Tag: TrueAbility

TrueAbility Teams Up with DigitalOcean for a Technical Challenge

imgres-2TrueAbility, based in San Antonio, has teamed up with DigitalOcean, to launch the “Docker Puzzle Challenge” to test a competitor’s technical aptitude using basic Linux skills and Docker, an open-source technology to deploy apps.

The challenge uses TrueAbility’s online technical skill assessment platform, which tests job candidate’s technical abilities by performing real-life tasks.

The contest launched on Nov. 1 and runs through Nov. 30th and features a public leaderboard. Prizes include a drone quadricopter, T-shirts and DigitalOcean hosting credits. And the top 10 performers automatically qualify to interview with DigitalOcean.

“We wanted to attract candidates by engaging with them in an innovative way,” Ben Uretsky, DigitalOcean’s CEO, said in a news release. “A TrueAbility online technical challenge is fun and allows them to demonstrate their ability in a natural environment without the typical stress associated with a technical interview.”

Codeup Wins the 2014 San Antonio InnoTech Beta Summit

Founder of Silicon Hills News

Michael Girdley with Codeup, Bill Mock, senior vice president of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Brandon Ashton with SocialRest and Marcus Robertson with TrueAbility.

Michael Girdley with Codeup, Bill Mock, senior vice president of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, Brandon Ashton with SocialRest and Marcus Robertson with TrueAbility.

Codeup, a 12-week boot camp to teach technical skills to people, won the 2014 InnoTech Beta Summit on Wednesday afternoon.

Michael Girdley launched Codeup last year and the first class of 28 men and women is about to graduate.

Michael Girdley, founder of Codeup

Michael Girdley, founder of Codeup

The startup, based at Geekdom, charges $9,850 per student, which ensures that the students are committed and motivated to completing the coursework, Girdley said. The company also guarantees its graduates will find a job or it will refund 50 percent of their tuition.

The runners up were TrueAbility and SocialRest.

The other companies pitching included InnerAlly, Picture It Settled, Remote Garage and Biovideo. Each company gave a five-minute pitch followed by a few minutes of questions from the judges.

The judges were Pat Matthews, co-founder of Webmail.us, Rackspace executive and investor, Sharon O’Malley Burg, a technology consultant and Erach Songodwala, an angel investor.

Marcus Robertson, co-founder and chief technology officer of TrueAbility, presented the startup, which lets technical job candidates demonstrate their skills to potential employers through its AbilityScreen. TrueAbility also has a jobs board and charges companies to post a job and screen candidates through its platform.

SocialRest has created software that measures how effective a company’s content is by measuring how it is shared on social media and how many sales result.

The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce sponsored the InnoTech Beta Summit and gave the winner a plaque and a one-year membership in its organization. The winners and runners up also received trophies.

Full disclosure: Silicon Hills News also helped to organize and host the InnoTech Beta Summit and InnoTech is a sponsor of Silicon Hills News.

Seven San Antonio Startups to Pitch at the InnoTech Beta Summit

Founder of Silicon Hills News

Seven startups will pitch at the eighth annual InnoTech Beta Summit on Wednesday.
The event, which takes place at 3 p.m. at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, will showcase some of the best and brightest new technology startups in San Antonio.
Each team will have five minutes to pitch their venture before a panel of judges. The winner will get a plaque from the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and a one-year membership in the organization.
The winner will also receive a trophy from Silicon Hills News and second and third place winners will also receive a prize.
Soloshot, a startup that makes a tripod system that automatically keeps a camera trained on a subject, won the InnoTech Beta Summit last year. And in 2012, CallGrader, a company that makes software to track sales calls, won.
Silicon Hills News readers can attend InnoTech, the day long technology conference at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center for free by using the discount code BETA99 to register.
The judges for this year’s event include Pat Matthews, co-founder of Webmail.us, investor, Sharon O’Malley Burg, a technology consultant and Erach Songodwala, an angel investor.
The startups pitching include:

2013-10-10_codeup_mark_horizontal_150Codeup – is an intensive, 12-week live bootcamp that turns non-techies into computer programmers. “We all know education is broken,” according to the company. “Our solution is unique, aggressive and it works in providing our students a real future. We have 47 partner employers ready to look at our graduates.”

Picture-it-settled-4C_150Picture It Settled – which bills itself as “Moneyball for negotiation.” “The behavioral software has learned negotiating patterns from parties to thousands of litigated cases in a wide variety of jurisdictions and claim types,” according to the company. “It uses that intelligence to make accurate predictions of where a negotiating round is headed in time for parties to act on it using the program’s planning tools.”

Remote-Garage-Logo_150Remote Garage – a storage service backed by the Rackspace founders’ Geekdom Fund. The company picks up customers’ belongings, stores them, and delivers them back on demand. The inventory is available to view online.

imgres-3TrueAbility – a community for technical professionals to learn, grow and (im)prove their skills. Its assessment platform, AbillityScreen, is a job simulator allowing tech pros to practice in a live environment. “Its job board helps companies validate the skills of job seekers, simplify the hiring process with stacked rankings, and enables tech pros to prove their skills by taking a technical interview in a real environment–from anywhere,” according to the company. TrueAbility graduated from the Techstars Cloud accelerator and has landed venture funding.

InnerAllyTurtlePhelps_150InnerAlly – is a platform that lets people perform simple actions to stabilize their mental health. “Every year billions of dollars are forfeited to lost productivity of employees suffering from depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues,” according to the company. “By empowering workers to maintain their mental health we can dramatically reduce those losses.”

SocialRest-Logo_150SocialRest– A software tool that helps businesses measure their return on investment for social media. The software tracks how “content is being shared across Facebook and Twitter; but even more valuable is the fact that SocialRest is also able to identify revenue generated because of this shared content,” according to the company.

Logo-bv-usa_150Biovideo– “provides new parents a priceless gift – a breathtaking movie, set to music, of their baby’s first day of life,” according to the company. “It films and creates more than 3,000 such personalized movies each month – delivered before the new family leaves the hospital.”

Innotech is an advertiser with Silicon Hills News

TrueAbility’s IT Job Prediction Trends for 2014

imgres-1TrueAbility Monday released its predictions for hiring trends for technology workers in 2014.
The San Antonio-based startup, founded in 2012, has analyzed data on more than 5,000 IT workers in the past year. It makes a cloud-based platform that evaluates the technical aptitude of IT employees by testing their skills online for job openings.

Team photo of TrueAbility, courtesy of the company.

Team photo of TrueAbility, courtesy of the company.

TrueAbility, based at Geekdom, foresees an increase in demand for workers with configuration management skills and cloud computing skills.
In addition, companies will focus more on hiring the right people, than buying the right hardware, according to TrueAbility.
Workers who can demonstrate their skills and knowledge will trump those who might have years of experience.
For more predictions, visit TrueAbility’s blog.

Introducing AbilityScreen by TrueAbility from TrueAbility on Vimeo.

TrueAbility is an advertiser with SiliconHillsNews.com

Codeup Seeks to Create New Developers in San Antonio

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Codeup logo“Learn to Program. Get a Job Offer. Guaranteed.”
This is the not-so-humble sales pitch of Codeup – a for-profit code education startup founded by San Antonio entrepreneur and angel investor Michael Girdley. The startup offers a nine week programming boot camp located at Geekdom of San Antonio which will teach the programming skills currently sought for in the workforce. The startup’s first boot camp, starting Feb. 3, will focus on web development and will cover Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, and JavaScript. The camp price tag is $7,430, and if the student does not receive a job offer within six months of completing the course they get half their tuition back. Enrollment has already begun.
Girdley justifies his guarantee with his business approach. Before launch, he collaborated with both small startups and larger companies in need of developers to find out exactly what skill-set they want to hire.
“We went and talked to them and got feedback on what they are looking for. We added a whole set of methodologies in terms of how to work as a team of programmers to the course after meeting with certain employers,” Girdley said. “Ultimately we have two customers. One is the student and the other is the employers. We have really worked hard to have them meet in the middle for everyone to be happy.”
Codeup’s classroom experience is designed to be as intensive and hands-on as possible. Students will learn concepts quickly in 15 minute intervals and then immediately implement them with exercises lasting 20 minutes. Each class will hold 20 students. Girdley will be teaching the classes along with Jason Straughn, Samantha Atkins, and Chris Turner. During exercises, all four instructors will be present to answer any questions. Classes will be eight hours a day and five days week.
To ensure that graduating students get hired, Codeup has formed agreements with 18 startups and recruiting companies who have agreed to consider hiring the graduates upon completion of the course. A few of the employers Girdley has talked to – whom he can’t name at this time – have such difficulty finding developers that they are willing to hire immediately after graduation.
Despite its growing tech talent, finding full time developers in San Antonio is a difficult task — both for large companies like Labatt Food Service and smaller startups such as Geekdom’s TrueAbility. Founder and COO Frederick “Suizo” Mendler welcomes an easier way to find developer talent.
“For us, it is a constant challenge to find folks that can operate at a fairly high level when it comes to the dev stuff. If they produce a good candidate then, yea, we’ll take a look at them,” Mendler said. “All the other developers we hire, we have to go out and hunt them down, go find them in weird places.”
Codeup will start out with only one class of 20, and that class is already starting to fill up. Codeup has received seven applicants since they went public a week ago and have already confirmed two spots. Texas State University Communications Graduate Leslie Tolbert was the first to sign up. She developed a love of programming in her last semester of college but was having trouble learning it all on her own.
“I really feel it’s an investment to myself to make this bigger commitment. It’s really hard to teach yourself how to program through all the other resources out there,” Tolbert said. “It was really appealing to me to have the option that Codeup presents to work with a team of peers…in a collaborative space with expert instructors available to answer questions.”
Tolbert was also able to take advantage of one of the three women’s scholarships Codeup offers, which will pay for half of the tuition. Two are still available.
As a for-profit company, Codeup will raise revenue by charging tuition and by charging a placement fee to the employer when they hire a graduate. The employer’s fee will be equal to 10 percent of the graduates annual salary. Codeup currently has no competitors in San Antonio, but would be competing with MakerSquare in Austin. While the model is similar to Rackspace Hosting’s Open Cloud Academy, the two will not directly compete because they are teaching different skills. In another similarity to the Open Cloud Academy, Girdley says applicants do not need any prior coding experience to be admitted.
“If you are a smart person and you are willing to work hard, you don’t need to know anything. Show up, we will take care of you.” Girdley said.

Geekdom was a sponsor of Silicon Hills News. TrueAbility is an advertiser with Silicon Hills News.

San Antonio-based TrueAbility Pitches at TechStar Cloud Demo Day

TrueAbility_logoTrueAbility’s CEO Luke Owen pitched the San Antonio-based company today at TechStars Cloud Demo Day.
The company also announced that it has successfully completed its beta program with Rackspace Hosting.
TrueAbility has created a cloud-based technical assessment platform that allows companies to assess the technical abilities of their job candidates.
Rackspace has been using TrueAbility’s platform to hire new employees and it reports that by using the testing platform it has improved its recruiting process which resulted in higher quality job candidates.
Rackspace used TrueAbility’s platform to hire 28 Linux professionals. Rackspace also used TrueAbility’s contest at SXSW Interactive to find and test more than 350 Linux professionals in five days.

Silicon Hills News Founder Laura Lorek sat down with Luke Owen and Dusty Jones, two of the four co-founders of TrueAbility, recently for an interview.

A Slice of Silicon Hills Features TrueAbility

18269e08-699c-43b1-8314-4bfd02042e3e_488This week, Andrew Moore talks with Frederick “Suizo” Mendler, co-founder of TrueAbility.
The San Antonio-based startup, founded by four former Rackspace employees, known as Rackers, has created an online testing and assessment system for technical job candidates. The TrueAbility test gives recruiters and employers an accurate view of a job candidate’s technical skills.
TrueAbility, which recently raised $750,000, is also part of the TechStars Cloud program taking place at Geekdom in downtown San Antonio. And it’s one of the finalists in the South by Southwest Accelerator program.

TrueAbility Selected as a SXSW Interactive Accelerator Finalist

imgres-9San Antonio-based TrueAbility made the finalist list for the SXSW Accelerator in March.
TrueAbility, one of the TechStar Cloud companies based at Geekdom, is the only startup from Central Texas to make the list. A few Austin companies made the alternates list including Clay.io and Spot On Sciences.
TrueAbility will compete in the Innovative Web Technologies category on Monday, March 11 and Tuesday, March 12 at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Austin.
“TrueAbility helps companies hire only the best technical talent by assessing a job candidate’s technical skills in a live server environment–from anywhere in the world,” according to its description on the accelerator page. “TrueAbility shortens the recruiting process and delivers objective, easy-to-use pre-hire data that helps businesses hire great techs.”
trueability-2TrueAbility’s team is made up of Luke Owen, Frederick “Suizo” Mendler, Marcus Robertson and Dusty Jones. The company recently closed on $750,000 of seed-stage funding.
SXSW reported that more than 500 companies applied for the fifth annual SXSW Accelerator.

TrueAbility Lands $750,000 in Seed Stage Funding

imgres-1TrueAbility, a technology recruiting startup in San Antonio, has landed $750,000 in seed stage funding.
Rackspace Co-Founder Pat Condon and Graham Weston, Co-Founder and Chairman of Rackspace led the funding round.
TrueAbility, based at Geekdom, launched last year with its flagship product AbilityScreen, a cloud-based assessment service used by companies to evaluate the technical skills of job candidates. On Oct. 13th, the startup launched its invitation-only private beta testing of its product. In the first quarter of this year, TrueAbility plans to launch an open beta testing of its products in which a variety of companies can start screening companies. The product allows “hiring managers and recruiters to measure a job candidate’s abilities on a variety of technologies, platforms, vendor certifications and industry standards that their company uses today or plans to use,” according to a news release.
Currently, companies evaluate a job candidate’s abilities through interviews and other tests. But TrueAbility’s product puts the job candidate in a situation similar to what they would encounter in the workplace to demonstrate their expertise. And since the product resides in the cloud, recruiters can test job candidates anywhere in the world.
TrueAbility’s AbilityScreen can test a “candidate’s ability to think critically and leverage resouces, and how well he or she will adapte to learning new things on the fly,” according to the release.
“The demand for qualified technical expertise in the enterprise has changed, but the way we screen and hire these candidates has not,” Graham Weston said in a news release. “TrueAbility can evolve this space much to the benefit of companies everywhere.”
Qualified technical talent worldwide is in demand and employers spend billions of dollars to find them and hire them every year.
This funding will allow TrueAbility to hire additional employees, said Luke Owen, the company’s CEO.
“The big things we are focusing on is hiring additional developers and engineers,” Owen said. That will allow the company to expand the technologies it can test for using its AbilityScreen product.
TrueAbility will also focus on developing a solid sales model to sell into the enterprise and small business marketplaces, Owen said.
TrueAbility™TrueAbility’s team is made up of Owen, Frederick “Suizo” Mendler, Marcus Robertson and Dusty Jones. Last summer, TrueAbility won the San Antonio Startup Weekend competition. The company was recently selected to participate in TechStars Cloud, which kicked off today in San Antonio. The team will spend the next three months working on its product, building its team and will showcase its progress at TechStars Cloud Demo Day in April.

TrueAbility Wins San Antonio Startup Weekend

Team photo of TrueAbility, which took home the top prize at San Antonio Startup Weekend. Photo courtesy of San Antonio Startup Weekend.

A team of four former Rackspace employees claimed the top prize at San Antonio Startup Weekend.
True Ability, a service that lets companies test the technical aptitude of job candidates, won the panel of judges over.
“TrueAbility helps companies hire great techs,” Frederick Mendler, CEO, said during his pitch.
One of the things lacking in the startup community is domain expertise, said Nick Longo, director of Geekdom.
“The biggest missing element is someone who knows the business they’re getting into,” he said.
TrueAbility knows the marketplace, Longo said. The need exists for startup companies to tackle bigger problems and TrueAbility is doing that, he said.
The company has 30 years of experience hiring technical talent and has hired more than 1,000 people at Rackspace, Mendler said. The TrueAbility platform will allow companies to know in advance how competent its job candidates are in different technical skills like Unix, Php and Java Script among other skills.
The team is made up of Mendler, Marcus Robertson, Luke Owen and Dusty Jones.
Following the big win, the team retired to their office at Geekdom to drink champagne and celebrate.
“We’re going to take tomorrow off and let the Red Bull wear off and get out of our systems,” Mendler said. “Then we’ll come back and focus on building the site out. We think there’s an opportunity to have $1 million in revenue in the next eight months.”
The judges thought TrueAbility had a solid business model and a well-formed and experienced team.

Frederick Mendler pitching TrueAbility at San Antonio Startup Weekend photo courtesy of San Antonio Startup Weekend

The judges also liked BikeIdentity, which garnered second place. BikeIdentity reported that 1.5 million bikes are stolen every year and 48 percent are recovered but less than 5 percent go back to their owners. BikeIdentity wants to solve that problem with NFC tags on bike frames that the police could scan to find the owners. The tags would retail for around $10. BikeIdentity estimates it will reach $12 million in revenue in 3 years. The team was seeking a $150,000 investment to bring its product to market.
SoundFly, a seven second broadcasting service on Twitter, took the third place prize.
“What would you say to the world in 7 seconds?” asked Ramesh Danala, during his presentation. SoundFly gives people the ability to accurately convey tone, emotion and personality with friends and family.
“People can Tweet and text, but the power of talking is amazing,” Danala said.
Dan Pernik first pitched the idea for SoundFly on Friday night. The idea didn’t get enough votes to become one of the selected projects. But when a team broke up over night, SoundFly got a new life. Inaddition to Pernik and Danala, Sundip Lal and Elliot Adams from New Orleans, joined the team.
“SoundFly was one of the ideas that has big potential,” said Pat Matthews, a senior vice president at Rackspace and one of the judges. “It definitely is an exciting idea.”
At the end of the day, most of the ideas that come out of San Antonio Startup Weekend won’t work, Longo said.
“That’s not why they’re here,” he said. “They leave here constantly learning. They now have a network.”
People can have ideas all day long, but they’ve got to execute on them, he said.
“This program forces them to execute,” he said. But people can’t fall in love with their ideas, he said.
“Never get married to your ideas” Longo said. As San Antonio Startup Weekend proved, they change and teams must adapt or die.

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