Codeship.io are Moritz “Mo” Plassnig, Manuel Weiß, Florian Motlik, Clemens Helm and Alex Tacho. The core team formed in Vienna but later relocated to Berlin, where the startup rebranded from Railsonfire to Codeship in January (see our previous report). Their service, which went live in 2011, offers continuous integration and deployment for web applications through a “dead simple setup”. Codeship recently announced their partnership with Coveralls.io, adding tracking of code coverage over time as their newest feature.
I talked to Moritz (CEO) and Manuel (co-founder), who are now in Boston together with the rest of the team, as part of the TechStars Boston spring 2013 class. Plassnig left school to work with STARTeurope full time in January 2011. He describes himself as a “tech guy who studied business”. Manuel graduated from Design school in Vienna to work for one of Austria’s biggest advertising agencies. After that he was self-employed until he co-founded Codeship to make the life of software developers easier.
How is Boston?
Mo: We like Boston for several reasons, we strongly believe that for our product we need to be in the U.S. All the potential partners and thought leaders are here. And it’s where the technical trends in software get defined. I think Boston is the best choice for our product, no place in the world harbours this much tech talent and it’s less hyped than San Francisco. You find almost no social network startups here, just real problem solving companies, ha!
Manuel: And we got the opportunity to do TechStars Boston. We didn’t want to split up the team, so we all moved. We learned a lot so far, they really go in-depth.
But you guys were in Berlin before. Are you looking for the right climate for Codeship?
Manuel: In the startup scene it doesn’t really matter where people come from. It’s an international crowd anyway, and one that balances out the differences in doing business.
Mo: Everyone is eager to help one-another. Sure, the U.S., in general, is quite different but it is not really hard to adapt. In Berlin we lived together, we worked together and we did nothing else besides living and working. I guess you can say that Berlin really was a boot-camp that prepared us for Boston. When there is nothing else you get really close as a team. You need to solve every tiny problem at the workplace on the spot. We learned to be painfully honest with each other. Unresolved issues block a good working environment and it was not like we could take our problems home, because guess who’s there? We still speak our minds when we are pissed, because we believe that however scary it seems, it helps in the long run. Plus: moving to a different city really makes you focus. There’s just no social life distracting you 😉
Mo, you guide me through Codeship, not some persona or anything. That’s pretty cool, but why did you decide on that?
Manuel: Haha, well… Codeship really evolves around a technical topic, right? And our competitors are very distant and clean. We realised that we are funny guys that love to talk bullshit. And we wondered why the tonality of our product should be different from us as a team. We wanted to align that and be more authentic. We wanted to achieve that if people meet us in person, they would be able to tell that we are ‘those guys from Codeship’.
So everything is in this nautical theme, which creates a great way to get personal. I think that this is a great advantage. People will think twice about switching to another product for it’s not the product they are leaving, but you. They are also more inclined to give feedback on your service.
We will actually a/b test this whole process and see who of our team gets the highest conversion. Maybe we should start a poll to bet on who is the best-looking guy from Codeship?!
Featurewise, what’s up next for Codeship?
Mo: Becausewe did Rails on Fire before, we have many rails guys as our customers, but we are constantly scaling by accommodating other programming languages. We talk a lot to our customers to figure out what they would want and for now we focus on improving the existing project. We’ll be in the U.S. until the summer, then we’ll probably bring product development back to Vienna and keep our HQ and marketing in the U.S.