Competitive programming site, CodeFights just raised $10 million in Series A funding to further build out its educational platform, which now also gives users recruitment opportunities through success is programming challenges. The Series A brings the San Francisco startup’s total equity funding to $12.5 million, and brings the total number of software engineers getting to strut their stuff to, well, a lot.
CodeFights was built in an attempt to leverage individuals’ competitive side as a means to enhance their learning abilities. Instead of video lectures and assignments, users are given competitive programming challenges as both a test of their existing skills and a way to build on what they already know. The premise may sound similar to what sites like HackerRank and CodeChef offer, but there are a few key differences.
Most programming challenges give participants a problem to solve using code and a deadline which may be a few weeks or days away. CodeFights takes a more real-time, immersive, competitive approach. Challenges are conducted in pairs, and involve fixing bugs in code rather than writing code right from scratch. Each challenge lasts only a few minutes, and users compete in real-time. As a result of the unique dynamics, competing on CodeFights feels more like playing Quiz Up than it does taking part in a coding challenge.
Late last year, the platform came out with the concept of Company Bots. It started off when Uber engineers partnered with CodeFights to build an Uber bot. The feature gave users a chance to solve real-world problems that the Uber team faced, while competing with a bot that was at a skill level comparable to that of Uber engineers. Since then, companies like DropBox, Go Daddy, Quora, and InstaCart have all created company bots on CodeFights. Attracting the attention of big companies has helped CodeFights sweeten the pot for those on its platform.
Now, individuals who upstage company bots have the option of getting in touch with the companies partnered with CodeFights. The feature gives anybody–no matter what their educational credentials–a chance to connect with recruitment teams simply by performing well at coding challenges. That gives them one foot in the door at the companies, without having to fear being eliminated early in the interview process by a bot scanning resumes for keywords.
A number of online education platforms, like CodeFights, are slowly beginning to pivot from courses to skill-based recruiting. Last week, Udacity announced the launch of Udacity Blitz, which connects companies with the engineers that graduate from their Nanodegree programs. If companies like the work delivered by Udacity’s engineers on a specific project, they can hire them to full-time roles.
With over 24 million students acquiring new skills on the big-three MOOC platforms and many more learning through challenges on services like CodeFights, companies will soon have larger talent pools from which to choose and novel, merit-based ways in which to make their hires.
The most recent funding round was lead by e.ventures, whose portfolio includes startups like Sonos, App Annie, and Nginx. Correlation Ventures, Social Starts, SV Angel, and A.Capital Ventures also participated in the funding round.
Prateek Jose is a writer and engineering undergrad from India with an unhealthy obsession for obscure historical trivia. Conversations about absurdist fiction and the technological singularity make his day. He’s already uploading parts of his brain to servers by writing for websites such as this one.