Codex raises $4.4M in seed funding to make programming multiplayer
“Figma changed the game with collaborative design and Codex will bring the same level of collaboration to coding. This will change the game for software teams everywhere.”
- Aydin, CEO at Fellow
Vancouver, BC, Canada November 29th, 2021 - Codex, a developer tool that allows engineers to share context on the 'why' of code directly in their integrated development environment (IDE), today announced it has secured $4.4 million in funding and is now in private beta. The Seed round, led by NFX, backed by Y Combinator (S21) and joined by Ludlow Ventures, Emergence Capital, and operator angels will help the company grow its team and onboard even more beta users from its waitlist of over 200 companies.
Codex let's users simply highlight a code block in their IDE and request context by asking a question. Codex then identifies the code owners, sources their answers, and shows this rich context to all engineers instantly.
Codex founders, Karl Clement (COO), Saumil Patel (CTO), and Brandon Waselnuk (CEO), started the company as a side-project in a quest to add a context layer on top of a git repo to help onboard new engineers into a codebase. When they showed their prototype to friends in engineering leadership positions, all of them asked for an early build of the product. A month after its June, 2021 Y Combinator funding, Codex began a private beta with 25 companies ranging from teams of 3 to hundreds.
Today, Codex's Beta release is a VsCode extension that enables context sharing and collaboration as a local-first solution. Essentially, Codex never stores source code and all processing happens locally on the user’s machine.
Codex also allows engineers to introduce context without asking questions so they can annotate areas of a code base or prepare for new colleagues jumping into their repositories for the first time.
By taking a design-first approach Codex does a lot of the hard work for engineers behind the scenes like line-tracking annotations as they write code.
"We're out to save engineers time and a lot of headaches by automatically storing and sharing institutional knowledge. I heard from so many engineers horror stories of answering the same question over and over again in Slack DMs or multiple pair programming sessions for the same topic filling their calendars. Also, with 41% of people considering leaving their current employer this year and specifically a 4.5% increase in tech resignations, a lot of companies have senior staff leaving with all this critical context that's never been written down or shared. This leads to teams having to, in the worst case, reverse engineer functionality to grok how it works. It's crazy how much time is spent on this work today." Co-Founder and CEO Brandon Waselnuk.
Soon Codex will offer integrations to other modern IDEs so everyone at a company can share context as well as a desktop application that will let engineers author and share onboarding paths through the codebase. Waselnuk continued... "We really focus on the jobs-to-be-done of engineers, for example, pair programming is an incredible tool for onboarding, but what if Codex could provide self-serve code walkthroughs to save that pair time for more important conversations? Another example is that finding a code owner can take hours, but when Codex does it, engineers can get back to higher value tasks and more creative work faster."
Codex was started in 2021 by Brandon Waselnuk, Karl Clement, and Saumil Patel. The co-founders started working together in 2015 at CoVenture, a NYC based VC Fund that had a thesis of building software for its portfolio companies. While there, they saw the massive problem of onboarding new engineers into a codebase, sharing context, and 'the why of code'. Engineers needed a tool that could essentially answer, 'why' the developer architected software in a certain way, what decisions were made to use certain design patterns, and even why did they choose to use a for loop instead of a dictionary?
The three left the venture firm to start a full-service product agency, Dignified, where they built 15 products in 1 year and saw this persistent problem reappear. That's when they decided to build a prototype that would allow teams to add context directly to code blocks. They tested it with one of the agency's customers while onboarding the customer’s engineering team to the new product Dignified had built for them. The results were fantastic - the team grokked the system at an incredible rate and the customer asked to buy the software for its internal use. That’s how Codex was started. The remote company is a Y Combinator Summer 2021 alumni.
For more information, visit Codex at www.usecodex.com.