A literature grad and college dropout join hands to startup CodeBinders, a web development startup
The Pycon event last month was full of exciting talk and workshops, from Kenneth Reitz’s key note to Panel discussion on "Python in education" there was lots of interesting takeaways for participants. Among all the networking that I did, Kaustav Das Modak was one of many interesting people I had met at Pycon. During our interaction, I inquired about his whereabouts and his answer “I am a drop-out” took me by surprise. Dropping out in India, is not a trend and we seldom hear such statements from students for that matter. His dropping out not withstanding, we started discussing his startup CodeBinders. And a week from Pycon, we carried forward the conversation over coffee with his partner Nayanika Chattopadhyay.
CodeBinders is a web-development agency based out of Kolkata that builds feature-rich web applications and focuses on spreading awareness of an open web.The startup promotes and deploys open source technologies, instead of creating their using or using proprietary platforms. Nayanika leads design at CodeBinders, while Kaustav is the back-end coder.
Managing college and courses
Both Nayanika and Kaustav met before their stint at Jadavpur University where the former was studying comparative literature while Kaustav was enrolled for a course on Philosophy. She however admits, the course has nothing to with she is currently doing at CodeBinders, and only serves the purpose of being listed in her resume. She admits to having been fascinated by computers since childhood and even dreaming of being a game developer. Similarly for Kaustav, philosophy didn’t interest him beyond college and he decided to use more of his time in building and creating web applications.
He dropped out of the Jadavpur University, took up distance learning course -- a B.Sc degree in IT. But when he entered his second year of the degree course, the cost of doing the course was turning out to be unjustifiable. Thus ended the road of formal education for the founders and subsequently they decided to use their interest in computing to startup with CodeBinders.
Founding of CodeBinders
Both Nayanika and Kaustav had been freelancing since 2008 -- which started with content writing and then they took up website design along the way. Kaustav shares: “Content writing was gradually becoming a dull experience for us, it didnt have the challenges we were looking for.” So they started with small projects of building online web pages of friends and relatives and along the way, they bid for creating web portals for different wings of Jadavpur University which got accepted. Kaustav chips in: “Jadavpur demands that every company bidding for their projects should be registered and that is when CodeBinders were officially born in December 2011”.
The project not only got them started on the professional level but also paved the way for their future. Kaustav says that till date they have never promoted their services and all new clients they have received has primarily been through word of mouth. “Our present clients recommend us and that works as a perfect marketing medium,” he says.
However, as they look to increase the volume of projects and promotion of the venture, the founders are looking to target different social media channels to create a buzz about their services. CodeBinders has its roots in open source technologies and actively contribute to the same. Kaustav is an aspiring Mozilla developer.
Life and challenges of being an entrepreneur
The decision to earn their own bread and not work for anyone else was not an easy decision for Kaustav and Nayanika. Although CodeBinders has worked for over 20 clients and make enough money to sustain themselves, their abilities are still being questioned. Nayanika shares: “as a startup we face challenges both on a personal as well as professional level. Sometimes our clients look for a well established office space or enquire about the number of employees working under us, which we think is completely irrelevant.”
While they are relishing the struggle and pain of running a startup at this point, they also know they need to be better planned for the future. Another issue they are addressing at present is the variation in the work load they handle. “We have not been able to stabilize the workflow, which I think is an important aspect for our growth,” says Nayanika.