That’s right, a one year old YCombinator company is hiring web developers and we use Microsoft technology. Perhaps hell has frozen over. Maybe pigs have evolved and now use those cute little tails as props for vertical takeoff and landing. Have us founders gone mad?
Some days I feel like we should be part of a support group.
“Hello, we’re RealCrowd, and we use C#,” we say nervously.
“Hello RealCrowd!” the group responds in kind.
Any time we meet up with peers or talk with investors we end up having the tech stack “discussion”. Everyone assumes our product is built on Ruby on Rails or Scala or Node.js or [insert-other-hip-tech-here]. What was meant as idle chit-chat turns into a debate. Our technical prowess is questioned. We have to defend our choices. Why is this even a discussion?
While common and respected in game development, financial services and corporate America, C# and the Microsoft tech stack is shunned by the Silicon Valley startup ecosystem. It is the forbidden fruit. One must not indulge, for fear of being corrupted by the snake that is only out for your blood. We don’t buy into this rhetoric.
Our code is fully asynchronous around I/O events using async/await. We use Azure’s PaaS services for very little operational overhead. But we also abstract away those services so we can change our persistence/communication/hosting providers in the future. We practice continuous integration. We have tests, and even run them occasionally. We have automated build and deploy systems. We monitor performance and stability like a hawk. We use the open source branch/merge/pull-request development style with code reviews around everything. We do all the things one would expect in a modern, fast-moving development shop.
But let’s back up for a minute. Who is this mysterious company building products on such uncool/forbidden technology in a cool/modern way?
We are RealCrowd. We operate in the super uncool, stodgy, investment-banker-saturated world of commercial real estate investing. It is Serious Business with huge sums of money at risk. Our paying customers have done Billions of dollars of business. They own the office building you work in, the apartment complex you live in, and the retail buildings where you spend your hard earned cash — that is, unless you are like me and never leave the comfort of your Aeron chair. I understand. It’s hard to fight the allure of Amazon Prime. Then again, they even own some of the warehouses Amazon uses. But I digress…
About a year ago the only way an individual could directly own such real estate assets was to be in the right place at the right time and know someone at a company buying a building. But not anymore! Because of the JOBS Act, partial ownership of these assets is now available on the public internet via RealCrowd. We are a marketplace that connects investors to companies offering real estate investments (operators). We handle the details of the investment process and digitally ferry thousands of pages of paperwork back and forth for every deal.
We save trees. We make people’s lives easier. We make everyone more money. And we have fun doing it.
Boy have we been surprised by how much investors and operators love this. To date investors on our site have invested over $17 Million in real estate valued at over $500 Million. See. It’s Serious!
It is the Serious nature of the business that led us down the road to Microsoft technology. We wanted to blend stable technology with current rapid development practices. We looked at Java, the other obvious choice of the Serious, but ultimately decided on Microsoft tech with C#.
Our server stack is C#, ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET WebApi, running on Azure utilizing their NoSQL store, distributed queues, distributed cache, and other modern tools. We’ll move to ASP.NET vNext once it’s ready for Serious Business. We’re an API-first development shop, and take pride in building secure, high quality, and performant software.
Our front end is built on a core of AngularJS and Bootstrap. It is responsive and designed to present a fully featured and useable mobile web experience.
Come work with us, email firstname.lastname@example.org and join our support group for outcast technologists.