Neelan Choksi on Tasktop’s VC Round and Austin “Growing Like a Weed”

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you could use a file browser and folders to manage all of your code. When you started hitting 1,000 classes of complex code, search came along and it made it manageable. We hit another echelon and even search wasn’t good enough. Instead of showing people all 10,000 classes of code, we just show the code that is relevant to the activity you want to do. That was the task interface that turned into Mylyn.

Switching processes completely [to look for code] is actually pretty hard for the human mind. Developers, when they context switch, it takes 25 minutes to recover, to be able to be productive again. This is mind memory vs. muscle memory. [With Tasktop] you can come back and be looking at the exact line in a Word document…where I was when I had to take a phone call. We solved the problem for one particular silo [for programmers].

Other people started approaching us: We really like what you’re doing for developers, bringing all this information for them in one place. I’m a tester; I’m an agile planner, business analyst. So Tasktop-Sync came from the idea that we needed to build something that allowed information to flow from one tool to another tool.

We don’t necessarily see a pivot ahead of this. We stumbled into a really, really big problem. What has happened is that we can prove technologically that we can solve this problem. We support 25 products that we do integrations with. To do this properly, we need to support 40 to 50 different tools. That would give us 80 percent coverage.

X: What are the plans for the funding? Will there be a major ramp up of employees?

NC: The primary growth will be in sales and marketing and business development, managing customers and partners, and getting the word out. We’re going to add some developers to grow out our integrations and breadth of services. We got to 70 people as a bootstrapped company. We envision being closer to 90 by the end of this year, and into the 120s by the end of the next year. Austin will be the fastest-growing office, percentage-wise.

X: You bootstrapped the company for seven years. Is that typical for a company like Tasktop?

NC: It’s not typical to be in bootstrap mode that long. Austin has an incredible bootstrap culture so, from my perspective, it doesn’t seem crazy as an Austinite. It didn’t make sense [to accept venture capital] for the first six years of our existence when we were figuring out what we were going to be when we grew up. You don’t raise … Next Page »

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