Tue, 31 March 2015
About: Amber Reyngoudt- Co-Founder of Skull Ninja, and former iOS Engineer at Milk
Overview: Amber is a Software Engineer with years of experience in the coding field. Over the past four years, she has taken on her own venture of building iPhone apps with her co-founder at Skull Ninja, and shares with us what it's been like traveling the entrepreneurial road.
Background: Amber attended school at University of Florida, and majored in Computer Science. Although she hadn't planned on becoming a software engineer, Amber's grandmother really encouraged her to go into Computer Science, and as a Junior in college was interning as a coder. When she graduated school, she worked as an application developer for Intel for about four years. She then moved to LA and eventually began working for a consulting firm. Once she left consulting, Amber attempted to start her own company but soon ran out of money and decided to go back to the mainstream work space. In 2005, MySpace was the hot new social media company so Amber decided to apply and started working as a developer there. She ended up becoming a manger and worked there until 2010. At that point, things started dying down with MySpace and Amber was no longer feeling challenged or fulfilled in her position so she slowly left MySpace to develop apps for iPhones on her own. From there, Skull Ninja was born.
Working at Milk: After leaving MySpace, Amber and her co-founder moved to San Francisco and began working on apps. Amber was fortunate to meet Kevin Rose 4 months after moving there and he asked Amber and her co-founder to come work at his new-found company, Milk. For the next year, Amber and her co-founder worked as the iOS Engineers for Milk, which helped build credibility for the two of them. Milk was eventually bought out by Google in 2011, so Amber and her co-founder were back to focusing on their company, Skull Ninja.
Skull Ninja: Amber and her co-founder are doing a mix of consulting and building apps. Recently, they did some webwork for AirB&B, intro for About.me, created another app for North Technologies, they also created an iPhone, and iPad app for a home hair-color company, etc. In 2012, they created their own platform for shopping in a variety of ways, and soft launched an iPhone app called Hit or Miss that focuses on women's fashion, and discovering fashion. Essentially, they publish a daily trend and the consumers select that trend as a hit or miss, and then they tailor what they want to see according to the feedback. So far the app has been well received.
Challenges: For Skull Ninja, bootstrapping was difficult along with balancing their schedules and time. It's been easy to take on too much, and not even work on their own projects to help the company. For the past few years, it's only been Amber and Dave and they were not able to really scale the company until they bring on employees.
Woman in Tech: One thing Amber points out is that she's had to spend some time proving herself, but is becoming less of a problem since she has built credibility. She does feel that because she is a female founder, it can work to her advantage and make her stand out from the crowd. Amber shares that she's happy there are more women in tech, and in different areas, they bring a lot to the tech world. Overall, Amber has had a good experience and feels very fortunate.
Advice for Entrepreneurs: It may seem scary and unattainable, but if you're driven, passionate, and willing to work really hard- almost to the point of crazy- you can be successful and have what you want.
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