Keeping it local: CaptU finds the sweet spot hiring Turing grads

by Jeff Casimir
December 22, 2016

While the classic stereotypes associated with jocks and computer geeks might lead onlookers to perceive the two worlds to exist in different galaxies, the industries and people associated with each aren’t that far apart these days. If the architects of our traditional, beloved sports – from football to tennis to cricket – observed the impact of technologies on their original athletic constructs, it’s uncertain whether they would even recognize the tournaments of today. E-commerce, big data, social media and wearables have all played a role in the impact on the games we watch and play.


One such platform shrewdly tackling the sports-tech market, CaptainU helps budding youth and college-aged athletes connect to other players, parents, coaches, camps and tournament organizers. A former soccer captain at Wesleyan University, Avi Stopper started after he submitted a proposal and won a contest at the University of Chicago’s business school. Since launching in 2008, the niche community connector, with offices in Denver, Colorado and headquarters in San Francisco, has accrued more than 1 million student athletes to promote themselves for hopeful college placement and team-building efforts, in an attempt to make the recruitment process more fun and easy than ever before. Meanwhile, nearly 5,000 university-level coaches have come to the platform to save time managing their draft picks. The site also provides templates for trackings statistics, displaying videos and profiling all the other information college coaches might seek while recruiting. After analyzing all the data added to an individual’s profile, CaptainU sets realistic goals and prescriptions for achievement.


For instance, if you want to play football at University of Michigan, CaptainU can tell you what grade-point average you need, whether you are in the right leagues, and which coaches to get in touch with. The organization’s overarching goal has, since its start, been to provide tools to improve and ease communication within a sports-centric community, helping individuals find each other, connect, communicate and stay organized.


Relentlessly learning, meticulously testing new ideas, objectively measuring data and success rates has given CaptainU’s team a competitive edge and with that, the company has rapid and ferocious expansion plans, on the lookout for software development talent among other specialties to grow. The company prides itself on its grit and an experimental culture, thus looking to fill job openings with individuals who can and will lend themselves to that professional spirit.


In a Built In Colorado article titled: “Do yourself a favor: Hire a Turing Grad,” published in early 2015, CaptainU’s Stopper debunked the myth that there aren’t enough developers, citing the Turing School of Software & Design, as the funnel through which sought-after talent comes through his company doors. With or without prior professional programming background, these graduates are getting hired.


Before their first Turing employee, Stopper heard his fair share of cautionary tales, warning him against coding bootcamp alumni. He asked himself: Would developers fresh out of training have what it took to keep up or be properly prepared for the fast-pace of production code?


A rigorous interview process whittled down the applicants to the very best.


Starting with Emily Davis, CaptainU assigned specific benchmarks for her to hit within the first year of her position. Davis longed for a collaborative environment in which should could communicate clearly and maintain a personal flair that allowed her to follow her own coding curiosities. Those personality quirks and traits fit right into the philosophy and environment at CaptainU. Davis passed all the tests thrown her way, and close to two years later, Stopper’s team has absorbed several Turing graduates.


That their teachers are programmers with experience in the field, is a clear differentiator between Turing and other, similar programs, Stopper says.


Though it may feel like a seller’s market for those who have mastered new technology tools, young but burgeoning companies might want to take note of the on-ramp constructed by CaptainU and the confidence it provides a growing team to have a singular resource to find l techies and watch them score touchdowns.


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