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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

MPLG Client Profile – Vivek Ravisankar, Co-Founder and CEO of HackerRank

Can a resume help you find the best talent for your organization? Can it help you get the best job for your skill set?

Probably not, says Vivek Ravisankar, co-founder and CEO of HackerRank, who believes a resume is an outdated method of recruiting outstanding technical talent. “Resumes are just a very poor correlation to skills,” he says.

Conversely, a resume is also a terrible way to find work, says the 31-year-old entrepreneur, an alumnus of the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli, who came to the U.S. on an H-1B visa.

“You don’t need a study to prove that submitting job applications online feels like tossing darts into a black hole,” said Ravisankar, in a blog post on the HackerRank website, noting that 90 percent of online applicants for a job never hear back from the company. “It’s discouraging. It makes for a terrible experience.”

In 2008, Ravisankar and his co-founder and CTO Hari Karunanidhi – who were then working as software engineers in India – decided they wanted to build a company that would help programmers find employment in tech companies. They started out creating a platform for mock interviews – Interview Street – but spent a couple of years unsuccessfully trying to attract clients to the site.

The pair then developed HackerRank, a platform which allows hiring companies to create unique coding challenges to be solved by potential technical employees. Employers could immediately gauge the suitability of an employee for the available position.

“We started off as an enterprise platform which companies can use to create their own coding challenges. Then we started evolving, and every company had its own version of HackerRank, and we had a community of millions of developers. So what started out as a way to screen programmers turned into a way for us to match programmers to companies from all over the world,” Ravisankar said in an interview with the Huffington Post.

“Our mission at HackerRank is to match every developer to the right job, with the underlying driver being skill. What we do as a product, as a developer, you could come on to HackerRank to practice and improve your skills across different dimensions, whether that's algorithms or artificial intelligence or database skills, and when you're applying to a company,” said Ravisankar in a podcast on the Y Combinator website. HackerRank creates coding challenges specific to each company’s needs. “If you want to apply to Airbnb, you take Airbnb's coding challenge. If you want to apply to VMware, you take VMware's coding challenge,” he explained. 

In 2011, Ravisankar and Karunanidhi were accepted into the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator program. During the interview process before they were accepted, Karunanidhi was unable to get a U.S. visa to fly in for the interview. So Ravisankar went at it alone. 

HackerRank was the first India-based company to get into Y Combinator.

The duo founded HackerRank in the U.S. in 2012, and headquartered it in Mountain View, California. In 2014, the company announced a $9.2 million Series B funding round, led by Khosla Ventures and Battery Ventures. 

In February 2018, HackerRank announced it had raised $30 million in a Series C funding round, led by JMI Equity, a fund that specializes in helping software companies to scale, according to the Tech Crunch news site. Existing investors Khosla Ventures, Battery Ventures, Randstad and Chartline Capital Partners also participated in this round. The company’s total funding to date is over $58 million.

The company now has more than three million developers on its platform and employs over150 people.

"The need for developers is only going to increase as every company becomes a software company. To hire the talent they need to drive innovation, companies can't afford to continue to use antiquated resumes in the first step of their hiring process," Ravisankar said in a press statement announcing the Series C funding round. 

"HackerRank is playing an important role in reshaping the future of technical hiring — one where developers can showcase their skills and employers can evaluate them in an unbiased way." He noted Bureau of Labor Statistics which predict there will be a 24 percent increase in the number of software development jobs available by 2026.

“Vivek and Hari are exactly what the U.S. needs to grow its economy,” says Kalpana Peddibhotla, founder of MPLG. “They have created jobs for American workers and are helping American employees to find good, well-paying jobs which match their proficiencies.”

“In the absence of a start-up visa, MPLG applied strategies that leveraged Vivek’s extraordinary achievements in his field and enabled him to obtain a Green Card. It’s been a pleasure working with a visionary like Vivek Ravisankar.” 

By Kalpana V. Peddibhotla


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