‘We are planning to attract a new round of funding’

| Specials U-Today

The Platform for Entrepreneurs, Sprout, announced CodeSandbox to be the start-up of the year 2019. Ives van Hoorne and Bas Buursma, both alumni from the UT, offer an online programming environment that is used by over a million programmers from all over the world each month.

On the question of how CodeSandbox is doing now, Ives van Hoore answers with a profound ‘good’. ‘We were already working remotely before the corona virus kept everyone at home. The advantage of this set up is that we can work together with anyone in the world, but we do have to reserve a lot of time to communicate and document what everyone is doing. Time differences are also an issue, and sometimes we have to work into the evenings. For the rest, not much has changed for us. We do notice that it is busier, and we are already planning to attract another round of funding.’

Last year, the company already managed to attract a substantial investment. Silicon Valley-investor Kleiner Perkins, the Dutch investor Arches Capital, and several other entrepreneurs, including UT-alumnus Marco Jansen from Catawiki, invested a total of 2.4 million dollars. They are now using the investment to grow their company quickly.

Converting Code

In 2016, the idea for CodeSandbox was born. Right before Van Hoorne started as a first-year UT-student in informatics, he came across a ‘code problem’ during his holiday. ‘I was working at auction website Catawiki. Colleagues were busy converting code from old technology to the more novel React. They had a question about a specific part of code. I wanted to help them, but I did not have my laptop with me. I thought: How cool would it be to also have a website that allowed you to convert code whilst you are on the move?’  

After returning home, Van Hoorne started designing such a website. Buursma, a bachelor student in industrial design, was quick to join in. Together, they built a kind of Google Drive for programmers, in which web developers can collaborate live on codes and are able to quickly build, exchange, and test prototypes.

CodeSandbox became increasingly popular amongst programmers all over the world. After a year, they had 500 thousand monthly users. Now they have ten employees and can count on 1.4 million programmers who use their platform each month. The formula for success? ‘Both the design and customer interaction are excellent’, Buursma explains. ‘And at the core, our platform is about sharing projects. So, every time a programmer shares something with someone else, a form of mouth-to-mouth advertisement emerges.’

Where they will be in five years? ‘Then we hope that all programmers in the world are using our platform, or are at least familiar with it’, Buursma states. ‘According to the numbers provided by Github, the world has around 30 million programmers. Still more than enough space for us to grow.’

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This article was published in the second editon of the 4TU Career Special, a shared publication by the news ediors of Cursor (Eindhoven University of Technology), Delta (Delft University of Technology), Resource (Wageningen University and Research), and U-Today (University of Twente). The magazine came into being in collaboration with industry, and is explicitly aimed towards students who are either in the final phase of their studies, or have just graduated.