CTO WANTED for hazardous journey to reimagine school

Wanted: Technical Visionary to lead the engineering of an ambitious platform to transform school from a 19th Century obedience factory into a 21st Century hub for self-directed, innovative problem solvers.

Founded in July 2014 in Los Angeles, CrowdSchool is reimagining school as a creative place where students discover a love of learning through making and sharing projects.

Our web platform empowers teachers to create engaging project based lessons in minutes that they can use in their connected K-12 classrooms. In CrowdSchool’s Marketplace, teachers can earn income and prestige from sharing these lessons with classroom teachers around the world.

In March, CrowdSchool won the Silicon Valley Education Foundation’s iHub Pitch Games and began piloting with SVEF teachers in Silicon Valley schools (EdSurge). We recently released the private beta of the CrowdSchool platform and are looking for a technical co-founder to help take CrowdSchool’s technology to the next level.

CrowdSchool Co-Founder & CEO Peter Glenn answers judges’ questions before winning the iHub Pitch Games. Photo Credit: Christina Quattrocchi, EdSurge

Job Description

The CTO’s responsibilities will include, but not be limited to, the following:

  1. As Technical Visionary, set the direction of the company towards greatness by laying the foundation for how our technology should be built (our current web app is built on Ruby on Rails and Angular; we’re also open to discussing alternatives).
  2. Enjoy wearing many hats: write code, and also make higher level decisions on tech architecture, team structure, and engineering process.
  3. Get your hands dirty working with teachers and students in the field to discover insights for new product solutions.
  4. Be a proactive leader, effectively communicating and collaborating with customers, team members, vendors, external stakeholders, and our board.
  5. Be relentlessly resourceful in solving key technology challenges in the face of limited time, budget, and other factors.
  6. Attract and hire a team of extraordinarily resourceful engineers, mentor them, and make sure they’re working on the right things.
  7. Understand that Design is about so much more than making things look pretty.


  1. Make school not suck. Consider how many millions of young minds are wasted on rote memorization, worksheets, and standardized tests. You can play a crucial role in unlocking human potential by ushering in a creative, relevant model of school where students can become the creative, innovative problem solvers we need to address current and future global challenges.
  2. Co-founder’s equity. If we succeed, you will have reimagined school and become independently wealthy in the process.
  3. You’ll get to live and work in sunny Los Angeles, fastest growing and 3rd largest startup scene in the country (behind SF & NYC). Silicon Beach has all the great California charm of San Francisco, but with half the cost of living and twice the great weather.
  4. People who make technology for teachers are perceived as extremely sexy. Consider the fringe benefits.
Our co-founder Tim can teach you how to surf.


Co-Founder & Chief Learning Officer Tim Monreal working with our most important “customers.” Time in the classroom, we hope, will be a crucial part of your work as CTO.

Most of the following are “must have’s”:

  1. Have at least 3–5 years experience in a senior engineering or development role (CTO, VP Engineering, Chief Architect, non-traditional equivalent).
  2. Must have proven expertise with a technology stack you can build a web platform on. Our current stack is built with Ruby on Rails and Angular.
  3. Must have relentlessly proactive leadership and communication skills. Experience running user interviews, mentoring engineers, and articulating your vision to board members and potential investors are all huge plusses.
  4. Must be a relentlessly curious and resourceful self manager. You identify the mission critical priorities to get done, organize the team around a plan, and use all ethical means necessary to deliver a solution despite perceived obstacles like time, money, knowhow, etc.
  5. Have experience building technology as a solo artist as well as a proven track record of managing teams of engineers to build great things. We want to see a personal display of passion and innovation. We don’t mind if it is off the beaten path. We love that kind of stuff.
  6. Ideally, have previous startup experience and a great eye for design too.
  7. Must be willing to live and work in Los Angeles.


Working to launch an early stage startup is not always easy. Initially, there will be long hours and low wages. There will likely be thankless work too.

We value weekends away from work with our family and friends, and we also push ourselves to hit mission critical milestones during the week.

Here’s a couple warnings for joining our founding team:

  • Prepare for compensation to be solely equity for at least the first 3–6 months. We’ve been bootstrapping for 9 months and are preparing to raise a Seed Round. We’d like to budget cash compensation with you upfront, but salary for our entire team is conditional on hitting fundraising milestones.
  • We come across as pretty easy going, flexible people when you meet us, but we are uncompromising in our vision for reimagining school as a creative place where students make projects that solve grand challenges. If you want to gamify classroom behavior or build a better adaptive learning app, you’re applying to the wrong company.

Still Interested?

Students present final projects to CrowdSchool’s Community Improvement Challenge.

Great, please click here to tell us about yourself.

We’ll get back to you in less than 2 weeks if we think you could be a fit.

Engagement would start of a one month “founder dating” period of work together to make sure our business marriage is “the real thing.

Questions? Email founders@crowdschool.co.
(Do not send your application there. No recruiter emails please.)

*Finally, a special thanks to Tim Ferriss for reviving the Shackelton-inspired job description.

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