Black Founder Raises $5.2M For StackShare, A ‘Digital Candy Store For Developers’
StackShare, which started life as a WordPress blog by Yonas Beshawred and grew into a social network of 200,000 developers, has announced a $5.2 million Series A round.
In a tweet this week, StackShare founder and CEO Beshawred said that he wants to use the money to transform the way all software as a service (SaaS) tools and infrastructure are bought and sold by building the world’s first technology graph.
The StackShare community solves a problem, Tech Crunch reported. In the complicated world of web development, there are limited vetted resources to understand which combinations of cloud providers, databases, and developer tools work well together — especially in production — and which don’t. That means engineers are spending more time just trying to keep up with the latest technology rather than actually building products.
On StackShare, developers don’t just share their technology stacks — they give advice on how to use them.
The $5.2 million Series A round, led by e.Ventures, follows a $1.5 million seed round reported a few months ago, according to Tech Crunch. Investors include Cervin Ventures and angels Nick Rockwell, Aston Motes, Dave Johnson, and Bill Smith.
Beshawred founded StackShare in 2013 as a platform for developers to discover open source and software-as-a-service applications and tools. Popular categories include application hosting, libraries, data stores, analytics, back office and collaboration.
As CEO, Beshawred has managed to stay out of the limelight. He has blogged about founders of other tech companies, but not much about himself, making him seem somewhat of a mystery.
Beshawred is described as an Ethiopian American by Tadias, a New York-based news magazine tailored to Ethiopian Americans and the diaspora. Although his Ethiopian American roots have been mentioned in numerous news articles, there is little-to-nothing on the web by way of details.
Beshawred studied information systems at the University of Maryland, then spent 18 months at Accenture’s IT Strategy Practice before quitting to study human-computer interaction at the University of Maryland for a year, according to CrunchBase. Soon after, Beshawred moved to Mountain View, California to join Cube/SlidePay (a 2012 Y-Combinator startup) as a marketing and sales and iOS design graduate intern. He launched what is now StackShare, as Leanstack.io in May 2013 and has been working on it full-time ever since.
In an undated blog, Beshawred said he is motivated by the words of Noah Samara. An African American entrepreneur, Samara founded WorldSpace, a now-defunct satellite radio network that broadcast to some of the world’s poorest people in Africa and India. Its satellites are still being used by Yazmi USA, LLC, a company run by Samara that claimed it built the first satellite-to-tablet content delivery system.
This is the Samara quote that Beshawred cites for motivation:
“I once read that Mother Teresa said, ‘God doesn’t require us to succeed; He only requires that we try.’ You know she is right. Because in his boundless mercy, the God of big and small things sees into our hearts and souls and judges us by our intent as well as our actions. History, by contrast, has no compassion whatsoever. Our attempts and our intent mean nothing to history. Our well-intentioned efforts will not even earn us a footnote … My message is simple: creating social and economic development in Africa is not about me and it’s not about you. It’s about getting it done … Our technology is digital and so is our task. It’s zero or one; we are either on or off; we have gotten it done or we have not.” — Noah Samara
StackShare has assumed the unofficial role of an online coffee house for developers, Beshawred said in a CMS Wire report. “StackShare’s concept is all about having a conversation with someone in a similar role, asking what they use for certain task or project,” he said:
A warning though: these conversations are not for those light on their tech creds. ‘We call it a developer’s candy store’ because of the in-depth nature of the conversations and the tools being reviewed, according to Beshawred.”
When StackShare started, users would list the technology they were working with. As the data grew, Beshawred started seeing opportunities. Engineers increasingly needed to combine existing building blocks and make something new out of them. “When we look at it, it is professionals finding and communicating with each other,” Beshawred told Tech Crunch.
StackShare wants to be the place where engineers go to get actionable advice about what technology to choose when they have questions:
The goal is not just to know that, say, Airbnb is using React, but who on Airbnb’s engineering team is actually coding it and what lessons have they learned from running it in production.
Beshawred describes the data that he is collecting as a ‘technology graph’ connecting people to technology. The idea is that using StackShare’s search tools, a startup team could connect with veteran engineers at other companies who have worked with a stack and can help give advice on which ones work and which ones do not. You could search for companies using a specific database, programming language, and front end library together and who are slightly larger than you, and learn much faster.”
StackShare says it’s different from other large developer platforms like Github or StackOverflow. StackShare developers can look at the technology that a user works with and send them a daily or weekly newsletter noting any changes or new thinking about the technology.
In the long term, StackShare sees an opportunity for recruiting as part of its business model. It allows recruiters to find the engineers who fit their need. “If you are a recruiter, we can search for people who have used Go on AWS for a Series B startup,” Beshawred told Tech Crunch. “Today you can’t do that anywhere else.”
In the above tweet, Beshawred told followers that StackShare is hiring.
On Angel List there were more specifics about openings at StackShare: “8 Open Positions · $60k–$140k/yr”