Meet This Startup’s New Nigerian Head of Development

Meet Tyler Kessler, CEO and Co-Founder of Lumogram. Lumogram is a tech company providing small-scope, high-impact design services  —  starting with animated logos that help boost business’ brand impression on digital marketing channels. This is a repost of Tyler’s article in Medium about how he is building Lumogram’s distributed engineering team out of St. Louis, Missouri — starting with Tobi, a full-stack developer from Andela. 

 

Running a tech startup company in St. Louis is no easy task when it comes to sourcing great development talent. From my experience, the best talent is either busy with their own ideas or enjoying a big fat bi-weekly direct deposit from a corporation. I don’t blame them, it’s a programmer’s market here in the Lou, and the practicality of family life requires income.

 

This was why I decided to — on top of my management role as CEO — take on development by teaching myself Ruby on Rails and building the MVP version of our Lumogram platform last year. Our team knew that my role as both CEO and CTO was not sustainable — but this small sacrifice got us to where we could justify making our largest expenditure to date, and partnering with Andela to source our immediate development needs.

 

As a young, small team, each new team member we added dramatically changed our identity and culture, which we knew could kill a young startup like us. But, after 9 months of grinding, it was time to be bold and grow our team starting with development. Partnering with Mark Zuckerberg-funded Andela allowed us to extend our team with a world-class developer backed by an extensive support network.

 

Through several rounds of interviews with the Andela team in New York via Skype, we were matched with Tobi Oduah, an Andela engineer based out of their Lagos campus in Nigeria. Not only did Tobi speak perfect English, but his self-driven personality made him an asset to Lumogram’s culture from day one. I mean, look at this introductory email he sent us, and ever since August 22nd he’s been blowing us away by bringing best practices and new accountability on the development side.

 

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This new distributed workforce is fast becoming a driver in the future of work, and partnering with like-minded companies such as Andela and PluggedIN that actively take part in shaping that future, has been great for Lumogram. Tobi is only one of the 200 engineers that Andela discovers and invests in. They truly are the top 1%.

 

Interested in learning more about how you can build a better engineering team? Get in touch!



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