22:16 | 16.09.21 | News | exclusive 10749

CodeSignal attracted $50 million: the history of creation and motivation source

On September 16 it has become known that CodeSignal has attracted $50 million investment making the value of the company $500 million.

CodeSignal offers a more fair mechanism for technical hiring,  making the candidate’s resume secondary and giving him/her an opportunity to demonstrate the skills.

CodeSignal founders are young people – Tigran Sloyan and Aram Shatakhtsyan. Itel.am spoke with the CodeSignal CEO Tigran Sloyan.

Tigran Sloyan is also the founder of #GoBeyondResumes movement. As an active member of the Forbes Technology Council, he contributes to Forbes as a thought leader in the technical hiring industry, commenting on trends in software development and innovation.

Prior to his role at CodeSignal, Tigran Sloyan worked in technology management at Google where he led projects such as Google Hangouts in the Education sector as well as Google Login for the Travel and Publishing industry.

He received BS degrees in both Mathematics and Computer Science with a minor in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The best programmer I knew was only able to find work as a freelancer

CodeSignal is the first company to develop a fair, automated skills-based assessment platform used as a standard for technical hiring. CodeSignal story has very deep roots in Armenia and in Yerevan specifically.

Tigran Sloyan Tigran Sloyan
photo © CodeSignal

The original two co-founders, Aram Shatakhtsyan and myself, both grew up in the dark years of the early 90s in Armenia where you only got an hour or so of electricity every day and stood outside in a line to get your allotted loaf of bread.

From there both of our dads (like many Armenian parents) valued education. My father got me into math and math olympiads from a fairly young age and Aram’s father got him into programming and programming Olympiads.

I won 2 silver and 2 bronze medals at the IMO (International Mathematics Olympiad) representing Armenia becoming the most decorated math kid in the country’s history and Aram won the first-ever silver medal for Armenia in the IOI (International Olympiad in Informatics).

Our paths began to diverge significantly is around 2006.

During IMO 2006 one of the Bulgarian team members told me that he was going to study in the US next year at a famous college called MIT and he suggested that I should apply as well. I had to quickly learn English, take some exams.

In early 2007 I found out that I got a full scholarship (close to 55k USD/year) to move to Boston and get my bachelor’s degree at MIT. Aram never applied for such option, and went to Yerevan State University.
After graduation, every major company was chasing me and my classmates, from Google to Facebook to Oracle, they’d all come to the doorsteps of the school fighting for a chance to talk to the CS students at MIT. Shortly after graduation, I found myself working at Google.

Aram Shatakhtsyan Aram Shatakhtsyan
photo © CodeSignal

When I reconnected with Aram I learned that he was still in Armenia and the best opportunity he could land was freelancing on Upwork.

This was shocking for me because even after MIT and Google, Aram was the best programmer that I had ever seen and the fact that he never got even half of the attention that me and my classmates got was eye-opening. This realization eventually led to the creation of CodeSignal in 2015 with the mission of helping the world #GoBeyondResumes and creating a more fair and equal playing field for those who have the skills.

Obviously, the company has done very well since then and Aram was recognized as Forbes “30 under 30” for being the CTO of CodeSignal.
The development tempo should not slow down

In fact, we’ve raised 25M in series B funding only 10 months ago, and so going from that to another 50M round and more than quadrupling our valuation in this period is a testament to our amazing team and the market opportunity.

What’s changed in the last 10-12 months is that our growth rate not only kept up with what we had seen in the early years of the company but it started accelerating.

Usually, when companies grow and their incomes raise, the development tempo slows down.

For us it is important that the development tempo accelerates instead of slowing down.

First five employees either make it or break it

I feel like there are some things that are very different and other things that are very similar in the management of newly-formed, beginner, already successful, reputable companies. Things that are different is what your day-to-day tasks look like. In the early days of the company, most of my time was spent on writing code and building the product. Aram would build the back-end, I’d build most of the front-end.

After some initial success I had to build a team for the first time. From the very early days of the company, I knew that who I start this business with and who are first 5 hires are going to be a make-it-or-break-it decision for the company.

CodeSignal team CodeSignal team
photo © CodeSignal

Now, when we have already reached quite large scale, I am trying to avoid everyday work instead be a good organizer and leader for the team. After all these years, still my number one priority is building a team of phenomenal people and then figuring out together where to take the company next.

About motivation and becoming IT nation

In terms of advice to IT folks in Armenia and what should and can drive motivation, I’d like to highlight for them what some might call the obvious.

The success and achievement of IT professionals in Armenia is important not only because it helps drive the economy forward but also because it helps create a culture in which people see and recognize the value of being in IT, the value of learning math and software development.

I do believe becoming an IT nation is the only viable future of the country but just talking about it is not going to change things. In the US they say “you can not be what you can not see or you have to see it to believe it.”

For example, the fact that Aram and I grew up in the same dark period of the country, and the fact that by going into math and going into computer programming we have done extremely well both professionally as well as financially and have been able to create a powerful employer in the country that’s hiring very actively across all roles in Yerevan, will act as a far more impactful driver of behavior for the future generations.

I believe the success and achievements of the IT sector in Armenia today is going to shape the worldview of Armenian society and we should all carry that responsibility proudly.

Yana Shakhramanyan