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Over an iced latte at Revolutions Coffee near Seattle’s Green Lake, Carter Rabasa explains his plans for Fizbuz. (Lucinda Roraback / GeekWire)

Job-seeking software engineers, Carter Rabasa has your back.

Rabasa, whose own resume includes developer and program manager roles at Twilio, Microsoft and others, is the founder of Fizbuz, a new platform for developers to build detailed professional profiles and connect with employers.

“I want to create a product that allows people to express themselves holistically,” serving as a sort of personal marketing tool, Rabasa said.

That means going beyond a standard list of employers, job titles and degrees earned. Fizbuz CVs include specific information about the coding languages, libraries (a sort of reusable piece of code) and framework in a developers’ skill set. Users can share preferences for what sort of company, role, team and physical workplace they’re looking for. They can describe other activities they’re passionate about and organizations and events that they lead or participate in.

The format can give newer entrants to the software field and those with non-traditional backgrounds — like someone who learned engineering at a bootcamp instead of a university — a better chance of representing what they’re capable of.

“It’s an empowering tool for people who get kind of marginalized,” Rabasa said.

An example of the personalized profiles possible on Fizbuz. (Fizbuz Image)

He also hopes that the level of detail possible in the Fizbuz resumes will help steer companies away from giving applicants time-consuming tests as part of their screening process.

Fizbuz will use algorithms driven by machine learning to search applicants and match them with employers. Recruiters and hiring managers will be able to contact candidates through the platform. Then it’s up to the developer to decide whether to respond to inquiries. Fizbuz will be free to developers to create profiles, and employers will pay when candidates respond (as opposed to only paying when someone is hired).

“It makes sense for companies to pay for really high-grade lead generation,” Rabasa said.

Rabasa left San Francisco-based Twilio after the cloud communication company successfully went public in 2017. He began building Fizbuz in January 2018 and is currently the only employee — though he’s using his platform to watch for potential co-founders and other hires. Since releasing a minimum viable product a few weeks ago, 90 developers are using the site.

Rabasa is organizing Seattle’s CascadiaJS 2019 in November, an annual conference for software engineers that he started in 2012. He hopes to have the event’s corporate sponsors on the Fizbuz platform and matched with suitable job candidates before the meeting. During the conference, Rabasa wants to host a sort of speed-dating event to connect employers and potential employees. The face-to-face exchanges could lead to job placements — and provide essential data on how well the platform is making matches.

There are numerous job searching and headhunting sites already on the market. That includes LinkedIn and Hired for all sorts of jobs, and Stack Overflow and GitHub Jobs specifically targeting developers. There are also Seattle startups such as Karat and Adaptilab. But none have such a laser focus on jobs for developers, Rabasa said.

“I want [developers] to build an internet and web asset that they don’t forget about when they get their next job,” he said. Users would ideally keep their page updated, documenting their career growth and development. “This lets you explicitly build a brand.”

We caught up with Rabasa for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.

Carter Rabasa, founder of Fizbuz. (Fizbuz Photo)

What does your company do? Give us your 2-to-3 sentence elevator pitch. Fizbuz is like LinkedIn meets Bumble for developers. They create professional profiles that capture their technical skills, their past experiences and what they most care about when evaluating jobs, teams and companies. When they decide they’re ready for a new opportunity, we leverage this rich data set to help them find jobs that uniquely match.

Inspiration hit us when: As a hiring manager at Twilio, I saw firsthand how broken hiring was. Companies would place job postings on dozen of aggregator sites, hoping to break through the noise. Recruiters would scour LinkedIn, looking for people to InMail. It was a volume game, with the hope that all of this activity would yield some candidates. And because of the spam, developers were hiding: ignoring InMail, deleting keywords from their profile, sometimes deleting their LinkedIn altogether. I felt that there must be a way to enable developers and companies to connect in a way that put developers in control of the process.

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: I am bootstrapping Fizbuz right now, but we’re open to the idea of bringing on investors.

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: Always put the developer first, no matter what.

The Fizbuz platform allows users to create nuanced CVs. (Fizbuz Image)

The smartest move we’ve made so far: Applying to Y Combinator. I didn’t get accepted, but the application process sharpened my thinking around Fizbuz and put me in touch with folks who have been a huge help.

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: Taking too long to get a working v1 out of the door.

Which leading entrepreneur or executive would you most want working in your corner? Reid Hoffman. Reid founded LinkedIn and clearly understands the benefits of connecting people professionally. He also has decades of experience working at (PayPal) and investing in tech companies (Flickr, AirBnb, Convoy) who have scaled fast and created a lasting impact on the world.

The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: Deep empathy for developers and the challenges they face, not just in regards to hiring, but in terms of navigating their career, leveling-up their skills and doing their job.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: Don’t wait. Time is something no amount of money can buy.

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