Meet Jacob, a startup CEO who went through the bootcamp and hired his batchmates
In this article series, we're introducing our hiring partners in Tokyo: startups, web agencies or large tech companies that regularly hire Le Wagon Tokyo graduates. Discover their services, the working environments they propose, and most importantly, what they like about our amazing graduates!
This time, we are sitting down with Jacob, Lunaris’ CEO, who went through our part-time web development bootcamp himself and hired two of his batchmates as web developers.
Hi, Jacob! Thanks for your time. Could you please tell us about your entrepreneurial journey?
It all started for me as a 15-year-old in Germany. I was obsessed with collecting video games but there really weren't any sources that would export high-quality Japanese games. I quickly found that I could make some money on the side by helping collectors get their stuff: I'd just fly to Japan, fill up my suitcase with stuff, then sell it back home. I'd make roughly 4-10K euros per trip. In a few years, my side hustle grew so much that I decided to relocate to Japan and bootstrap my own company there.
Ten years later, I’m running an ecommerce business, Solaris, as well as Lunaris, a web development company focused on creating apps for the Shopify ecosystem, with almost 20 people employed.
Amazing! Why did you decide to go through Le Wagon web development bootcamp?
After our first hire for the Solaris web development team, I quickly realized that I had gaps in my knowledge about the technical process. Driven by the necessity to understand the efforts and timeline required for implementing features, I started to learn web development. The last missing link was to actually learn how to build web applications by myself. We had already hired a couple of Le Wagon graduates in the past, and it just made sense to go through the bootcamp myself.
How did you juggle between running two companies and learning to code?
It was definitely challenging. Making time for the coding bootcamp while still being active in the day-to-day company operations was a lot but I managed to make it work. I do wish I had had more time and energy to commit to my studies, especially since it really helps me understand how software works so I can communicate on a similar level with our developers.
Learning how to code is essential for anyone, because it teaches you how every app you interact with works. On top of that, it encourages you to tackle problems in a very different manner, making it a very good skill to have. It's like learning how to see an additional color – you don't notice until you learn that color, but then you can see the whole world in a very different light.
How can you describe Lunaris’ working and hiring culture?
It’s a meritocracy. We have a very laid back environment but also demand certain goals to be achieved. People who want to shoot for the moon will thrive with us but those only wanting a paycheck and easy day-to-day routine will find it difficult.
It took a while to find our groove with the hiring process. Personality that fits with our team is the number one thing that we’re looking for during the interview. Applicants should have the right attitude, mindset and potential to learn new things.
We don’t care about degrees - I personally don’t have any. We’ve had all kinds of background and education combinations and noticed that none of these bullet points in the CV mattered for how well we work together.
How come you hired two of your coding batchmates?
When I joined the bootcamp, I didn't have the intention of hiring anyone but that's exactly what happened. All my batchmates were awesome! I instantly took a liking to how serious and capable Tieu was and David’s enthusiasm was off the charts. As the bootcamp was nearing the end, I offered them full-time positions at Lunaris.
What do you like about Le Wagon alumni?
Our first hire from Le Wagon was three years ago and we are so happy to have him on our team. In three years, Cole has learned as much as some other developers would learn in five to ten years.
Programming is a demanding field and willingness to take a leap, even something as small as adjusting your weekly schedule to meet the demands of the bootcamp, already proves a person’s capability. A company that is striving for more would definitely want to have that kind of mindset.
Thanks, happy to hear that. What's your plans for the Lunaris’ future?
Never stop growing and shoot for the moon. As the company owner, I don't want to have anyone who's just tagging along. I will help my employees to go to the next stage and take on more responsibility. Let’s see how far we can take this!