This is one in a series of stories that highlights each company in the 2019 class of the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars. Visit LIFT Labs to learn more about this world-class program for connectivity, media and entertainment startups, and get information on applications for the next class.
Mark Catalano and Andrew Sprouse can build websites that perform incredibly well, look gorgeous and engage users. They're experts at working with the JAMstack, the new standard in web architecture that eschews traditional servers and promises better speed, higher performance, increased security and a better developer experience.
Still, they couldn't help but notice some obvious problems working with the JAMstack. Why is integrating APIs application programming interfaces (aka the way companies communicate with each other's software) still such a heavy lift? Why aren't there intuitive experiences that help content creators, product managers and developers work together seamlessly?
These questions led them to launch TakeShape, a startup offering a set of tools for developers who want to build on the JAMstack. With TakeShape, companies can get far more production out of their development teams — and let's face it, they're some of the most expensive hires at any company. With TakeShape, developers work more efficiently and finish projects faster.
Simply put, TakeShape makes development better, cheaper, faster and way more efficient.
"The JAMstack is basically the future of web development," Catalano said. "It's how everyone is going to be building websites for the foreseeable future. Developers just needed the right tools to make the technology work for them as they scale up the complexity of their projects. TakeShape enables front-end developers to do a lot more with the skills they have."
The company already has some impressive traction, working with companies like GE, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, John F. Kennedy Airport Terminal 4 and Parsley Health. They have six employees and more than 1,400 people using the platform — and appear seriously primed for growth.
For 13 weeks this summer, Catalano, Sprouse, and software developer Sean Rogers moved from Brooklyn to Philadelphia to take part in the Comcast NBCUniversal LIFT Labs Accelerator, powered by Techstars. It was their chance to work with people from Comcast NBCUniversal and meet with startup founders who've built great companies. Sprouse says the relationships he made have been really special.
"The people involved with Comcast NBCUniversal and Techstars have been very encouraging," Sprouse said. "It's exciting to be in the belly of a giant company and have people here engaged and interested in what we're building."
Rogers said he was's particularly impressed with the comradery he's built with other entrepreneurs in the accelerator.
"They're in the same stage of life, stage of company, and experiencing the same highs and lows as us," Rogers said. "Being around that can be comforting. When we're all just working from home or by ourselves jamming on this stuff, it's hard to form as strong of a community as we're experiencing now."