your team? And when have you started?
Hayk Hovhannisyan: Currently, we are 4 people. The project was initially started in early January 2017. We have released the beta version of the product in March. The official release was on May 1st.
How can one find the perfect co-founders for a startup?
Hayk Hovhannisyan: You should find people who you trust and who believe in the product you are building. Moreover, it is very important to cover all aspects of the product in the first stages. For IT companies, it is necessary to have a good developer, as well as business and marketing-oriented individuals. The rest depends on the needs of the project. If your product is related to food, for example, then you might need a professional cook in the team.
How do you reach out to your potential customers?
Rafayel Mkrtchyan: In this early stage of development, we are using very minimal marketing and sales resources to attain customers. We gained our first customers through our network and personal connections. In this pre-seed stage, we are planning on using traditional email marketing techniques to attract new customers.
How do you generate new ideas?
Hayk Hovhannisyan: We launched the beta version of the product very early, which allowed us to assemble knowledge about our users and create a vision of how we should evolve the project. We are getting a lot of feedback from our users, and they generated more ideas than we initially imagined, so a lot of our new features are feature requests from our users.
How many hours do you work a day on average? Describe/outline your typical day.
Hayk Hovhannisyan: We all currently work part-time, since the project is in the bootstrapping stage and we all have full-time jobs. We are spending about 2-4 hour every evening, and working full-time during the weekends. It is not easy but we have a goal and we are working hard to reach it.
Are there any particular publications, magazines or influencers you read/follow?
Hayk Hovhannisyan: We read books about business, marketing, psychology, and development. I can suggest a few: “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters and “Anatomy of Buzz” by Emanuel Rosen.
Rafayel Mkrtchyan: Out of the many books written for entrepreneurs, I would suggest “The Effective Executive” by Peter Drucker and “The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton Christensen.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
Hayk Hovhannisyan: It is hard to say, there are a lot of great people who motivate us: Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Linux Torvalds.
What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Hayk Hovhannisyan: Decision-making freedom. It’s great knowing that we can adjust or change things whenever we deem fit.
Rafayel Mkrtchyan: Besides what Hayk already mentioned, being an entrepreneur gives us the opportunity to stand up for what we believe in and work with people that we like.
Could you please enumerate 3 marketing strategies that help you promote your product?
Rafayel Mkrtchyan: Reaching out to popular open-source contributors turned out to be very effective since their online endorsements bring a lot of traffic to the site. Also, there are various social media groups dedicated to software engineers. After every major release, we regularly make attractive posts regarding our product. Last but not least, our Customer Referral Program encourages current users to refer new ones to our website.
And lastly, what are the 3 pieces of advice you can give to entrepreneurs-to-be?
Rafayel Mkrtchyan: Keep your focus – never try to jump into new ideas, unless you are pretty sure that the current one is not working.
Hayk Hovhannisyan: Build small products and go live as soon as possible – people will like good products even with few features, but if the idea is no good, then additional stuff will not help.
Build a small, cross-functional team – you should be able to cover all aspects of the product in the early stages.