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Grooming the Next Generation of Startup Founders

Anyone with an Internet connection knows that, once again, Silicon Valley is simmering with innovation, opportunity, and talent. Success in this competitive environment doesn’t always come easy though, and it’s usually contingent on help from someone else; entrepreneurs need money from venture capitalists, and startups rely on the skills of top developers. With companies throwing money at engineers like there’s no tomorrow, and founders chomping at the bit to get the attention of VCs, the competition is getting fiercer every day.

Here at AppDirect, we’re addressing this conundrum by giving developers a revolutionary way to prepare for launching their own startups: The AppDirect Developer Incubator. Developers apply to our company and join the program, then spend two and a half years coding, learning, and growing, all in preparation for founding their own company. Here’s how it works:

  1. Apply, take an engineering test, and join as a full-time member of our team.
  2. Spend two and a half years learning, growing, and writing great code.
  3. Start working on your business plan and present it to an outside VC panel.
  4. Get continued salary, guidance, and incubator support while honing your business plan.
  5. Pitch your idea to our partners and VCs, and launch your company.

With the ADI, we get to add amazing developers to our team, and those developers get two years to sharpen their skills before coming up with a business plan and throwing their hats into the ring. In addition to intense technical immersion, developers will get exposure to other departments within the company, such as account management, sales, and marketing.  Developers will get to learn from seasoned talent from Google, Oracle, and Salesforce.com.

Our ADI program is meant to give developers the practical experience and mentorship needed to launch their own company. Steve Weis, co-founder of PrivateCore, worked with us at AppDirect before leaving to start his own cloud security company, and we asked him to share his thoughts on his experience here. "AppDirect fosters a culture of entrepreneurship that encourages engineers to learn broader aspects of the business,” he said. “Working there gave me valuable experience for when I co-founded PrivateCore." Just like Steve, aspiring founders who’ve spent time at AppDirect will be prepared to approach VCs with skills and knowledge far superior to those of their competitors.

At AppDirect, our engineering team works on some very challenging stuff: Identity and access management, distributed deployments, subscription billing, and payment management, just to name a few. We’re based out of brand new offices in downtown San Francisco, and offer all the standard perks, like full benefits, 401k, free food, and gym memberships. So for those whose ideas don’t get chosen for funding, or who decide entrepreneurial life isn’t for them, we think the potential to stay on as a member of the AppDirect team is a pretty sweet deal.

So what kind of developers are we looking for? Back-end candidates experienced with Java, SQL, and web app integrations, as well as front-end candidates who know JavaScript, CSS3, and HTML5. Degree or no degree, engineers at any level are encouraged to apply for the ADI now. We’ll be reviewing applications on a continuous basis, and new developers will join the team each quarter. For more information, visit the AppDirect Developer Incubator website.

Posted by Kristen Scully on Monday, December 3rd, 2012

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