It’s a very New York story! Less than a year ago, man-about-New-York-tech Nate Westheimer, a Non-cOding Product Executive, or NOPE, retreated into a “sweat lodge” with a Ruby on Rails book and an idea he’d been sitting on for more than two years.
“It was something I really, really needed,” Mr. Westheimer told Betabeat via Google Chat. He’d been using “a hacky combination of tools” to approximate a web-based calendar to coordinate open office hours. “When I started teaching myself to code I told Vin Vacanti a few ideas I had, and he said if I build Ohours he’d be the first user on it. Knowing at least one other person would use the product really inspired me to build it.”
Mr. Westheimer launched the site back in December and local techies started testing it out. As promised, Mr. Vacanti was a prolific user, although Forrst founder Kyle Bragger was technically the first to sign up. Shelby.tv founder Reece Pacheco gave it a try; Union Square Ventures’s Gary Chou wrote a rave review. TechStars’s Dave Tisch is a fan. And so on.
But in May Mr. Westheimer was ready to move on to other schemes. “I wonder if there someone out there who LOVES @Ohours, has what it takes to run a startup, and hacks Rails at least as well as I do…,” he tweeted.
As Mr. Westheimer tells it, a tweet was all it took. Another local entrepreneur, Nathan Hurst, founder of the stealthy New York speed-recruiting start-up Hirelite, saw the message thanks to a retweet from Mr. Chou. “Nathan and I had met a few months before when he came to my Ohours,” Mr. Westheimer said. “But Gary really got us talking again after that tweet.”
Mr. Hurst thought Ohours would be a great complement to Hirelite and negotiated an acquisition in exchange for an undisclosed percentage of Hirelite and “a tiny tiny bit of cash (mostly for technical/legal reasons).”
Mr. Hurst has already revamped Ohours’s design:
Our vision at Hirelite has always been to connect people for one-on-one, face-to-face conversations – no middlemen required. Until now, Hirelite has helped companies and software engineers connect directly for interviews via speed interviewing events, primarily over video chat (often facilitating hundreds of interviews per event).
Ohours gives us the chance to push beyond hiring and create a broader community of people connecting directly. We’ll help people share their expertise and interests without the awkwardness of wandering around “networking” events.
Mr. Westheimer says he’s “a big believer in Nathan and Hirelite so I just wanted to stay a part of it as an owner.”
So what are you working on now? we asked. “Some stuff,” the Coding Produce Executive said. “Nothing too exciting but working on some other ideas.”
At Mr. Westheimer’s pace, we’re sure we’ll know soon enough. In the meantime: Mr. Hurst! Call us!
Clarification: An earlier version of this post said Hirelite bought 99 percent of Ohours and Mr. Westheimer retained the last 1 percent; Hirelite actually bought 100 percent of Ohours. Betabeat regrets the error.