The online education space seems to be bustling with startups teaching you to programme, given the likes of Codecademy, LearnStreet and Code School. And then there’s CheckiO – an online game world, in which you code in Python to get to the next level. It launched “as it is” in November 2012, and tends to complement rather than compete with the above-mentioned three.
Like Austrian Codeship, CheckiO – with their core team from Ukraine – participated in the TechStars Boston programme. May 23 was Demo Day, so inventures.eu caught up with CEO and co-founder Liza Avramenko on Skype (as she’s still in Boston and it looks like she’s there to stay!) to see how the 3+ months in the US have threaded them. Avramenko may be in charge of CheckiO, but funnily enough, she nevermanaged to learn a programming language: “Every day I put a sticker on my laptop that says ‘learn how to code’ and my co-workers would say ‘hell no, we need you right where you are’!”
Avramenko joined the team when Alex Lyabah (Sasha) saw his pet project getting out of hand, with players tuning in all over the world. “Sasha is an extremely talented developer and he was bored and lonely at the bank he worked at,” Avramenko said. “He decided to come up with a little game to challenge himself and his friends to write the most elegant code.” Challenges are still at the core of CheckiO, as is writing elegant code.
Currently, they are a team of nine. “The bigger part of the team will be stationed in Ukraine,” said Avramenko. “I’m staying in Boston, together with our community manager and business development. We also have a content creator who is based in Russia.” To her, it’s self-evident how they will manage the communication flow in such a spread-out team: “When Paul English, the CEO of KAYAK asked who of the attendees have Skype start automatically when they start their laptops, all European teams raised their hands. I think that as long as everyone has their own specific responsibilities, remote teams can do with video calls.”
The TechStars influence