Meet Startup @TW

This Taiwan startup is helping thousands fix programming bugs

Codementor, a Taiwanese startup that spreads advice among computer programmers, has secured investment of more than US$1 million and landed a partnership with Microsoft.

That's because the growing firm of 50 people assuages the frustrations of countless people who run into programming bugs.

The founder, Liu Wei-ting, himself had once banged his head.

He had returned to his native Taiwan from Stanford University in 2008. He started a stock market blogger analysis service called SocialPicks before then and returned to start a social media agency called Mr. 6 with his brother.

During that course, the pair faced problems hiring experienced developers for the engineering team. So Liu came up with the idea of an on-demand platform for engineers.

If we could just call up an expert on coding issues, then problems could be solved in minutes, he told himself.

Codementor was born in 2013 from that frustration.

The firm with offices now in Taiwan and the Silicon Valley can help, for example, a junior developer who needs expertise in getting past a programming bug.

Codementor connects lost programmers with experts for advice, code review and answers to urgent questions.

Users can ask for tips on more than 30 technical topics including Python, PHP, Java Script, CSS/HTML, iOS and Android.

Users can connect with experts immediately if they're online or make appointments otherwise. Advice seekers pay $US10 for each 15 minutes and Codementor takes 20 percent.

More than 10,000 developers are registered with Codementor and about 2,500 experts have applied to be mentors. To ensure quality, Codementor screens all who apply to give advice.

Before starting Codementor, Liu had joined the American accelerator Techstars while running SocialPicks, which was sold in 2009.

Liu's participation in Techstars allowed him to work with Andy Sack, who runs the coding boot camp Code Fellows.

Codementor's million dollars in venture capital came from a group of angel investors who Liu describes as "experienced in building successful marketplaces themselves in the past."

The firm will use that funding to expand operations.

As another sign that the firm is going places, its programming advice service for business use formed a partnership with Microsoft effective from September.

The partnership will extend the mission of Codementor by helping Windows developers build apps. Those developers will have access to Codementor's on-demand, one-on-one support via Windows Dev Center through video chat and shared screens.