New Yale startup links innovators, developers

A new hookup site for Yalies is strictly business.

CoderHeap, a startup that connects business innovators with Web developers, was made available to students at Yale and Villanova last Wednesday. Over 80 Yalies have signed up to use the service, which is in its alpha — or initial testing — phase. Businesses seeking to improve their Web presence can post job openings on the site to attract developers and designers.

“I wanted to give people inside a network the ability to connect,” said Thaddeus Diamond ’12, who founded the site. “Whenever you give people the opportunity to find talent, you have a useful product.”

The site’s main screen contains three blue boxes, which list a user’s messages with potential employers or employees, available jobs, and pending applications. Below the boxes is a list of recent activity, such as new businesses or developers joining the network.

Diamond conceived of the idea about six months ago, after working on another site that helped event planners book speakers. His name for the project, CoderHeap, is a play on the term “heap,” which generally means “a big pile of something” but in computing jargon means “data structure,” Diamond said.

In December, Diamond recruited a fellow computer science major, Matthew Gaba ’12, and two designers, Jamar Bromley ’12 and Kirill Miniaev ’12, to build the site. The team has been working since then to make their product available to holders of yale.edu and villanova.edu email addresses.

Villanova was selected as the second campus for the site’s debut because Anthony Amorando, CoderHeap’s chief financial officer and Diamond’s childhood friend, is a student there.

“The participants only come from your college’s network so that you can trust the people on the site,” said Gaba, CoderHeap’s lead software developer.

Like the original version of Facebook, the site’s early iteration will only be accessible to students at select colleges. But Gaba said that if students at other colleges hear about the service and request that it be offered to them, they will expand accordingly. The company is relying solely on word of mouth to gain publicity, Diamond said.

As the site grows, Yalies who are interested in Internet entrepreneurship will have increased opportunities for development, Diamond said.

“Entrepreneurship is definitely on the rise at Yale,” said Tony Wu ’13, the director of campus strategy for the Yale Entrepreneurial Society. “A startup founded by a Yale grad recently had an initial public offering of $100 million.”

The heads of CoderHeap said they hope to improve Yale’s startup culture by facilitating conversations between “idea-men” and developers. Yale needs such a digital meeting ground, Wu said, because technological expertise is not as prevalent among students as it is at MIT or Stanford.

But for a liberal arts institution, Yale admits many students who exhibit talent for and interest in creating websites, Wu said.

“You don’t have to live in Palo Alto to create a good startup,” Wu said.

Yale students can register for an account at www.coderheap.com.

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