WeWork Labs success story: How HackHands’s joined Pluralsight

Geraldo Ramos, Assis Silva, and Forest Good knew it was coming. An executive from Pluralsight confirmed what they had suspected for months: that company wanted to acquire their startup Hackhands.

It “was pretty clear they wanted to buy us from our first conversation,” Good remembers.

When they mulled over the offer, Ramos and Good agreed that it was a good fit. Pluralsight is the world’s largest creative and tech training library, and HackHands describes itself as the “Uber for coding support.”

“We got a multiple offers,” Ramos adds. “Another well-known training company approached us to discuss an acquisition but we decided to go with Pluralsight because it was definitely the best fit.”

Good says the decision wasn’t difficult.

“I’ve worked in a lot of corporate cultures,” Good says. “And they get it right.”

So earlier this month, the three men decided to take the offer from Pluralsight, selling their company for an undisclosed amount. They will continue to run their company.

It’s not just a win for HackHands, but also for WeWork Labs. The company started off in the program, a “community within a community” designed to provide additional support for members.

Matt Shampine, WeWork’s vice president of business development, says that it was clear from the get-go that HackHands had a lot going for it.

“HackHands really embodies not just the spirit of work you see so often in WeWork Labs, but also the way Labs turns into a community,” says Shampine. “From their parties to their product, every aspect of their time at Labs strengthened the companies around them.”

For Ramos and Good, their career paths couldn’t have been more different. Ramos started out in João Pessoa, in northeastern Brazil. Ramos has been founding companies since he was 17, it was clear early on that the entrepreneur’s life was the only one for him. His companies focused on bringing American-style startups to his home country, describing an early effort as “ZocDoc for Brazil.”

Good started off in the world of finance, which he describes as being “cold as any corporate structure as I’ve ever seen.”

He also had the poor luck of joining that world in 2008, right as the financial crisis struck, making competition at work intense. The main upside of the job was an introduction to the world of startups and investing. Companies would often approach Good’s firm looking for investment and the whole time Good was thinking, “that’s what I want to do.”

At the time Good was interested in the world of fashion, hoping to build a “ZocDoc for hair salons.” Someone he was chatting with on a plane suggested that he should meet another entrepreneur, who turned out to be Geraldo Ramos.

Good and Ramos hit it off instantly, and stayed in touch over the next year. Eventually they figured out the right project to work on together. There are a multitude of programming resources available online, but searching through the databases can take as long as writing the code in the first place. Good says they realized that “there was enough need for programming help that this could be its own market.”

Silva, the third member of the team behind the company, also hails from Brazil. The co-founder of the 6PS Group along with Ramos, he’s the one who built the platform forHackHands.

From that point, HackHands bears a striking similarity to HBO’s Silicon Valley, with the trio moving out to San Francisco in search of greater investment opportunities. They compare their time in Northern California to the show, calling it an accurate assessment of the city and what it’s like to live there now. Living together to save on expenses, they established a very close working relationship.

“We developed rules about how to work together,” Good says. Chief among them was no set hours. The two truly believed in the HackHands mission, so they decided they would work as long as they needed.

Although they are moving to a more corporate environment, Good and Ramos say they feel comfortable at Pluralsight.

“I’ve never worked for anyone my entire life, so maybe I can’t tell,” says Ramos, “but so far it’s been great.”

Photo credit: David Stoker

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