Exclusive Talk: Continuous Documentation and Developer Happiness

SaaS

Swimm, a cutting-edge continuous documentation solution provider, is helping engineering teams work in harmony and focus on innovation. With more and more SaaS companies adopting this technology on a global scale, Swimm has also announced an impressive 27.6M Series A funding round. We had the privilege of interviewing the CEO, Oren Toledano. Let’s get started.

Interview with Oren Toledano, CEO, Swimm

Oren Toledano is a seasoned entrepreneur who has dedicated the last decade to make a dent in the SaaS universe. He is now doing it with Swimm’s innovative continuous documentation solution. Here’s the exclusive Q&A.

Tell us about yourself and how your career unfolded? 

First of all, I want to thank Frontegg for the opportunity to do this interview together. I’ll start by sharing just a few of the headlines about my life: I was born in France, moved to Israel when I was 18, and served in IDF’s Intelligence Unit 8200 for eight years. I earned a BA in Political Science from the Hebrew University and an MA in Security Studies from the Tel Aviv University. 

In 2012, I co-founded ITC (Israel Tech Challenge), one of the biggest and most important code boot camps focusing on data science and cybersecurity in Israel. I was very fortunate to work with a fantastic team at ITC for seven years, including three individuals – Tom Ahi Dror, Gilad Navot, Omer Rosenbaum. The four of us eventually became the co-founders of Swimm. 

How was Swimm founded?

Swimm was founded on the lessons that Tom, Gilad, Omer, and I learned at ITC while helping prepare hundreds of new developers for work. We saw firsthand the number of constant challenges across ecosystems, including how many months it took for new employees to be fully onboarded.  We realized that this was a ticking time bomb for companies while bringing in new employees. 

It just didn’t work, and this was even clearer when we realized that onboarding and documentation challenges were no different for brand new developers off the street or highly qualified developers with years of experience. We were sure that there was a better way to onboard software developers faster and help them ramp up code-wise to achieve instant traction and eventually success.

Still, the question was how to empower the onboarding process with tools, knowledge, guidance, and ultimately independence. We decided that if we could figure out a solution, we would be solving one of the biggest problems in software development. So we began meeting to discuss solving the key issues: knowledge sharing and onboarding developers to understand the codebase. 

After countless hundreds of hours of research and meetings to begin validating our observations and assumptions with numerous companies globally, in September of 2019, we started to build Swimm with the help of a couple of angel investors. Swimm’s first product proof of concept led to our second seed round in April 2020 and then to our Series A round of 27.6 M in November 2021. 

We have been very fortunate and are so very grateful.

How does Swimm innovate? What’s it all about?

Swimm and innovation go hand in hand. Conversations about code are typically not documented or recorded. That type of tribal knowledge (unwritten information unknown by others) walks out the door as soon as an employee leaves. Documentation that isn’t connected to the code becomes obsolete as soon as the code changes – and, of course, your code is constantly changing. 

Continuous Documentation has become a true game-changer for R&D teams. Our platform innovates by helping engineering teams create documentation coupled to the code itself, auto-synced, and therefore always up to date – to improve developer productivity and then facilitate faster and more efficient onboarding of new developers to any codebase. 

With Swimm’s Walkthrough Documentation – Swimm also offers a tactical solution to give developers a guided discussion or tour (literally a walk) of the code documentation to familiarize them with the codebase. 

We learned from our first clients that streamlining knowledge sharing is a big pain point. We’ve also been developing Swimm’s platform into a knowledge management tool to streamline documentation. Companies need to create and maintain clear, practical, and efficient documentation as part of the entire development lifecycle. Swimm’s solution can be implemented within your CI/CD. 

Swimm allows your documentation to be continuously created and auto-synced whenever you’re pushing new code. This platform essentially syncs both your code and knowledge on your dev team via code documentation.   

How has the COVID-19 Pandemic affected your space?

COVID-19’s timing reinforced our initial use case. Swimm was founded in September of 2019 and quickly became part of the new world hybrid workplace environment. Whereas most tech companies had to scale as they grew, we were lucky because we had all the knowledge-sharing elements, and could explain the codebase remotely using one of the earliest versions of Swimm’s platform. 

Our first employees were onboarded by enabling building exercises on the code itself. It was an opportunity for all of us, and we did what we knew best: we built an internal boot camp to onboard our new employees using Swimm’s platform. 

What are your thoughts on the PLG trend? Is the hype justified?

The PLG hype is as justified as the solution ultimately warrants vis-a-vis your product – in terms of eliminating pain points. I can tell you that for devtools like Swimm, Product-Led Growth is most definitely a part of our playbook. 

We know the importance of being flexible to adapt our go-to-market based on what you are building and solving. People are more tech-savvy than they used to be, and they want to try new tools and learn them. Everyone needs a lot less hand-holding these days. I’m so pleased that Swimm’s beta speaks for itself! We have gotten tremendous feedback from our Swimm community of users. 

How do you see Swimm and Frontegg as a tech stack in today’s PLG era, where self-service is becoming a mandatory requirement?

Frontegg offers a seamless end-to-end user management solution, while Swimm offers developers a hard stop to the nightmare of outdated documentation or, worse, no documentation at all. Self-service is at the core of both technologies, something that takes the weight off developers’ shoulders and allows them to focus on what matters most – innovation.

Together, it’s a potent combo that makes devs happy.

“Swimm and Frontegg have a massive effect on developer joy and productivity. I believe that when used in tandem, engineering teams can see a significant spike in results across the board.” 

OREN TOLEDANO, CEO, SWIMM

This developer’s happiness has a ripple effect. Not only do they become more productive, product managers and business stakeholders also enjoy the benefits. Cross-department collaboration improves exponentially.

What are you planning for 2022 and beyond? What’s next?

This is a big year for Swimm. This year, we are looking forward to launching Swimm as a fully mature platform. So as you can imagine, we’re busy at work cooking up game changer features that will enable big companies, organizations, and developers who don’t like writing documentation to create a very rich knowledge reservoir of code-based documentation.

Since Swimm is a collaborative platform, we are developing different types of collaborative features for our platform so that Swimm becomes a fully integrated workflow within the CI/CD and solution for developers.

This year, we’re continuing to host meetups, webinars, and we’re also working hard on season two of Swimm’s podcast – Swimm Upstream. There’s so much going on all the time; it’s energizing to the hundredth degree. I can speak for all the co-founders by saying that 2022 is shaping up to be a huge year, and we can’t wait to share it with developers, engineers, and R&D worldwide. 

Wrapping it Up

The biggest takeaway from this exclusive interview is that Swimm is a firm believer in developer happiness, which can trigger a wide range of improvements in the modern SaaS ecosystem. Once onboarding roadblocks and collaboration issues are eliminated, engineering teams can take innovation to a whole new level. Add in Frontegg and you have a PLG-d pipeline on steroids.

Get proactive now.

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