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Team EDRepublic
Team EDRepublic.

With so many companies today needing websites, apps, and other technologies, the demand for developers is increasingly expanding well beyond the tech sector. But between steep competition and a finite talent pool, many companies struggle to secure enough talented employees.

That’s a pain point EDRepublic wants to address with its matchmaking service that brings together budding developers and companies in need of coding help. EdRepublic validates programmers’ skills with integrated tests, assigns a universal suitability score, and pulls data from their LinkedIn and Github profiles. Companies can set requirements for candidates, and recruiters can search candidates by scores and other factors.

EDRepublic CEO Shahzad Umar
EDRepublic CEO Shahzad Umar

“We were all feeling the pain of hiring, and decided to do something about it,” said CEO Shahzad Umar. “Our goal is to become the ISO of hiring.”

Umar is a veteran of Amazon, Microsoft, and Groupon who experienced first-hand difficulties finding developers. He and his co-founders debuted EDRepublic at GeekWire Startup Day this past January, where they won our pitch contest.

We caught up with Umar for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “We make it easier for companies to interview and evaluate software developers.”

Inspiration hit us when: “Being veterans of tech giants such as Amazon and Microsoft, we saw how subjective, inefficient and costly the tech hiring process is. We aim to make it remarkably better.”

Photo via Shutterstock.
Photo via Shutterstock.

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Our preferred way is to bootstrap, but given the speed of advancements and ever-changing arena of competition, we would love to get backing from a VC. Ideally, we want someone who is as passionate as we are about optimizing the way tech companies hire top talent to build engineering teams.”

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Our team and the depth of our experiences building new products. We all have spent years building technology-driven products to solve business problems. Another core ingredient is the sheer volume of tech interviews and hiring events we have conducted in the past.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Narrowing down our focus on what is working for our customers and making sure we provide the best possible experience.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Starting with too many swim lanes for business features. Fortunately, with advice from our friends, we quickly converged on our core feature set.”

Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Well, to be honest, I would have them all. However, if we were to pick one, we will go with Zuckerberg — the man believes in his team and realizes the importance of technology to solve any problem at hand.”

logo-temp-6a9155c3d5496685524a9971e647a830313b9063222889dc32fb1cfe1aad619cOur favorite team-building activity is: “Watching movies and exploring new restaurants in Seattle. We really enjoy new cuisines.”

The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: Skill is a pre-requisite, but what we are really looking for is team chemistry. All the people in our team need to work well together.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Be resilient, be patient, and drive down to what problem you really want to solve and focus on that. And don’t forget to have fun.”

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