AppDirect, the cloud-based services marketplace company, has set up a Developer Incubator program in order to help it staff up, but also to give engineers an opportunity to get some entrepreneurial experience without risking their paycheck. This three-year program will result in the top performers receiving seed funding and an opportunity to pitch venture capitalists.

Focused on helping make businesses run more effectively and get them to discover, buy, and manage cloud-based software and services, AppDirect is looking to bring on board 20 new engineers in the program’s first class to not only help the company grow and move forward, but also understand the entrepreneurial drive and foster their ambitions in starting his or her own company one day.

Daniel Sacks, President and co-CEO, says that “the program is a unique, innovative way to engage developers and give them a risk-free way to pursue their dream of launching their own startups. We not only want to work with great engineers, but also enable them to make the jump from developer to entrepreneur.”

Dare to take the risk, but with a bit of comfort?

Starting a business isn’t easy and it’s definitely difficult for someone to leave their job and paycheck behind to strike out on their own. But there are those that do. But what AppDirect is hoping to do is create a bit more incentive for those struggling with the decision: work for it, stick around for at least two years, learn all you can about entrepreneurship, and then strike out on your own. Oh, and they’ll pay you for it too.

Open to any engineer

The program is open to anyone, regardless of background and education. Interested applicants need only submit their resume and take an aptitude test to advance to further screenings. Those that best fit the five defined company cultural values will most likely be considered. Currently, all positions are in the San Francisco Bay Area office, but Sacks tells us that eventually other offices around the world may be considered to host the engineers, depending on the need.

AppDirect is looking for back-end people who possess skills in Java and SQL, and can integrate a web application. Front-end engineers are also able to apply, especially those with knowledge of JavaScript, CSS3, and HTML5.

Work, learn, and then pitch

Those admitted to the program will spend their first year working on AppDirect specific projects. In the last two years, they can spend time pursuing their own endeavors. Sacks says that as part of the company’s True North value, everyone is trusted to do their own thing, but as long as their projects are completed on time.  Another value AppDirect has is ownership — each employee is responsible for something. This is to help ensure that each of the 80 employees are accountable to someone.

At the end of the third year, engineers who seek to create their own startup will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to AppDirect’s investors for seed funding. The company says it will not take equity or a share of any company that emerges from this program. If you want to apply, you have until the end of the year to submit your name for consideration.

To date, AppDirect has raised $11.75 million, with its most recent round coming earlier this summer, with the lead investor being iNovia Capital. Sacks says that most of its cash inflow is coming straight from revenue and the company is growing organically.

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