Charlotte's Startup Story: From agile coach to tech founder

Charlotte is an agile coach and self-taught software engineer turned tech entrepreneur. She completed the Startup Accelerator in March 2018 and is now using her passion for learning to build a virtual peer-to-peer learning platform.

What were you doing professionally before joining Escape?

I’ve had many careers, and the last one I was working as an agile coach. We helped software engineering teams build better products.

Why did you decide to join the Startup Accelerator?

I was looking for momentum to start a business but I couldn’t quit my job just yet, so I needed something part-time, which Escape provides. The people I spoke to at Escape are the main reason why I joined. The programme had amazing energy and it made you believe that things are possible. The support network makes the biggest difference. Even though I can code, exposure to tools that allow you to prototype rapidly without code is invaluable! Experienced entrepreneurs always tell you to delay coding for as long as possible.

How did life change after the Escape programme and what business have you launched?

This is a very personal programme and everyone’s journey is different. Before it finished, I thought I wanted to start a business right away, so I quit my job. But the first month was so intense and I realised that I needed a break. I had been working non-stop for all these years so I decided to take a sabbatical to explore my personal interests. I then found Zinc, a mission-led tech focused accelerator, and began pursuing entrepreneurship full-time.

Quirkey is a virtual peer-to-peer learning platform. We are currently focused on building communities around coding and communication skills. We believe when we learn together, we learn better. Quirkey facilitates collaborative problem-solving with peers in realtime. Our mission is to serve as a bridge for social mobility for the underprivileged and help foster life-long learning culture within societies. I’m also director of codebar, a non-profit that teaches underrepresented groups programming skills.

What does your day-to-day life look like now?

Every day is different and it’s just about hustling hard and building relationships with potential partners and investors. It’s a lot of relationship building at this stage.

What challenges have you faced on your Escape journey?

Managing the emotional journey of entrepreneurship. All the ups and downs. It’s hard! That’s why having a support network is so invaluable, including those from my Escape programme. We support each other and keep each other motivated. Working on something you believe in and having customers who like your product is such a vote of confidence too.

What are your plans for the future?

Continue to hustle away for as long as it makes sense!

If you’re interested in learning or developing your coding skills, on a virtual platform with a global community of peers and support, sign up to Quirkey here:

Charlotte completed Escape’s Startup Accelerator in March 2018. To join her in taking control of your career and building your own business, learn more here.

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