Out of our 26 employees, about 22 have an engineering background and 18 of those are our software developers. We are currently transitioning to autonomous teams to give engineering teams control over which projects to accept. Usually, engineers support project managers when it comes to feature planning, or when it comes to what we can sell to the client. This mostly depends on the team, the project, and the client we are working with. (Some clients are more open than others to our suggestions. ;)
Besides that, both founders have a strong technical background. Stephan and Mathias are long-time friends who had a small company selling hardware and software to friends back in the mid-90's. They later went on to study software engineering at a university of applied sciences. During that time Stephan became very interested in the context of web development while Mathias was more focused on software generation techniques. They wanted to create a software generator for e-commerce applications, and bitExpert was born. These days bitExpert builds custom applications for our clients and helps bootstrapping products as well.
With passion and expertise, we transform our clients' ideas into business value by using state-of-art technology. We use PHP, Java, Angular, and ExtJS developing web applications. Docker is currently playing a very big role in development as well in our production environments. Regarding databases we like to use PostgreSQL with all it's latest features (e.g. JSON support), but also use MongoDB and Redis.
Our company was started by engineers, for engineers: to make it easy to add email, contacts, and calendars to any app. We have spent the last five years developing an API that is clean, performant, secure, and makes the lives of other developers easier. Since a user’s inbox has more data than your typical startup, we’ve had to solve some pretty challenging big data, high speed, and availability requirements. We’re still a relatively small company (~ 40 people) who thrive on applying what we’ve learned within engineering to growing our company.
They are both technical and customer facing, which allows us to dive deeper into customer issues and resolve them with very little back and forth. To recruit a DSE who has both a customer service background and a deep drive to learn software engineering, we recruit actively through groups like HackBright and HackReactor. This lets us find candidates with non-traditional software engineering backgrounds to increase the diversity of our teams. Our goal is to have our DSEs grow into Software Engineers and we’ve instrumented a formal mentorship program to support this over the long term.
1 Open Positions
Branch was founded by four engineers who set out to solve a difficult engineering problem - how to make linking into a native mobile app as easy as linking into web content. Over the last two years we have seen exponential growth and our platform now receives over 6 billion api requests every single day! While we are no longer 100% engineering and have hired an amazing sales team to continue this growth, we have an extremely high technical bar for everyone at the company.
Along with an engineering mindset, also ingrained in our culture is our data driven decision making. Most decisions across the company - whether product, sales, engineering is driven around data... We regularly do build-an-app hackathons, where everyone at the company builds an iOS or Android app and integrates our SDK. Check out our testbed app Branch Monster Factory came out of one of these hackathons. Our product is built with app developers in mind and as a result, engineers are making vital product decisions and designing the future of mobile app discovery.
We only have one product manager and don’t plan to hire more in the near future, which means our engineers have a significant influence over the design and decision making process. There's really no limit to how much influence you can have in your role, especially if you show value and strongly advocate your ideas. We use metrics and models to drive decisions and are transparent about how decisions are made, not only among our team but across all departments in the company.
Rather than assembling mechanical devices, we’re assembling biological components, and with all the complications that it brings! This means our engineering efforts span software, hardware, and biological systems, all of which have to work together in harmony if we’re to succeed in our goals.
We engineer for a purpose, we automate to free up our science team to work more on the truly cutting-edge parts of our process. We also engineer to standardise, remove bias from the process, and make things more repeatable, testable, and reliable. Our engineering efforts also help to drive the acquisition of data, which as mentioned assists in trying to quantify our processes, as well as to reassess any assumptions we may've made.
Given how we're pushing the boundaries of both the technical and scientific fronts of the business, having a sound engineering approach is key, to avoid losing focus, and to remove error and risk from what we do.
We hire engineers who are genuinely excited about working on a product that other engineers will use. We want to reduce the total QA time for all engineering teams and cut down on manual QA hours. As our own users, we operate on CI/CD and deploy to production multiple times a day with confidence. Our work directly impacts our own productivity, accuracy, and enables us to scale without friction.
We recently raised our Series B and decided to use our funding to double down on the engineering org. We are focused on hiring to our engineering team in 2018, so if you’re at all interested in joining Rainforest, please reach out!
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